The Olson House’s Historical Significance & Timeline

~12,000 BP to 1605: Indigenous Peoples of the Penobscot region are believed to have seasonally inhabited what became known as Hathorn Point. 

Partial view of Hawthorn Point along the St. George River,  showing the Olson Farm at lower left, circa 1930

1605–1892: European settlers move to the Cushing area. The Hathorns, from Salem, Massachusetts, settled in this region in the late 1700s and built the original house in 1806. In 1865, Samuel Hathorn made alterations. 

1892- 1968: Marriage of Katie Hathorn and John Olson, whose two children, Christina and Alvaro, live in the house during the 30 years that provided inspiration for painter Andrew Wyeth.  This period, from 1938-1968, is the basis for the house being listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1995) and later recognized as a National Historic Landmark (2011).

From left to right: Alvaro, John, Christina, Kate and Sam Olson in front of the Olson homestead, circa 1900

1970: Betsy Wyeth oversees renovation of the Olson House, purchased by the Joseph E. Levine Foundation. For two summers it operates as a gallery to showcase Andrew Wyeth’s paintings.

1991: The Farnsworth Art Museum acquires the property as a gift from then-owners John Sculley and his wife, Carol Lee Adams Sculley.

1992: The museum opens the Olson House to the public.