2007 Maine’s Most Endangered Historic Resources
Maine Preservation announced its 12th annual list of Maine’s Most Endangered Historic Properties at a press conference at the 1914 Bates Mill #5 Weave Shed in Lewiston. This property is among the six structures and one statewide thematic listing officially named to the program this year by Maine Preservation’s Board of Trustees.
“We believe that Maine’s traditional buildings and landscapes provide tangible links to our past. They must remain strong and contributing elements of our cultural legacy – now and for the future. Our mission is to promote the preservation, protection, and vitality of Maine’s historic places and encourage quality design that contributes to the livability of our communities,” stated Board President, Christopher Glass.
“A dozen 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. The program demonstrates the variety and severity of threats facing historic structures and sites across Maine. Endangered status does not ensure the protection of the site, yet it continually helps to raise local awareness and helps focus the work that often leads to rescue,” said Roxanne Eflin, the organization’s Executive Director.
This year, for the first time, each of the named properties will receive a $500 matching grant from Maine Preservation’s Preserve Maine Fund [How Can You Help?] in order to assist in great fundraising efforts necessary to accomplish a specific aspect of rescue, such as a building conditions assessment or marketing study.
Bates Mill #5 Weave Shed
The 1914 Bates Mill #5 Weave Shed in Lewiston was designed by the nationally recognized industrial architect Albert Kahn. Known for pioneering the use of reinforced concrete on buildings in the United States , Kahn’s designs were often characterized by sweeping open spaces and access to natural light. Mill #5 has a distinctive north-facing saw-tooth roof which provided light and ventilation to workers while minimizing solar heating. A 350,000+ square foot building, Mill #5 was originally a cotton mill and later where the famous Bates bedspreads were produced. Currently vacant and owned by the City of Lewiston , this building has extraordinary potential to be used again in a prototypical adaptive use project. For more information on the outstanding opportunities of this building, please contact Gil Arsenault, Lewiston Director of Planning and Code, at (207) 784-2951 or email@example.com.
The (former) Gerald Hotel, Fairfield
The former Gerald Hotel in Fairfield was built between 1899-1900 by Amos F. Gerald, inventor and businessman in Maine . The first floor of the building housed commercial businesses and the upper floors served as a hotel until 1937. The “Gerald” hosted notable guests including William Jennings Bryan and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Originally topped with three domes (since removed), architectural features include ornately decorated terra cotta trim, stained glass windows and tin ceilings. After 1937, this local Main Street landmark became the home of Trend’s Furniture Store and later the Northern Mattress and Furniture Company. This enormously adaptable building has been vacant for a few years, and is scheduled to be auctioned on July 12, 2007. Fairfield has no protective legislation for historic structures, and concerned citizens fear for its future. For more information on the sale of this property, please contact Jill Daviero at Tranzon Auction Properties, (207) 775-4300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here and here for videos created by citizens of Fairfield on the Gerald Hotel.
The Taterstate Frozen Foods plant, Washburn
The Taterstate Frozen Foods plant, located in the northern Aroostook County town of Washburn , is the production site of the first frozen French fries in the United States. In 1941, under the entrepreneurship of Harry E. Umphrey, this former starch and potato storage plant began processing dehydrated potatoes for soldiers during World War II. After the war, the facility created frozen French fries by converting its operations into freezing and processing potatoes. The site continued this function until the 1980’s, when the owner, McCain Foods, began using the site for cleaning, freezing, and packaging blueberries and peas. The complex, which is a brownfields site, has been vacant since 1997. Now owned by the Town of Washburn , redevelopment plans include sustainable collaboration between three local agricultural businesses and the creation of the Harry E. Umphrey Museum and Learning Farm. To learn more about the future of this building, please contact Andrea Powers, Washburn Town Manager, at (207) 455-8485 or email@example.com.
The Hubbard Cotton Store, Hiram
The Hubbard Cotton Store is a visually distinctive commercial façade in the village center of Hiram on the Route 113 corridor. Located between the Saco River and Mt. Cutler , this c.1850 Greek Revival structure was originally a supply store for the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroads in the 1880’s. Owned and operated by the Cotton family for over 100 years, the building has served the community as country store, County Registrar of Records, post office, and eatery for the Town of Hiram . It was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, and purchased by a private owner in late 2005 after being condemned and slated for demolition. Currently, the Hubbard Cotton Store is undergoing a significant renovation to bring back the general store and eatery, and adapt the upper floors to a Bed and Breakfast which was recently approved by Hiram Planning Board. For more information on this building, please contact the owner and renovator, John Chwaszczewski, at 1238 River Road, Hiram , ME 04041 or JohnChwaszczewski@yahoo.com.
Buck Memorial Library, Bucksport
The 1887 Buck Memorial Library is an architecturally distinctive local landmark on Bucksport’s Main Street . The building is granite-faced with a brick masonry inner wall which functions as the roof support. Over time, water damage has created significant deterioration of the foundation mortar joints, and freezing and thawing cycles have caused movement in the walls. As a result, members of the Board of Trustees have embarked upon a major fundraising campaign to restore the deteriorated foundation, a project which began in three years ago and is now halfway complete. To learn more to make a donation to this project, please contact Benjamin B. Blodget, Trustee Chairman of the Buck Memorial Library, at (207) 469-2650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hancock County Sheriff’s Home and Jail, Ellsworth
The c.1886 Hancock County Sheriff’s Home and Jail is located in downtown Ellsworth between the library and the county courthouse. This Queen Anne-style residence with attached granite cell block served in its original function until the late 1970’s. The Maine Historic Preservation Commission has made a preliminary determination of eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places. Since rescuing the building from demolition in 1980, this has become the headquarters of the all-volunteer Ellsworth Historical Society. The building is used for meetings, museum display and storage. Today, the “Old Jail” is suffering from deferred maintenance, water damage and continued threat of decay. For more information on this historic building, please contact Terri Cormier, Secretary of the Ellsworth Historical Society, at (207) 667-8235 or email@example.com.
Historic Wooden Windows, Statewide
Historic wooden windows across Maine and nationwide are being replaced and destroyed at an alarming rate. Windows are key character defining features of historic buildings, yet many property owners elect to replace their historic windows unaware of the environmental, economic, historic and aesthetic impacts of their actions. Replacement windows seldom compare aesthetically or for cost/value to original windows. Historic wooden windows are simple to repair, and when properly maintained or restored will generally far outlast replacements. The reason: old growth lumber is much more durable than new growth lumber from which modern windows are constructed. Bottom line: maintaining and retaining historic wooden windows makes good “cents” and helps save the Earth. For workshops and repair techniques, visit historichomeworks.com/hhw/education/SaveMaineWindows.htm.