It retains some defining elements of Colonial/Georgian style: a symmetrical floorplan, a central door enframed by pilasters and a fanlight, brick composition, and a shallow-pitched roof. But the seasoning is more than mildly neoclassical. The portico’s slender, fluted columns and its tastefully decorated frieze and cornice allude to Hellenic prototypes. The Palladian window marks a self-assertive stylistic shift from more modest New England traditionalism.
Hugh McLellan’s home announced to his contemporaries that he was a successful merchant. According to a curator I spoke to at the museum, its sheer size at the time would have seemed extravagant to most Portlanders. Its monumentality proclaimed affluence. Hugh’s architect-in-chief surely capitalized on this feature of the home. The elongated first floor windows and roof-level balustrade accentuate the height of the building.