1996 Maine’s Most Endangered Historic Resources
This year’s saved properties:
Fort Knox National Historic Landmark – Prospect
Saved! The torpedo storage center was restored and transformed into a visitor and education complex the summer of 2001. An outdoor amphitheater, gift shop, museum and offices were also completed in 2001. The Fort Knox Officers’ Quarters, which was closed for decades to the public due to structural safety concerns, was restored in 2004. Restoration of the Battery ‘A’ powder magazine was completed in the fall of 2005. The next project will be the restoration of the cannon and the cannon mount in the Fort. Funding for this work has been donated by foundations, private individuals and the State of Maine.
To make a donation, or for more information, contact Friends of Fort Knox, P.O. Box 456, Bucksport, ME 04416, fortknox.maineguide.com, or call (207) 469-6553.
Holt Hall/Maine Eye & Ear Infirmary – Portland (c. 1886)
Saved! Holt Hall, also known as the former Maine Eye and Ear Infirmary, was built in 1886. Located at the intersection of Bramhall and Congress Streets, Holt Hall is an imposing six-story, 43,020 square foot Renaissance Revival brick structure that is strategically located at the gateway to Portland’s downtown and the West End Historic District.
Prior to its rehabilitation in 1997, the building had been vacant for over ten years, was in structural disrepair, had virtually no parking, and was slated for demolition. Given the building’s historic designation, historic tax credits, along with other incentives, were made available to the developer for its rehabilitation. This 1999 Statewide Historic Preservation Honor Award project, carried out by Concord Square Development of Boston using federal rehabilitation tax credits, transformed this former hospital building, saved a significant landmark, and preserved a critical corner of the city. This rehabilitated building has been turned into thirty-six market-rate apartments as well as 8,800 square feet of office space creating approximately a 689% increase in the property’s assessed value.
The Great Bowdoin Mill – Topsham (c. 1868)
Saved! This pulp complex was also included in the 1998 National Trust list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The $2 million rescue of this mill complex created 40,000 sq. ft. of leasable space. The principal tenant is the Sea Dog Brewing Company which opened its door in September 1999.
For more information contact Bowdoin Mill Associates at (207) 772-6404, P.O. Box 7525, Portland, ME 04112.
McCurdy Smokehouse – Lubec
In the works. The McCurdy Smokehouse complex, built to process and smoke herring, was the last herring smokehouse operation in the United States when it went out of business in 1991. This National Register complex is owned by Lubec Landmarks whose goals are to transform the compound into a marine museum and interpretive center. They are proceeding to raise funds and awareness despite setbacks that included a washed out wharf and unsafe structural issues. A grant from the Maine Humanities Council helped fund a use and interpretive study for the complex. A filmmaker from New York developed a documentary film about the smokehouse and its cultural contribution to Lubec. In 2004 the Skinning Shed windows were repaired, as were the shingles, and a wrap-around wharf was built providing access to the building.
To request information or make a donation, contact Lubec Landmarks at P.O. Box 422 Lubec, ME 04652, or President Jim Buehner at (207) 733-2129.
Mason Estate – York
Gone. (c. 1900) The turn-of-the-century buildings of this estate were sold and removed, and the parcel was developed into a public park as required in the will of former owner Hartley Mason.
Barns – Statewide
Endangered. We’ve all seen them – collapsed barns and agricultural outbuildings that once served the farms that supported Maine’s farming community. Last year the Maine Historic Preservation Commission’s New Century Grants Program awarded $40,000 in grants for barn restoration. Examples of current projects include repairs to the foundation and roof of the Amos/Josh Moody farm in Nobleboro, roof replacement of the Bradford Barn in Patten, and foundation, sill and roof repairs to the Holt barn in Skowhegan.
Main Streets – Statewide
Endangered. The last preservation related bill passed by the 119th Legislature, LD 2600, created the Downtown Center Program. $100,000 in funding for this program will be managed by the State Planning Office. The Maine Development Foundation will also assist with this project, in collaboration with Maine Preservation, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, the Maine Department of Transportation and the Department of Economic and Community Development.
To find out more visit the Maine Downtown Center Program at / Maine Downtown Center Home Page or mail 45 Memorial Circle, Suite 302, Augusta, ME 04330, (207)622-6345.