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July 25, 2018

Franklin Street building in Bangor added to 1911 fire historic district

Courtesy / Dawson Bradford Realtors
Courtesy / Dawson Bradford Realtors
The building at 29 Franklin St., Bangor, has been added to the Great Fire of 1911 Historic District.

The Bangor City Council Monday night agreed to include 29 Franklin St. to the Great Fire of 1911 Historic District, which means the owners can restore the facade with help from historic preservation tax credits.

Cressey, Butler & Cohen LLC bought the three-story, 14,000-square-foot building in December for $552,888.

The plan is to convert the building, known as the Pierce Block, from professional office to mixed commercial and residential use, according to the City Council agenda.

The new owners intend to restore the historic character of the fašade, but in order to be eligible, the building had to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or be included in a local historic district that is included on the National Register, which the Great Fire of 1911 Historic District is.

The district originally included 48 buildings in its 1984 application to the National Register of Historic Places. The district's buildings were constructed between 1911 and 1915, with most constructed in 1911 and 1912, according to the application. Two pre-date the fire.

The building at 29 Franklin St. was constructed in 1912 by architect C. Parker Crowell, and directly abuts other properties in the district. "The building is also of a significant and unique architectural character," the council said.

The fire, which began in a warehouse, destroyed half of the city's downtown, including 100 commercial blocks, seven churches and 245 houses.

The historic district "preserves Maine's most significant collection of early 20th-century commercial buildings, and commemorates an urban re-building campaign matched only by Portland's after its own conflagration of 1866," the 1984 application said.

Burned in the fire were the Bangor Public Library, the post office, the central fire station and more.

Among the property included in the historic district is the library, Bangor High School, several business blocks, the old post office and customs house, which is now City Hall; three parks, including the Kenduskeag and Norumbega malls and Pierce Park.

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