Linda Grant, Yarmouth

Linda Grant of Yarmouth is a hard-working, dedicated, and tireless volunteer. She came to Yarmouth in 1996 and within the span of a few months, joined the Yarmouth Village Improvement Society (VIS) and was asked to serve as Chair of the Preservation Committee.

Today, Linda continues to serve as chair of the committee, where her duties include overseeing the ongoing maintenance and preservation of the Grand Trunk Railroad Station and the Old Baptist Meeting House, seen here.  Constructed in 1796, the Old Meeting House was commissioned as a Baptist church and used for more than 100 years. In 1910, the Meeting House was donated to the town and used for town meetings until 1946, when the Village Improvement Society assumed responsibility for its maintenance.

The 1906 Grand Trunk railroad building was purchased by the Yarmouth VIS in 1946 to save it from demolition after the railroad ceased providing passenger service.  During the VIS-funded rehabilitation of the station in 2007 and 2012, Linda’s research of original building materials and construction methods assured historical accuracy.  During a recent site visit, Maine Preservation Field Services Expert, Chris Closs, noted that “it is the best preserved Grand Trunk Railroad depot in the state.”  Today the building retains its original design and character while housing Village Florist & Company.

In her VIS role Linda has solicited contractors, reviewed bids, and managed projects totaling more than $100,000 over a dozen years.  Linda has been a VIS “committee-of-one” preserving two of Yarmouth’s most valuable architectural treasures.

In addition, she volunteered countless hours to help design a Town Comprehensive Plan that protects the historic village of Yarmouth while planning for its future, and she worked on the Yarmouth Gateways Project from 2006 through 2009. She served on the Royal River Corridor study in 2008 and chaired the 2011 project for the Royal River Park’s interpretive signs.  Linda was Chair of the Yarmouth Historical Society Board during the recent renovation of the former Water Company building, a project which resulted in the new Yarmouth History Center on East Elm Street.  She has also chaired the historical society’s house tours.  

For her many years of dedicated service, in a variety of roles, to the preservation of Yarmouth's historic buildings, Maine Preservation is pleased to present Linda Grant with a 2014 Honor Award for Outstanding Service.

J. Donald Cyr & Terry Helms, Musee Culturel du Mont-Carmel, Lille

In 1908, Father Elphege Godin, of the church of Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel (Our Lady of Mount Carmel), commissioned Théophile Daoust, an architect from Montréal, to design a new church.  This was the third church sanctuary built by the congregation in Aroostook County, and the second on the site in Lille.  Godin hired contractor Léonide Gagné of Edmundston, New Brunswick to start the building in 1908.  Gagné simplified some of Daoust’s plans, making them more suitable to local tastes.  This changed the overall style from Romanesque to Ancient Roman.  The new church was completed in 1910.  It is the most intact and architecturally significant of the surviving historic wooden Catholic churches constructed in the Acadian settlement along the St. John River.  

The church commissioned Louis Jobin of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec to carve the two trumpeting archangels that adorn the double belfries.  He carved the figures in pine and covered them in hammered zinc.  Inside the church, the plastered walls were decorated with garlands of maple leaves surrounding the arches, windows, and ceilings on the side aisles. All arches had gold leaf ribbon banding, and the blue ceiling of the apse was covered with thousands of gold-leaf stars.

By the 1930s, the financial strains of the Great Depression, along with the establishment of a new, competing parish in nearby Grand Isle, began a series of difficulties for the Mont-Carmel church.  The church was eventually closed in 1977 due to lack of finances.  It remained closed for five years before the Bishop of Portland decided to donate the building to the L’Association Culturelle et Historique du Mont-Carmel, a nonprofit started by Joseph Donald Cyr (longtime Advisory Trustee to Maine Preservation) in 1983 for the purpose of saving the structure.

Don Cyr began by removing the church’s “modern improvements.”  In 1990, he hired contractor Terry Helms to work on the restoration.  Over the years, Helms has worked tirelessly to restore the building, carefully following the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.  In a region of Maine with little funding available, the Association has written hundreds of grants to raise $2.8 million for the restoration project.

Under the stewardship of Don Cyr and the Association, the church has become a museum housing fine Acadian artifacts, as well as a performing arts center. The church was open this summer for visitors to the World Acadian Congress. Terry Helms has replaced the sills on the museum and rectory, restored 52 historic windows, and painted the entire facade. He has revealed original stenciled finishes by removing interior zinc panels and by scraping one layer of paint off wood trim, chapel walls and ceilings. He also has helped reproduce the two trumpeting archangels, mounted them on the towers, painted the towers, and restored their balustrades. He has also restored the communion rail from original remnants.  

For their outstanding long-term efforts to preserve and restore this significant community asset in the small village of Lille, Maine Preservation is pleased to present Joseph Donald Cyr and Terry Helms with a 2014 Honor Award for Outstanding Service.  

Jacob DiGirolamo, Treewise Arboriculture

In 2013, the Georges River Land Trust was in the process of acquiring portions of the Robbins-Anderson Farm, a parcel of more than 200 acres located in South Thomaston. When Maine Preservation learned that demolition of the historic farmhouse on the property was a possibility, we offered to consult on the property.

We discovered that the house was built about 1795 by the Isaac Robbins family, on land they purchased as the first settlers in South Thomaston thirty years earlier. The Robbins owned the property for more than 100 years. The house was subsequently altered about 150 years ago with removal of the central chimney installation of a staircase, and replacement of the windows with 6 over 6 sashes. Synthetic siding and roofing were added more recently. But otherwise the historic interior of the house is remarkably intact.

Maine Preservation requested and received an option-to-purchase the house and 5 acres from the Anderson family, owners since 1900, in order to market it for resale.  With this option, Maine Preservation listed the house with agent Cindy Lang of Sotheby’s Realty.

Adjoining the house was the overgrown, neglected apple orchard. Annette Naegel of Georges River Land Trust suggested a pruner and, at our request, asked Jacob DiGirolamo if he might volunteer his time to restore the orchard. Jacob agreed to take on the task to, quote, “bring the trees a little closer to something that might be called management,” unquote.

Jacob carefully pruned the old trees and one result was bumper crop of apples in the fall.

Another result is that Maine Preservation has found a buyer for the property, former Rockland Honor Award winner Rick Rockwell. Rick plans to transform the house, outbuildings and barn foundation into a gallery for artists, craftspeople and sculptors from the St. George peninsula, many of whom can no longer afford to show their work in Rockland’s upscale galleries.

For his volunteer work that helped restore and orchard and make the adjoining farmstead saleable, Maine Preservation is please to recognize Jacob DiGirolamo with a 2014 Honor Award as an Outstanding Volunteer.

Weston Family for the Weston Homestead, Madison

Joseph Weston and his family settled in present-day Skowhegan in 1772. In 1786, Joseph’s son, Deacon Benjamin Weston, settled nearby along the Kennebec River in Madison. In 1817, Deacon’s family constructed the large Federal-style home that stands today. Throughout the centuries, the property has remained in the Weston family, and a corporation of ten Weston family members now owns and manages the Homestead including 300 acres of fertile farmland and forests.

Over two centuries, the Weston Homestead has seen few major alterations. The house retains its original floors and Federal-style woodwork; mantels, fireplaces and hearths; plaster walls including 1840s wallpaper in the parlor and many of its original twelve-over-eight windows.

The house also contains an extensive collection of family furnishings. The survival and preservation of all of these features is particularly remarkable because in the Flood of 1987, the house was inundated with 5 feet of water. Family members subsequently carefully restored the house and its contents.  

The last full-time family occupant of the house departed in 1986—the same year that the Westons celebrated 200 years of ownership. In the 28 years since, the family has carefully maintained the house and surrounding land. This past year, the Weston Corporation made the decision to sell the property, including the house with its historic furnishings and the crop and forestland. The Weston family reached out to Maine Preservation and the Maine Farmland Trust before placing the property on the market.

By working with the two nonprofits, the Weston family is ensuring that the house and surrounding property will be protected in perpetuity. Maine Farmland Trust is working to place conservation easements on the farm and timberlands. Maine Preservation is working to place preservation easements on the house, while also seeking a new owner for the house who will respect its historic character.

For their outstanding service and commitment to preserving the Weston Homestead for more than two centuries, Maine Preservation is pleased to present the Weston Family with a 2014 Honor Award for Stewardship.

Farnsworth Homestead, Rockland

The Farnsworth Homestead was built in 1850 for Rockland businessman William Alden Farnsworth and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The elegant two-story, twelve-room Greek Revival structure was home to his wife and six children including Lucy Copeland Farnsworth, whose bequest upon her death in 1935 at the age of 97 founded the Farnsworth Art Museum.  

The house was virtually unchanged from the time of William’s death in 1876, and many of its original furnishings – wallpapers, carpets, curtains, and other items for everyday use remain, including gas lighting fixtures, a state-of-the-art coal-fired hot water heater, and plumbing fixtures.  Lucy Farnsworth stipulated in her will that her home be open to the public, and required that it should remain as it was when occupied by her family.  Exhibiting great foresight, she believed that preservation of the homestead, which was already historic during her lifetime, would be of educational value to the public.

In 2011, the museum began the first phase of a multi-year restoration and interpretation project at the Homestead.

A comprehensive mold remediation treatment was carried out in the basement by Air Quality Management Services, Inc. of Gray, Maine.  McElreavy Roofing of Warren, Maine replaced the asphalt roof with Class B fire retardant treated red cedar shingles, replicating the materials and dimensions of the original roof.

In spring and summer 2013, North American Painting Company repainted the exterior. All previous paint layers were removed, and Aaron Sturgis of Preservation Timber Framing [a member of the board of Maine Preservation], removed and replaced damaged siding.

Preservation architects Jill and Robert Burley of The Burley Partnership examined the interior finishes and coverings, along with textile conservator, Camille Breeze.  Their work was funded in part by a grant from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  

Chief Curator Michael Komanecky and Assistant Curator Jane Bianco led a thorough inventory of the house’s contents.

David Barquist, Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, was hired to help develop a more historically accurate furnishing plan.  

Historic carpet specialist John R. Burrows of Rockland, Massachusetts was hired to advise on Homestead carpets and painting conservator Nina Roth-Wells of Georgetown, Maine exposed and cleaned an original c. 1850 oilcloth discovered beneath 1870s carpeting in the entry hall.

The Homestead is back open to the public. The exterior closely replicates the home the Farnsworths moved into in 1850, while the interior reveals a more historically accurate furnishing plan, with only objects associated with the family on view.  In addition, the Carriage House has been included in public tours for the first time and tour guides have expanded their interpretation based on a revamped, extensive training program.

For their outstanding and careful work and commitment to restoring the Farnsworth Homestead, Maine Preservation is pleased to present the Farnsworth Art Museum and the Homestead project team with a 2014 Honor Award for Restoration.

Maine State House Dome, Augusta

The Maine State House in Augusta was completed in 1832. Designed by renowned architect, Charles Bulfinch, who also designed the Massachusetts State House and the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., the new Maine State House took three years to complete. Bulfinch’s plan combined the outline of the Massachusetts Capitol Building with a Greek Revival simplicity which could be executed with local Maine granite.

Major remodeling and expansion completed in 1910 established the current appearance of the State House, based on designs by G. Henri Desmond.  The length of the building was doubled to 300 feet.  To sympathize with the grander proportions of the larger building, a new, much higher steel-structured and copper-covered dome, rising to a height of 185 feet, was built to replace the original cupola. It was topped by a gold-clad copper statue, “Lady Wisdom”, designed by W. Clark Noble of Gardiner.

Over time, weather damage and holes caused by hail strikes in the dome caused leaks that threatened the building below.   Seams between copper sheets also caused problems for the underlying steel and concrete structure of the dome.

This deterioration led to the commitment to replace the copper dome and restore the 13 foot-tall, gilded Lady Wisdom statue for the first time since 1910.

Under the direction of Maine’s Legislative Council, the dome’s structural system and framing were analyzed by Becker Structural Engineering a year in advance of dome construction so that Consigli, the general contractor, could create a 3D model staging plan.  

In collaboration with The Heritage Company, EverGreene Architectural Arts, E.S. Boulos Company and ACE Corporation, Consigli has completed replacement of the entire copper dome, including installation of expansion joints, repair to prevent water infiltration and restoration of the cupola with a highly durable paint system.  Also included are lighting upgrades; new LED lights installed in the statue’s torch will last for 30 to 50 years.

Working 200 feet in the air on elaborate staging, carpenters, coppersmiths, engineers, and other construction workers have made historic changes to the exterior appearance of the State House.

The replacement of more than 7,000 square feet of copper covering the dome has dramatically changed the way it looks now and will look over the next 30 years as the copper slowly oxidizes to green. The re-gilding of the 13-foot Lady Wisdom statue atop the dome is brighter and its detail preserved.  

For the restoration of one of Maine’s most significant historic landmarks, which returned the signature copper dome and gilded Lady Wisdom sculpture to their original intended condition, Maine Preservation is pleased to present the State of Maine, The Legislative Council and Maine State House Dome project team with a 2014 Honor Award for Restoration.

Bailey Island Bridge, Harpswell

Constructed in 1928, Bailey Island Bridge is a granite crib bridge, the only one of its kind in America. The bridge consists of 175 granite slabs laid up into cribs that rest on the natural rock shelf below. The granite slabs are dry laid with no mortar. Not only is the bridge a National Register-listed property, it is also a National American Society of Civil Engineering landmark.

Changes to the bridge included the addition of a sidewalk in 1951 and a guardrail in 1962.  In 2000, after decades of inspections and continuous maintenance, officials determined that the Bailey Island Bridge required major repairs. The possibility of replacement was also reviewed. In 2004, a feasibility study was completed to determine the best approach.  The MaineDOT completed a preliminary design report in 2007.  

After officials concluded that modest traffic volume would permit rehabilitation and restoration—instead of replacement, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission provided input on preliminary designs. The commission then requested that MaineDOT involve The Dry Stone Conservancy, for its expertise in dry stone masonry.

During the design phase, existing conditions had to be considered. The cribstone structure had missing stones, shifted stones, cantilevered stones and fractured stones, all of which all needed attention during the rehabilitation.  MaineDOT was committed to maintaining the unique granite substructure in accordance with the historic bridge management plan.  MDOT sought to replace as few stones as necessary and to match them with granite from the original quarry, or to provide the closest match possible.  

The rehabilitation effort initiated in 2008 and completed in 2011 resulted in the preservation of this unique bridge. This project preserved a truly one-of-a-kind treasure for future generations.

For their outstanding efforts on this irreplaceable Maine resource, Maine Preservation is pleased to present the Maine Department of Transportation and its Bailey Island Bridge project team with a 2014 Honor Award for Restoration.

U.S. Customs House, Portland

Located near Portland's waterfront, the U.S. Custom House is a testament to the city's maritime history. It was built to accommodate the city's growing customs business, which, by 1866, was collecting $900,000 annually in duties - making Portland one of the most significant seaports in the country.

Completed under the direction of Supervising Architect of the Treasury, Alfred B. Mullett, the building was constructed between 1867 and 1872, and combined elements of the Second Empire and Renaissance Revival styles.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

In response to chunks of plaster falling from the ceiling, the General Services Administration (GSA) had recently provided emergency repairs to both the interior historic lime plaster and the exterior masonry.

Following on these recent emergency repairs, GSA planned the rehabilitation of the envelope of the building in order to ensure long-term stability, while also repairing the damaged interior wall plaster.

Masonry restoration included the repointing of the Fore Street elevation, cupolas, and the entire roof top balustrade, as well as the ground and first floor level of all facades. Second floor window granite balusters were removed, repaired and reinstalled, and cracked granite repaired. The masonry was also cleaned and lead ‘T’ joint covers were provided at repointed masonry. Historic wood windows were removed, restored, reglazed and repainted. Additionally, damaged interior plaster surfaces were repaired.

The result is a substantial extension of this significant building’s useful life. This project not only restored the Portland Custom House to provide continued use by the Federal Government, but also provided the opportunity to open the building to the public so that residents and visitors can appreciate the magnificent architecture and reconnect Portland to the maritime past.

For outstanding work and dedication to historical accuracy, Maine Preservation is please to present the General Services Administration and its U.S. Custom House project team with a 2014 Honor Award for Restoration.

The Turrets, Bar Harbor

In 1893, New York architect Bruce Price, designer of the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, designed The Turrets, a Bar Harbor retreat for John J. Emery. No stranger to Mount Desert Island, Price designed three other private cottages on the island, as well as the annex for its West End Hotel. The Turrets, however, is the only remaining Bruce Price building on MDI, and an important Maine example of cottage-era architecture. Construction of this massive summer cottage cost $100,000. It took two years to complete, with all the exterior granite cut near Eagle Lake on Mount Desert.

College of the Atlantic purchased the property in 1973, and two years later the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The college initiated a restoration in 1977 with the aid of grants and private gifts. The building was dedicated in 1982 to the John Joseph Emery family of Hulls Cove, Maine, descendants of The Turrets’ original owners in recognition of their interest in and support of that Turrets restoration project. In 1987 and 1989 the college received matching funds from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to complete the restoration of The Turrets to its original condition.

By the early 2000s, The Turrets suffered from serious deferred maintenance issues.  This led to safety concerns as the slate roof and granite facing deteriorated.  Rob Shea of E.L. Shea Builders and Engineers conducted a courtesy inspection of the ocean-side turrets and reported that both were in extreme danger of falling off the building. A “bare bones” plan and budget were developed to address the most critical systems. Building Envelope Specialists, Inc. (BES) was retained to provide plans for repairing the granite sides and chimneys, as well as updating roofing information in case money became available to implement more than a stop gap measure.

In 2012, following extensive campus discussion, College of the Atlantic reached the decision that they wished to continue to use the building year round.  President Darron Collins and the Board of Trustees committed to fund the entire envelope package at $3.7 million.

Restoration at The Turrets focused on three critical building components: masonry, roof, and windows.  The masonry work by Joseph Gnazzo Company included a comprehensive repair of the building’s granite masonry façade.  Hahnel Brothers took painstaking care to install a new slate roof that matched the historic Monson slate roof, with new copper flashing added.  And, finally, E.L. Shea installed a combination of original windows meticulously restored, and where necessary, new historically accurate windows.

Currently, The Turrets provides both academic and administrative office space for College of the Atlantic. Each day, approximately 250 staff and students of the college access and use the Turrets.

The Turrets is one of Maine's historic and architectural treasures.   The College of the Atlantic community’s commitment to preserve the structure has resulted in a beautiful and functional building, which is the centerpiece of the college’s campus.  

In recognition of this extraordinary dedication, Maine Preservation is pleased to present College of the Atlantic and the Turrets project team with a 2014 Honor Award for Rehabilitation.

Charles B. Clarke House, Portland

Built in 1907 for Portland mayor Charles B. Clarke, this nearly 14,000 square foot brick mansion was designed by Ernest M. A. Machado, fronting Portland's Western Promenade park. The property was later occupied by James P. Baxter, Jr. and other prominent Portland residents.

Most recently the property suffered when owners facing financial difficulties left Portland in the face of foreclosure, stripping original fixtures that were easily removable--including nickel-plated bath fixtures and brass light fixtures. The property then was entangled in a foreclosure action, and left derelict for several years with no maintenance.

This was a property nearing the point that it would soon be prohibitively expensive to save.  It needed attention and love, which had been long absent. In planning the rehabilitation, the new owner, 223 Western Prom, LLC, worked closely with the Portland Historic Preservation Review Board, and also sought input from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Greater Portland Landmarks, Maine Preservation and other interested groups. The developer reached out to the neighborhood and with its support, TTL Architects and Waltman & Company Design developed the design concept converting the 13,000 square foot, single-family residence into three large condominium units.

The secondary living space in the rear wing of the house and a neglected carriage shed had been gutted and poorly renovated in the 1980s. The main portion of the house, although suffering from neglect, was largely intact.  Fortunately the team was able to set up a conversion design that would keep the significant mansion interior almost completely intact for new Unit #1.  They removed the poorly rehabbed work for the creation of new Units #2 and #3.

Flying Point Construction served as general contractor, while George Reiche Restoration acted as project coordinator. Throughout all three units mechanicals were replaced and sprinklers were added.  On the exterior, 75% of the roofs were replaced, extensive masonry restorations were undertaken, and wood trim was restored extensively.  Susan Carter of Gnome Landscapes completely redid all of the grounds, and Tim Green of Standfast Forge restored all wrought iron fencing and rails.

Sutherland Conservation Consulting, Inc. guided the rehabilitation of this National Register property in keeping with the Secretary of the Interior's standards.

The Charles B. Clarke House has now been restored in a manner that should be a source of pride for all stakeholders:  the occupants, the neighborhood, the city, the project reviewers, the project development team, and local historic preservation groups.

Because of the thorough attention to historic detail and sensitive treatment of historic fabric, Maine Preservation is pleased to present the owner Ford Reiche and the Charles B. Clarke House project team with a 2014 Honor Awards for Rehabilitation.  

Winnegance General Store, Bath

The Winnegance General Store was built in 1902 to supply necessary goods to local residents, many of whom who worked in the eight tidal-powered lumber mills that spanned the Kennebec River across the street.

Over time, the mills disappeared, leaving only "bumps" in the river as a reminder of their presence, but the Winnegance General Store continued to serve generations of local customers as well as the many summer visitors who stopped in for food and fishing supplies.

In 2009, however, the store closed when the proprietors were unable to continue running the business. In 2013, the store--in poor shape with a foundation so badly damaged that floors inside had begun to buckle--was listed on Maine Preservation's list of Maine Most Endangered Historic Places. That year, Jennifer Greene, a Small Point summer resident, stepped in and purchased the building with a vision of bringing it back to life while maintaining its historic character. The building faced significant challenges, however, including the need for a new foundation, a new front porch, and ADA-compliant access.

Work began with Tancrede House Movers, who carefully lifted the building and slid it 35 feet to the south to allow a new foundation to be dug and poured.  The building was then slid back onto its new foundation and fortified with new sills, floor and framing.  

Androscoggin Building and Remodeling retained and repaired original materials wherever possible, even fashioning cabinets from pumpkin pine salvaged from the derelict shed behind the store.  The original beadboard walk-in cooler was preserved; glass pendant fixtures from a 1916 Lewiston vocational school were recycled; and Houseworks, LLC prepared salvaged flooring for reuse.  The badly deteriorated original windows were skillfully restored and made operational by Nate Jung of Jung Restoration.

The result is a neighborhood gem with an upstairs apartment for rent and a flexible downstairs space that has returned to use as a general store and restaurant.

Once threatened by deterioration and disuse, the restored Winnegance Store is once again an asset to the community. In recognition of their exemplary work, Maine Preservation is pleased to present owner Jennifer Greene and the Winnegance General Store project team with a 2014 Honor Award for Rehabilitation.

Union Hall, Rockport

Built in 1858, Union Hall was once an anchor of downtown activity on Rockport’s Main Street.  Designed with open retail spaces on the first floor, a civic or fraternal hall on the second, and offices or living spaces on the third level, it remained remarkably intact, though much deteriorated.  It is notable for its mansard roof, which was added at a later date.

Decades of deferred maintenance combined with exposure to the elements had caused structural deterioration and unsafe conditions, which in turn led to underutilization and vacancy.

When Leucadia National Corporation invested in Rockport’s downtown, revitalization was its motivation. Having completed a historic tax credit project on Shepherd Block in 2010, its goals for Union Hall were to accomplish the following:

  • Save a valued building from collapse while maintaining as many historic materials and character-defining features as possible.
  • Create a self-sustaining economic engine that would fund the rehabilitation by providing a mixed-use property to keep downtown vital.
  • Provide an essential Third Place (neither home nor work) where villagers and visitors could meet and build community, while overlooking the harbor.

The complete rehabilitation included structural remediation to wood framing, roof repair, all new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, masonry repointing, restoration of windows and doors, and interior finishes. A new elevator and two stairways were all worked into the existing building envelope allowing for better appearance and eligibility for tax credits.

The rear exterior brick masonry wall had separated from the structural system and had to be immediately removed and rebuilt to prevent collapse. A special Part 2 Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Application for Emergency Structural Repair was submitted by tax credit consultants and project designers Lachman Architects & Planners and was approved by MHPC and the NPS.

This project demonstrates how Maine’s 19th century buildings can be rehabilitated to meet 21st century expectations for function, reduced energy consumption, and user comfort. Today, Union Hall houses The Salt Water Farm Restaurant at ground level; an attractively rehabilitated Community Hall on the second floor; an elegant residence on the third floor; and a lower level, which offers light filled commercial space for another tenant.

Union Hall --once vacant and in poor repair--will reinvigorate downtown Rockport with its ADA accessible, mixed reuse spaces. For this accomplishment, Maine Preservation is pleased to present Rockport Properties, LLC and the Union Hall project team with a 2014 Honor Award for Rehabilitation.

Hyacinth Place, Westbrook

The St. Hyacinth School and Convent was built by the Catholic Church in in the Frenchtown neighborhood of Westbrook.  The parish developed in response to the influx of French Canadian mill workers during the mid-nineteenth century. Constructed in 1881, the parochial school was for many years a focal point for Westbrook’s immigrant community.  

The school building was replaced in 1893 with a new structure designed by Coburn & Son of Lewiston.  A convent, designed by Timothy O’Connell of Boston, was added in 1921. The completed complex grew to include a church, rectory, and garage.

The parochial school closed in 1974 and became a Center for Religious Education.  The convent was converted to a House of Prayer.  But after 10 years, use of the buildings decreased.  

In 2011, the buildings were found eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and, in turn, qualified for Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits.  Avesta Housing, with Kevin Bunker and Jim Hatch of Developers Collaborative, LLC, began the planning process with Archetype Architects of Portland.   The creation of additional housing in an existing residential area would both benefit the residents of Westbrook and utilize these important local buildings.

Virtually vacant at the beginning of the project, the school building had suffered deterioration caused by years of roof leaks, which led to slow rotting of many framing members, buckled wood floors, and weakened plaster walls. Investigation of the school showed that it had also been burned in a fire and not properly repaired.  The convent suffered similar deterioration, including masonry that was spalling severely.           

In planning and design, the challenge was to retrofit large classrooms and small nun’s quarters to meet modern residential requirements. During the rehabilitation project, completed by Portland Builders, the major scope of work included exterior masonry repairs on both buildings, window restoration and replacement, and retention and maintenance of a large inventory of historic trim elements and pressed metal ceilings.

The two buildings on the site were rehabilitated to include 23 housing units. In the school building, the basic plan was retained along with central corridors and stair towers. The convent offered a more complicated existing plan, but was modified without the loss of important character-defining spaces.

The rehabilitation of the St. Hyacinth School and Convent created affordable housing within an existing residential area and utilized historic buildings once central to the community there. For this outstanding work, Maine Preservation is pleased to present the St. Hyacinth project team with a 2014 Honor for Adaptive Use.