Statement of Significance (as of designation - February 17, 2006):
Built as an Italianate style villa by local contractor Seth Bradford for William Shepard Wetmore, who had retired from the China Trade, Chateau-sur-Mer was home to three generations of the Wetmore family. Remodeled during the 1870s by premiere American architect Richard Morris Hunt, who altered many of the design features and significantly redesigned the house into a Second Empire French style chateau. Chateau-sur-Mer is a textbook example of the major design trends of the second half of the 19th century. With its quintessentially Victorian interiors, the house exemplifies the United States adaptation of popular 19th-century British and European design and exhibits examples of almost every decorative style popular during the Victorian Era. A prominent building occupied by important architectural and cultural patrons in American life during the late 19th century, Chateau-sur-Mer is a case study in the social and architectural evolution of American culture during the last half of the 19th century.