Historical Society Signs Agreement To Buy Linnell House

By: Ed Maroney

Topics: Historic preservation

The Captain Linnell House will be purchased by the Orleans Historical Society in 2020. ED MARONEY PHOTO

ORLEANS – The 1850 Captain Linnell House is on track to change hands in October 2020 after owners Bill and Shelly Conway signed a purchase and sales agreement last month with the Orleans Historical Society. The Conways will continue to operate their restaurant and host special events until then. After that, OHS will welcome weddings and special civic and private events.

In a joint news release with the Conways, OHS board chair Kathleen McNeil said the eventual acquisition would “triple the display space for Orleans history and cultural exhibits, and expand archive, research and event space for public use.”

In the future, space rentals will help offset OHS operating costs, but “the challenge now,” according to McNeil, “is to raise funds to purchase the Linnell property while making necessary improvements to our current 1834 Meetinghouse and 1939 Hurd Chapel on River Road so that they are more functional and accessible.”

For his part, Bill Conway noted that “Ebenezer Harding Linnell, the clipper-ship captain who built this house for his wife, was a founder of the Orleans Universalist Church whose Meetinghouse OHS has owned and occupied for decades. It is truly fitting that these two landmarks be preserved together for the enjoyment of Orleans residents and visitors.”

No purchase price was announced for the property, which includes the Linnell home, 2.28 acres of grounds and gardens, all business-related items and equipment, the furniture and fine art in the building, and the Captain Linnell House brand.