A Glimpse Inside Downtown’s Lockwood Hotel with Colby’s Vice President of Planning Brian Clark

As the only hotel in downtown Waterville, the Lockwood Hotel is set to make a significant positive economic impact in the area. Offering 50 guest rooms, three suites, a restaurant and bar, and outdoor event spaces, it will offer a vibrant new hub for visitors to connect with the College and it’s greater community. Currently a temporary residence for Colby students, the Lockwood is expected to welcome guests by spring or summer 2021, depending on student housing needs.

We toured the Lockwood with Vice President of Planning Brian Clark to learn more about the vision and the many ways the project drew inspiration from across Maine.

The Lockwood Hotel is going to add so much to the landscape of downtown Waterville even before you step through its doors. Can you describe some of the unique features of the building’s exterior?

The Lockwood Hotel was designed to provide exceptional new spaces, both indoors and outdoors, to downtown Waterville. The first thing you notice is the contemporary design, which is a signal about Waterville’s future—that is, it is a hotel anchored in the rich history and context of Waterville and central Maine but very much forward looking. For example, the limestone exterior recalls some of the most significant buildings along Main Street and the punched windows are a reference to the Lockwood Mills, but with clean, modern lines, a cantilevered roof, and a large expanse of glass to activate Main Street and to invite the community inside.

The hotel also creates two wonderful outdoor spaces. On the north of the hotel will be outdoor dining for the hotel’s restaurant, Front and Main, and a public park that helps to connect the restaurants along Silver Street (which will be seasonally closed to allow for outdoor dining going forward) with the hotel and the patio of the Proper Pig. It creates a real dining destination on Main Street. To the south, marking the gateway to Main Street, is a large terrace adorned by Maine fieldstone and a large lawn, that will be available for receptions and events by the community and Colby.   

So much of this project emphasizes the vast array of resources Maine has to offer. How will the state’s influence be featured in the hotel’s restaurant, Front and Main?

It’s not a secret that Maine has one of the best food scenes in the entire country, and we are fortunate to have so many Colby alumni who are leaders in it—from farmers to fisherman, producers, distillers and fermenters, and award-winning chefs. I’m so excited that we will have the chance to feature the foods grown, harvested, and produced by Colby alumni in Front and Main. We are also planning special events that will feature the best of Maine in various ways, from outdoor lobster bakes to Maine beer tastings. 

What are your favorite elements that guests expect when they walk into their room at the Lockwood Hotel?

We want you to know you’re in Maine when you wake up at the Lockwood Hotel. One way to make that happen is by featuring Maine art and artists, and we’re working closely with the Colby College College Museum of Art to curate this experience. We commissioned photographs by Passamaquoddy basketweaver Jeremy Frey, who specializes in ash fancy baskets, a traditional form of Wabanaki weaving, and was featured last fall in the Colby Museum’s Wíwənikan…the beauty we carry exhibit. We also commissioned Portland-based photographer Tanja Hollander for a series of Maine landscapes that will be in the guest rooms, along with wall hangings by Maine textile artist Angela Adams. The public spaces of the hotel and restaurant will feature the painted and sculpted works of Maine folk artist Bernard Langlais, drawing upon the deep Langlais holdings of the Colby Museum.

Across the street from the hotel is the Arts Collaborative on Main Street, currently under construction and opening in spring 2021, featuring artist studios and flexible performance and exhibition spaces organized by the Lunder Institute for American Art and Diamond Family Director of the Arts Teresa McKinney. A block north is the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, which will break ground next spring and will be home to a Colby Museum contemporary gallery, Railroad Square Cinema, Common Street Arts, and will connect to the historic Waterville Opera House. And, just a few weeks ago, we started construction on campus in anticipation of the Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts. The College’s commitment of the arts is undeniable, and we are bringing that to life in the hotel.