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November 13, 2018

Maine Preservation celebrates 13 outstanding revitalization projects

Photo / Maureen Milliken
Photo / Maureen Milliken
The Reading Room at Lithgow Library in Augusta is one of the projects honored by Maine Preservation as an example of outstanding historic preservation.

Maine Preservation celebrated 13 revitalization projects from Augusta to Standish, as well as the Sagadahock Real Estate Association in Bath, as examples of outstanding historic preservation.

The 2018 Honor Awards by the Yarmouth-based nonprofit Wednesday came a week after the organization cited endangered buildings and other spaces in the state. Both lists highlight the group's mission of advocating for and raising awareness of the state's historic property and what can be done to bring it to life and add to the economic sustainability and growth of the state.

"Taking vacant and underutilized historic buildings and adaptively using and updating them is an essential ingredient for community revitalization and vitality," said Maine Preservation Executive Director Greg Paxton in a news release. "When completed, these buildings lift the economics of the areas around them and the spirits of the citizens benefitting from them."

Projects that were recognized not only recall the history of their surrounds and those who built and used them, but also fill a current need, he said. The buildings were built well and show that older buildings can be rehabilitated and operate economically and with energy efficiency.

Honored by the organization are:

Reading Room at Lithgow Library, Augusta: The Lithgow Library is one of the finest examples of Romanesque Revival architecture in Maine, Maine Preservation said. An $11 million renovation completed in 2016 not only built an addition, but provided initial restoration of the plaster, gilding and paint colors in the reading room. The reading room restoration was completed this year with an $82,000 project by Friends of the Lithgow Library, bringing it back "to its stunning original appearance," and complementing the stained-glass windows and fireplace tile work, which are unaltered from the original construction.

Amos O. Reed House, Brunswick: Built In 1881, the Italianate home and carriage house on High Street in Brunswick underwent a "dramatic restoration" by owners Courtney and Donna Neff. "The Neffs have created a warm, inviting home with a new kitchen while maintaining and restoring its original historic character," the organization said.

Whittier Field at Bowdoin College, Brunswick: Built in 1896, Whittier Field, which is now part of the Whittier Field Athletic Complex, was the site of a 1972 Olympic Training Camp and the home track of 1984 Olympic marathon Gold Medal winner (and Bowdoin alumna) Joan Benoit Samuelson. In 2017, the track and Hubbard Grandstand were listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and key historic elements were restored.

Prince-Drowne House, Cumberland: The Georgian-style residence is believed to be the oldest surviving house in Cumberland. Owners Paul Moultal and Maryanne Burns and a team from Flying Point Construction, "turned a forlorn farmhouse into a stunning modern home that retains much of the original fabric," Maine Preservation said.

Lincoln Theater, Damariscotta: The two-story Italianate brick theater opened in 1876 and, 2014, the Maine Development Foundation, in partnership with the Maine Community Foundation, awarded the theater funding through the Grants to Green program, leading to a window restoration project with support from the Davis Family Foundation and community members. Bagala Window Works restored the windows to increase energy efficiency and recapture the beauty of the original design.

The L.L. Bean Home, Freeport: The Queen Anne-style house at 6 Holbrook St., was built in the late 1880s and bought in 1912 by Leon L. Bean and his wife, Bertha, the same hear L.L. invented the iconic Maine Hunting Shoe. The company L. L. Bean has restored the building to the way it looked when the Bean family first occupied it over 12 years and it's now the Leon L. Bean Home & Archive Center, offering "an accurate glimpse into the life and times of Leon Bean and his family, and into the distinctive style of the [Fassett]."

Administration Building at Stevens Commons, Hallowell: The Maine Industrial School for Girls was established by state officials for "wayward girls," built in 1905-06, is now Stevens Commons, under development by Mastway Development LLC. The Administration Building is the first rehabilitation project to be completed at the campus. Using state and federal historic tax credits, the building is professional office space on the first floor, with four apartments on the upper floors.

Osgood Building, Lewiston: The four-story white brick building on Lisbon Street was designed by J. Coburn and Sons, a local architecture firm, and its white English glazed brick cladding is unique to Maine, Maine Preservation said. Building owner law firm Berman and Simmons has occupied the building for more than 100 years and worked with SMRT Architects, P&G Masonry, Warren Construction Group and tax credit consultants Epsilon Associates Inc. in the restoration. "The project saved and revitalized a prized landmark on Lisbon Street, and added tremendous energy to Lewiston's ongoing renaissance."

96 Federal St., Portland: Tucked between Franklin Arterial and the Portland Food Co-op, the brick apartment building "has witnessed countless changes since it was built in 1867," Maine Preservation said. In 2015, Dan Black and Max and Mariah Monks bought the building and restored it using Historic Preservation Tax Credits.

Clark Memorial Methodist Church, Portland: Built in 1857, Hardypond Development Company bought the property in 2016, renovating it for 25 market-rate apartments. "The success of the Clark Lofts on Pleasant project has been a huge boost to the continued revitalization of the Morrill's Corner neighborhood."

The Motherhouse, Portland: The three-story classical revival style brick building is ornamented with quoins, a detailed copper cornice, and the central entry tower topped by the copper cupola and Celtic cross. The $15 million rehabilitation of the Motherhouse into 66 affordable and 22 market priced apartments for seniors by Developer's Collaborative keeps it "a historic, enduring feature of Stevens Avenue, Deering Center and the greater Portland community" while also preserving and revitalizing the former Sisters of Mercy convent.

Thomas B. Reed School, Portland: The Reed School, built in 1926, was designed in the Colonial Revival style and in 1960, a single-story addition was added. Children's Odyssey moved into the 1960s section of the school after Phase I of the Developer's Collaborative rehabilitation, and, in Phase II, eight market-rate apartments will be added to the older section.

Dow Farm, Standish: Built in 1769, the Dow Farm has remained in the Down family for early 250 years. The property was an active farm until the 1930s, and in 1976, Donald Essman began restoring it in exchange for rent. Through a group effort, "the farm buildings and farmland have been lovingly brought back to life," Maine Preservation said.

The 2018 Earle G. Shettleworth Jr. Preservation Champion: John G. Morse IV, Frances Bowen and Jane Morse (posthumously), the family owners of Sagadahock Real Estate Association in Bath, were honored for lifetime achievement in historic preservation. The association has owned and managed 15 downtown Bath buildings.

"They felt it not only economically necessary, but morally important, to keep rental rates affordable for their tenants," Maine Preservation said. "They also went out of their way to understand the importance of a successful retail mix, moving beyond simply filling empty spaces and onto seeking new businesses who would reinforce the success of all of Bath's downtown."

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