This residence was designed by the famous Portland architects John Calvin Stevens and Francis H. Fassett (1823-1908). It was completed in 1883 and became the home of successful mason and contractor Francis W. Cunningham, brother to James. They came from a long line of Irish masons.
Francis William Cunningham (1836-1915), born in Manorhamilton, County Leitrim, Ireland, emigrated to the United States in the mid-1860s and settled in Portland, where his brother James had entered the masonry business. Francis soon followed suit and within the next decade both had become quite successful in their endeavors. Eventually the firm of F. W. Cunningham & Sons would be responsible for the construction of Portland High School, Cheverus High School, Mercy Hospital, Cumberland County and Federal Court Houses, and other buildings throughout Maine. Francis’ son John J. (1875-1951) was a well-known contractor, architect, banker, and Catholic layman. He designed the Workingmen’s Club Building on Commercial Street and the Jewish Synagogue on Newbury Street in Portland.
Francis made his home at 167 Congress Street until his death in 1915. He was the treasurer of his firm at the time of his death. The company had removed to 430 Congress. Francis and several generations of his family are buried in a gigantic mausoleum in Calvary Cemetery, South Portland.
Related sites: Workingmens Club, Portland High School