The Elizabeth Guest House and Restaurant, 32 Main St., Bethel Maine, was originally owned by John M. Philbrook. He was a successful lumber and cattle merchant. He was one of the most vigorous and influential businessmen of his time who had formerly attended nearby Gould Academy. Eventually went on to serve several terms in the Maine State Senate and as a county commissioner. His house was built in 1895 by Gilbert Tuell, a local contractor, it is said for “about $8,000.”
Remaining vacant for several years after Philbrook’s death, the wood-frame structure was eventually purchased by a local auto dealer in 1938. In the 1970s it was used for faculty housing for Gould Academy. By the 1990s, through various owners, the lovely home started being used as inn, as it is today.
This historic 2 ½ story house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995 and is the town's most sophisticated example of Queen Anne architecture. It sits on a granite foundation and is finished with clapboards and decorative shingles. The main house features decorated gables, eves and dormers, a graceful cornice, and wide trim boards with crowns. It has asymmetrical and irregular architecture reflective of the Queen Anne period, with a turret at the northeast corner topped by a bell-shaped roof.
A front porch greets guests featuring turned posts connected by a balustrade of turned spindles at the bottom, and an elegant screen of tiny turned spindles at the top. The interior of the house features elegant woodwork throughout, intricate iron grates, stained glass, chandeliers, pocket doors and more.
There are numerous fireplace mantels, each with unique design and finish. Adorning the ceilings and walls are plaster medallions and richly-colored wall coverings. The interior is decorated with hand-carved and antique furniture pieces, mirrors with gesso frames, lovely period lithographs, and vintage lamps.
The carriage house also features Queen Anne elements, including a glassed-in, octagonal cupola. An ell that was damaged by fire decades ago, then rebuilt, connects the main house to the carriage house.