Porter Memorial Library, Machias

Porter Memorial Library, circa 1890, is named after local attorney Rufus Porter and his son, Henry. Rufus was a library enthusiast when lending libraries were starting to develop in the form of social clubs.

After the Civil War, son Henry, made a fortune buying and selling railroads and subsequently donated $10,500 to construct a granite library. Within its rich Romanesque Revival-style, the chimney itself is said to contain ballast stones from the Revolutionary War ship Margaretta.

In the past two decades, the library trustees have shown their determination to preserve the granite envelope. An eighteen year restoration effort proved unsuccessful when the building began to leak and sustain water damage soon after work ended in 2004. The trustees courageously responded to the rehab and public relations dilemma. They hired Scott Whitaker of Building Envelope Specialists to make recommendations. To help fund the project, trustee Paula Holm wrote and won grant awards from Maine Community Foundation, the King Family Foundation and Davis Family Foundation.

An in-depth forensic assessment was conducted, which recommended appropriate actions to address problems and retain the building’s historic integrity. Repointing the mortar joints to the correct historic profile resulted in protection from water infiltration. Installation of thru-flashing under the wall caps prevented water infiltration into the walls. 

After full exterior rehabilitation, the building is now in excellent condition and able to respond properly to the harsh seacoast weather. Maine Preservation is pleased to present a 2013 Honor Award for the restoration of Porter Memorial Library.