One of Portland’s best-known landmarks, the Victoria Mansion, threatened with demolition, was rescued by Clara Holmes and her brother William, who opened it to the public in 1941. The mansion was in need of rehabilitation when Clara Holmes gifted it in 1943 to the Society of Maine Women of Achievement, which took over its maintenance. The Society, whose first president was Ann Macomber Gannett (1882-1951), changed its name to the Victoria Society of Maine Women in 1944, and by 1947, 500 women from all over the state were listed as members. Men were listed as associates until the 1960s. Over the next decade, the society became the Victoria Society with the same goal of rehabilitating the mansion. It is open to the public and holds a full range of activities, including a Christmas tour featuring Victorian decorations. The mansion was built between 1858 and 1860 as the summer home of Ruggles Sylvester Morse and his wife, Olive Ring Merrill Morse, a Maine native. After her husband’s death, Olive Morse sold the building to the J.R. Libby family, department store owners, but after their daughter Alice Libby Browne and her husband moved out in 1929, the house was unoccupied until the Holmes family purchased it.