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September 25, 2018

Appeal filed to prevent demolition of historic Ellsworth firehouse

Courtesy / Ellsworth Historical Society A photo, circa 1910, shows the Ellsworth Falls Ticonic 4 Engine House.

An abutter of a 19th century firehouse in Ellsworth has filed an administrative appeal to prevent its demolition.

The building is owned by the Webber Group. The city sold the building to Webber through a request for proposals process about a decade ago. It’s unclear what kind of condition the building is in.

Lori Roberts, Ellsworth’s deputy code enforcement officer, told Mainebiz the city issued a permit last week to Webber to tear down the building, but that is now being challenged.

The administrative appeal from a group of citizens argues that the demolition permit was incorrectly issued due to conditions in the original request for proposals that suggested the building should be maintained, Roberts explained.

“But unfortunately those items in the RFP were not in the deed,” she said.

Roberts said it’s her understanding that Webber wants to take it down because the lot is not marketable as it is.

In a Sept. 17 post on the Ellsworth Historical Society Facebook  page, the society urged the parties involved to rethink the demolition of the Ticonic 4 Engine House.

“We are losing too many buildings to development,” the post reads. “Once these building are gone they can not be replaced, nor can the sense of our historic neighborhoods. Please show your support of our history, contact your city councilors or attend the meeting and let them know history matters — this place matters.”

According to a petition started by Judy Blood on, signed by 438 people, “In January of 2005, the City of Ellsworth sought proposals from parties interested in purchasing the ‘Bridge Hill Properties,’ and the Ticonic Fire House/ Ellsworth Falls Community Building. Both properties were seen by the town as having ‘significant Local Historic Interest.’”

Selection criteria for these properties included value to the community, plan for restoration and ongoing upkeep and economic benefit to the city.

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