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.