2005 Maine’s Most Endangered Historic Resources
Ten years ago, we began our Most Endangered Historic Properties program to increase public awareness of the need to preserve and protect our vanishing heritage, and to provide leadership and support in the rescue of significant historic structures and sites across Maine. “Endangered” status does not ensure the protection of a site or provide funding, yet it continually helps to raise local awareness and helps focus the work that often leads to rescue. Nominations are broadly solicited each spring, and then reviewed by the Outreach Committee before being presented to the full Board of Trustees for their vote of approval.
Bates Mill Office Building, Lewiston
Gone. The 1852 Bates Mill Office Building was located in Lewiston situated front and center of Bates Mills No. 1 and No. 2, and was visually prominent from the descent west down Pine Street. This brick and granite two-story structure with a hip roof and dormer provided a pedestrian scaled introduction to the massive facades of the mill buildings behind. As one of only two mill office buildings left in Lewiston, the Bates Mill Office Building represented an important aspect of the company’s social and cultural history that cannot be fully told by the towering mill buildings alone.
The Bates Mill Office Building was used as office space for the Bates Mill Complex property manager. A recent one-story shed addition on the south side functioned as a loading dock for the Bates Mill Complex. A second story enclosed pedestrian walkway provided access into the mills from the rear of the office building. Over the years the building’s condition had suffered due to neglect. Recently the deteriorated wooden balcony over the front door was removed. A proposal by the current owner/developer to demolish the building to improve traffic circulation and to expose the clock tower façade, which figures prominently in a newly designed entrance, was executed on June 14/15, 2008. The Lewiston Historic Preservation Review Board’s capacity was limited to a ninety-day demolition delay.
The Bates Manufacturing Company, incorporated in 1850, was part of the complex of mills that defined Lewiston’s economy as a textile-manufacturing center. Mill No. 1 was constructed in 1850 and the Bates Mill Office Building was constructed in 1852 at the same time Mill No. 2 was being built. Initially one-story high, the office building was the center of the Bates Manufacturing Company’s administrative functions. Designed by David Whitman and Albert H. Kelsey and built by the contractor Thomas D. Thorne, it obtained its second story and Colonial Revival style appearance in 1902 at the hands of the well-known Lewiston architectural firm of Coombs and Gibbs. Classical styling combined with its strategic position between the end of the Pine Street Bridge and the Bates Mill clock tower (which provides a substantial visual backdrop) emphasizes the office building’s historic importance. Between 1852 and 1992 the Bates Mill employed tens of thousands of Lewiston’s workers, and in one manner or another office building entered into each of their experiences with the company.
For more information contact Douglas Hodgkin, Lewiston Historic Preservation Review Board, City Building, 27 Pine Street, Lewiston, Maine, 04240; (207) 782-3072; or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Bates Mill Complex, please visit their website at http://ci.lewiston.me.us/development/batesmill.htm.
Strathglass Park, Rumford Falls
Endangered. Strathglass Park is one of the first planned communities in Maine. It is located in the town of Rumford, in the Rumford Falls area. The park was built as part of the entrepreneur Hugh J. Chisholm’s all encompassing vision of Rumford as laid out in his 1891 “Plan for Rumford Falls.” Around the turn of the 19 the century hundreds of immigrants were streaming into Rumford to work in the paper mills. Chisholm established the Rumford Real Estate Company in 1901 in order to build housing for many of the employees. In 1902 construction of Strathglass Park began. The park was named after Chisholm’s country estate in upstate New York, and designed by New York City architect Cass Gilbert. Gilbert and Chisholm traveled to Scotland together, and following their visit Gilbert designed fifty-one duplex houses, four single-family dwellings, and nine apartment houses all constructed of brick.
For many years Strathglass Park was home to mill employees, many of which were managers. However, over the decades following World War II Strathglass Park began to fall into decline. Several factors can be attributed to this deterioration, one being the aesthetics of a paper mill town. Those who could afford to left Rumford Falls for the cleaner air of Rumford’s rural spaces. A second factor contributing to the Park’s decline was the sale of the Oxford Paper Mill in 1967 to the Ethyl Corporation. Up until this time, the Oxford Paper Mill was responsible for a generous Strathglass Park maintenance program. Today the park is still primarily residential, but its ornate brick facades and slate tiled roofs are in disrepair, and original architectural features are missing.
Because of Strathglass Park’s historical significance and unique architecture, it was listed as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. At present, there is no preservation master plan, design guidelines or maintenance program in place for the Park. As Rumford Falls experiences a renaissance, partially thanks to a dramatic decrease in air and water pollution over the last twenty years, property values are steadily increasing. The potential for restoring Strathglass Park’s original beauty is recognized not only by the Town’s government, but by caring residents, citizens of the community, and new buyers. The Town and local residents are working to forge partnerships that will bring financial help and technical assistance to property owners wanting to restore, repair and maintain Strathglass Park. The Town of Rumford, the Rumford Historical Society and the Rumford community support the preservation and revitalization of Strathglass Park. For more information, or to get involved, please contact Steve Eldridge, Town Manager, at (207) 364-4576 or Office of Town Manager, Municipal Building, 145 Congress Street, Rumford, Maine, 04276.
Tenney’s General Store, North Livermore
Endangered. Tenney’s General Store and Post Office (c.1855) once thrived in the village of North Livermore. This vernacular structure with attached barn also served as the residence for the store’s proprietor and postmaster. Operated by the Tenney family for many decades, the interior still retains many architectural features and character of the 1920s. Very few changes have been made to the building since this time, which has prompted the new owner to seek assistance to stabilize, preserve and interpret the property for heritage education purposes. For more information, or to get involved, contact Dennis Stires, 19 Crash Road, Livermore, Maine, 04253-3014, (207) 897-4222 or email@example.com.
Matthews Mill, Union
Endangered. The Matthews Mill, located in Union, began as a gristmill c.1850, providing employment to many people in the area. The mill was central to the Town’s development.
Over the course of the last 150 years or so, the Matthews Mill and a second “back mill” (located to the north) have housed a variety of other businesses such as a machine shop, carriage shop and blacksmith shop. These two structures are the last of their kind in Union Village, which was an industrial center for many generations. These modest sized structures are clad in wood shingles and clapboards, and are obvious from Common Road that passes nearby. A business sign advertising a mill once operated by Ed Matthews on this site for many years remains on the west end of the Matthews Mill. It was Ed Matthews’ collection of tools and household items which formed the core beginning of the Matthews Museum, now an independent museum located nearby on the Union Fairgrounds.
Following Matthews, a blacksmith took ownership and it was his former apprentice of many years who now owns the property. For the last ten years, no business has operated out of the mills and minimal maintenance has been done to the buildings. Also, because of their close proximity to waterways, the overall condition and structural stability of the buildings has worsened. The mill buildings of have been waiting for someone with interest and vision to take them into the next century through stabilization, restoration and interpretation. The Union Historical Society, the current owner and concerned citizens want to save these buildings and once again make this area a center of town, as well as a center of historical and cultural interests. For more information, or to get involved, contact Dave Shaub, Officer of the Union Historical Society, P.O. Box 154, Union, Maine, 04862, (207) 785-6092.
Dorothy Stevens Community Center (former Kennebunk Business Girls Club), Kennebunk
In the works. Constructed in 1926 for the use of the Kennebunk Business Girls Club, this Colonial Revival style building has served the Kennebunk community continuously until last year. Gradually worsening structural issues related to the roof trusses, compromised during the building’s 1991 relocation to West Kennebunk, and prompted Town officials to close the building. Preservation-minded citizens, concerned about the future of the building, went into action. Word went out of the Most Endangered nomination, and at the June Town Meeting, voters overwhelmingly approved funding of $125,000 to stabilize the building. This marks one of the quickest rescues of a nominated “Endangered” property, and Maine Preservation congratulates the Town officials and citizens of Kennebunk for their positive action to keep the Dorothy Stevens Community Center alive and functioning for years to come. We will watch and report on their progress as the roof is replaced and restoration gets underway.