735 Stevens Avenue is known as the Forbes‑Webber House after the builder Elizur Bliss Forbes and the Webber family who lived here for much of the early‑twentieth century. Forbes built the original three‑story structure in the grand Greek Revival style in 1839 on land purchased from Zachariah B. Stevens. Several additions were added between 1852‑and 1854. Forbes was prominent in the Pitch Pine Plains area, known as Deering Highlands today. Forbes was superintendent in a “Britannia” factory, a type of pewter that was once a thriving industry in Deering, and had his own business producing the metalware. In later years he was even the superintendent of the Evergreen Cemetery, across the street from his home.
The next owners, the O’Brien‑Webber family, owned the house for nearly ninety years. During their ownership, the house was expanded to include the second and third additions as well as the stunning sunroom portion of the current living room which was constructed in 1915 for their daughter Martha’s marriage to Dr. Millard Webber, a prominent physician in the area who maintained his private practice in the home. During this time, a large barn/carriage house was repositioned on the property and has become the modern day garage.
Martha Babcock Webber, upon her death in 1978, bequeathed the home to Westbook College where it became the official residence for the President and his family. In 1980 the home was one of the first to host the Portland Symphony Show House, each room designed by local interior decorators and inclusive of a full renovation of many of the public and private spaces. The home fell into disrepair when Westbrook College (by then purchased by UNE) moved a majority of its programs to Biddeford.
The current owners brought the home back to its former glory with renovations and updates over the past 18 years. They have hosted important city events such as the Secret Gardens of Portland Tour 2005 benefiting various community charities. For several summer months in 2006 and 2007, arias and piano practice could be heard from the home when the owners hosted visiting artists and staff of the Portland Opera House. In 2015, the home was chosen as the site for the Greater Portland Landmarks Historic House Gala when hundreds of supporters gathered to tour the home and gardens, benefiting Landmark education programs.