The Olson House (aka the Hathorn-Olson House) was constructed in the late 1700s by Captain Samuel Hathorn II. In 1871, the home was significantly modified when Samuel Hathorn IV added several bedrooms and replaced the roof.
The home became iconic when the famous painter Andrew Wyeth depicted the house and its occupants in his paintings, including his work Christina’s World. The 1948 painting is one of the greatest works of Wyeth and is one of the most famous American paintings of the middle 20th century. Wyeth truly saw the home and its occupants as perfect symbols of New England and Maine. He was quoted saying, ““I just couldn’t stay away from there. I did other pictures while I knew them but I’d always seem to gravitate back to the house. … It was Maine.”
As time went on, the home stayed within the Hathorn family until movie director Joseph E. Levine purchased the home in 1968. Levine was in love with the home because of Wyeth’s work. Levine attempted to open the home as a museum, but he received pushback from the local residents. The house was then purchased by previous Apple CEO, John Sculley, who eventually donated the home to the Farnsworth Art Museum in 1991.
The home is well-maintained by the museum and it is open to the public.