The Inn at Diamond Cove, Portland

The establishment of the US Army’s Fort McKinley on Great Diamond Island was part of larger effort by the government to provide strategic harbor defenses throughout the country at the end of the 19th century. The 200 acres on the northern half of the island was the largest of four Maine coastal forts.

Constructed in 1910, and housing 200 soldiers, the Double Barracks was the largest of 5 barracks built to house the enlisted men. It sits at the north end of the parade ground, and is the only remaining double barracks at the Fort McKinley complex.

The threat of a major attack diminished greatly by the early 1940s and the government halted the build-up of coastal defenses by 1944. Modern warfare tactics of WWII contributed to make existing harbor defenses obsolete, and the government dissolved the Coast Artillery in 1950 and abandoned the forts.

These properties were first offered for sale to state and local governments at undervalued prices before being sold to private interests. Fort McKinley passed through several owners before Bateman Partners acquired the property in 1993 and began efforts to revitalize the property into a resort community, building by building.

The double barracks needed major structural repairs due to water infiltration and decades of abandonment. When the project was 95% complete, a fire broke out and burned all of the interior structure. The brick exterior was all that was left standing. Working with the National Park Service and the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, it was determined that Historic Tax Credits could help the project rebuild.

This decision for salvaging the exterior and reconstructing the rest of the building preserved the physical memory of the double barracks while rehabilitating the space into functional resort inn.

This project defied all odds, transforming a collapsing building into an intrinsic part of the Fort McKinley historic complex.

Saco Island Apartments, Saco

o   The York Engine/Boiler House is significant for its associations with the York Manufacturing Company and the development of Saco as a major industrial city in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The York Manufacturing Company established its first cotton mill in Saco in 1830 and continued to grow into the 1840s.

Major expansion in the late 19th century resulted in construction of the earliest section of the Boiler/Engine House (central portion) in 1880 to supply sufficient power to run the mill buildings. Continued expansion of the mill yard paralleled enlargement of the Boiler/Engine House in the early 20th century. The northern wing was erected in 1911, while the southern addition was built in 1922.

The York Manufacturing Company profited during WWI and survived the textile depression of the early 1920s but by the time the stock market crashed in 1929, the looms had ceased production under the original management. The company was acquired by several different manufacturing companies throughout the twentieth century before the last occupants vacated the building in 1985.

After sitting vacant for nearly 30 years, David Bateman, Archetype Architects, and Portland Builders worked closely with the Maine State Housing Authority and the Town of Saco in order to rehabilitate the turn of the century Boiler/Engine House into workforce housing apartments. Working on the exterior wall proved challenging as the building sits along the river.  

o   The rehab work done to the Boiler/Engine House kept the historic fabric of the building intact and preserved the memory of the turn of the century Saco mill industry while giving the mill a new life with beautiful living units that overlook the river and dam.

The Mill at Dover-Foxcroft

The American Woolen Company Foxcroft Mill is located on the west side of the Piscataquis River in downtown Dover-Foxcroft. The mill complex is comprised of seven buildings and three structures that represent several types, styles, and methods of construction used for mill buildings in Maine between 1840 and 1940.

The mill was an economic engine for the Dover-Foxcroft community for 163 years. When operations ceased in 2007, the American Woolen Company abandoned the mill. The loss of jobs was an additional hardship for an area that was already struggling to transition from a manufacturing- to a service-based economy.

The scope of the project was ever-evolving, requiring responsive and creative solutions from the project team. The total renovation of the 110,000 square foot complex included extensive structural repairs across a variety of building types and materials—from roofing, sandblasting, and historic window replacement to detailed interior finishes.

The Mill at Dover- Foxcrot project is the largest private investment in Piscataquis County in decades, and an excellent example of a public private collaboration. The $12.4 million project resulted in a complete revitalization and conversion of the former mill complex into a mixed-use development, which includes a high-tech business center, 22 market rate apartments, space for retail shops and offices, studio space for artisans, and an Internet cafe. It also includes a restaurant and a boutique hotel.

The revitalized mill is an excellent example of the positive results of community impact investing. The mill is now home to new businesses that are creating jobs and enriching the town. With working and living space, as well as a year-round farmer’s market at the complex, the mill is once again an integral part of Dover-Foxcroft’s community and economy.

Press Hotel, Portland

o   The tapestry brick and stone Gannett Building, located in Portland’s historic Old Port District, was constructed in1923 and followed in 1947 by an adjoining structure. The building was designed to house the offices and printing plant of the Portland Press Herald, Maine’s largest newspaper.

Maddy Corson, granddaughter of the former owner of the Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram, recalled, how, in 1945, the building was ‘an energetic powerhouse at the heart of the city.’ Housing the Portland Press Herald, the Evening Express and the Sunday Telegram, as well as a pair of TV stations, the building dominated the newspaper landscape until the Press Herald moved to another location in 2010.

In 2012, Portland real estate developer Jim Brady put the building under contract and announced plans to open Portland’s first independent boutique hotel. Aptly named The Press Hotel, it retains virtually all of the building’s architectural details, including its vintage exterior lettering and the newspaper’s ‘City Room’ repurposed as the Inkwell Bar. Among other unique features, guestroom hallways are lined with custom-printed wall coverings that feature actual newspaper headlines from the Press Herald’s archives.

Many of its artifacts have also been salvaged, including a scale used for weighing the huge rolls of newsprint right down to the ounce. The hotel has its own art gallery, open to guests and the greater public, where collaborations with area museums will be planned and commissioned paintings, sculptures, and textiles from locals will be displayed.

The extensive rehabilitation and adaptive reuse to a boutique hotel was completed and opened to the public in May 2015. With the help of state and federal tax credits, this LEED certified building, rehabilitated a landmark building in Portland, allowing the building to be repurposed while still paying tribute to the property’s publishing legacy.

Saco Central Fire Station, Saco

With the development of massive textile mills in Saco and directly across the river in Biddeford beginning in 1845, Saco grew rapidly, developing an urban center. Several serious fires in the 1840s led to an increasing demand from citizens for an adequate fire protection system in the city. The Saco Central Fire Station was constructed in 1939.  The undertaking was accomplished with financial assistance from the federal Public Works Administration, one of the many programs created under the New Deal legislation, specifically to manage the construction of public buildings with the use of private construction companies.

Design elements, such as the doors with turned half-balusters over the glazing that resemble horse stall doors and the cast stone horse heads on the keystones, recalled memories of the horse-drawn era of firefighting.

The station served as the central fire station from its construction until it closed in January 2011 when it was replaced by a modern fire station at another site. The Saco City Council favored demolition of the historic fire station. Maine Preservation listed the fire station on its Most Endangered List in 2012, and Housing Initiatives of New England purchased the building to rehabilitate it for new use.

The station was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in April 2013 which made the building eligible for Historic Tax Credits.

The original wood bay doors on the façade of the station had been replaced with modern rolling doors. The rehabilitated design included replacing these garage doors, along with new windows, and pedestrian doors in order to match the historic façade of the fire station.

The Saco Central Fire Station currently contains four apartments on the second floor along with a fitness center on the first floor, retaining the original open floor plan. Its restoration and rehabilitation allows the past fire station to continue to serve Saco as residential and fitness spaces while also preserving its historical significance.

Cony Flatiron Apartments

Located on the Cony Circle in Augusta, Cony High School was constructed between 1926 and 1932 to provide a larger school building for the growing population in Augusta.

Designed by the local firm Bunker & Savage, Cony High School is an unusually shaped Colonial Revival style brick building with a curved front entrance creating a flat iron shaped building.

In 1984, the school was renovated and many of the original windows were removed and infilled with brick. The renovation also included the construction of the elevator tower and elevator mechanical room in the northeast corner of the building. Cony High School was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on September 29, 1988. The building served as a high school until 2006 when it became vacant.

The rehabilitation project on the Cony High School utilized both Federal and Maine State Tax credits to create 48 units of elderly housing. The unique design of the existing building allowed for the creation of apartment units along the exterior walls and large community spaces in the center. The architects retained significant architectural interior features such as the auditorium, corridors, and the central open stair.

The owner restored Alumni Auditorium on the third floor to a cabaret style performance space and cleaned the decorative plaster and restored the original stenciling along the proscenium arch.

Non-historic windows were replaced with new units and historic windows were restored.

The large arched windows at the rear of the building were reopened and new windows were installed.

The rehabilitation of Cony High School successfully put a vacant landmark building in Augusta back into service while respecting the local history and significance of the building and those who attended school there. 

Unity Food Hub, Brunswick

The Unity Village School was built in 1898. From its completion until its closing, the three-room Village School was the largest grade school in Unity, reaching a peak enrollment rate of 161 pupils after the baby boom. In 1953, the town erected a new and larger elementary school across the street from the Village school.

After closing, the building remained vacant for 6 decades.  It was the victim of vandalism and had fallen into serious disrepair. The brick foundation had severely deteriorated, causing damage to the interior features.

In 2013, recognizing the vacant rural schoolhouse’s potential, The Maine Farmland Trust bought the building to give it a new life as the Unity Food Hub. State and federal historic tax credits were used to help make the project financially viable. 

The foundation was repaired by raising the building so a new foundation could be poured with enough depth to accommodate additional usable space in the basement, which now exists as storage space containing three large walk-in coolers, a freight elevator, to the loading dock, and rear doors. It also created retail space in one of the front classrooms, event space in the second front classroom, and a kitchen area in the rear classroom.

Nearly all of the original windows were rehabilitated and returned.

Many original interior features such as the beadboard walls, wainscoting and ceilings, hardwood floors, and molded window and door trim were also retained in the property.

The Unity Food Hub now functions as a space for gathering, food workshops, community activities and a space for local farmers to meet and distribute their produce. Rehabilitating the previously vacant and deteriorating schoolhouse into a food hub made the building a productive community space where local farmers and the community can interact while maintaining the historic fabric and story of a rural schoolhouse.

Nathan Clifford Residences, Portland

John Calvin Stevens designed the Classical Revival style Nathan Clifford School as part of the beautification movement in the City of Portland in 1907-09. The school served as an anchor of the Oakdale neighborhood in Portland for over one hundred years. It closed its doors to much controversy in 2011 in favor of a new elementary school at another site.

Developers Collaborative purchased the vacant and deteriorating building in 2013. Vandals had ripped screens, tagged the building with graffiti, and broken many of the windows. The building suffered from a leaking room which led to damage of the alcove ceiling in the auditorium. The east exterior needed extensive brick repointing in the blond faced brick. Much of the plaster tested positive for asbestos and therefore had to be either abated or carefully contained.

The original wooden floors needed care and light sanding. Many of the original wood windows had been replaced by the school department with aluminum replacements that were not operating properly and did not match the buildings' architectural style, so 116 wooden windows replaced the aluminum ones, while 18 historic windows remained in the stairways. The auditorium was converted into apartment space and architectural trim, doors, cabinets, chalkboards, and corridors were preserved

Developers Collaborative also protected and preserved murals within the school created by students and a 1930’s visiting artist, as they felt the murals were intrinsic to the history of the building. The original handwashing basin from the girl’s bathroom was refurbished into a fountain within the landscaping.

The total cost of the project was $7 million, and it received federal and state historic tax credits. The Nathan Clifford project preserved the historic integrity of the building, creating new spaces, valuable housing, and a community park for the neighborhood while still maintaining the historic identity of this iconic building. The project has become an example in the City of a successful public-private partnership.

Coles Tower at Bowdoin College, Brunswick

·         The mid-century modern Coles Tower is an iconic symbol of the social change that transformed Bowdoin College and other traditional educational institutions in the 1960s and 1970s. Prominent architect Hugh Stubbins designed the sixteen storied building which was Maine’s tallest building at the time of its construction in 1963-64. Coles Tower represents the goals of its era; to break away from traditional fraternities and move towards community-based learning environments. The 16th floor hosted pioneering seminars, educational experiments, and visiting professors, who encouraged progressive collaboration.

Over time the façade developed cracking mortar joints, spalling limestone window sills, broken lintels, damaged bricks, and general leaking of the inset balconies.

The original casement windows, called “Hope’s windows,” opened so wide from their side hinges that wind had bent many of the steel frames. These windows, located on all 16 stories, presented a life-safety issue.

Bowdoin College saw the 50th anniversary of Coles Tower as an opportunity to provide updated residential space for students while restoring the significant mid-century modern building to its original appearance. Logistical challenges stemming from the exterior geometry required planning to access the hard-to-reach exteriors. This included engineering roof tie-offs for swing staging to access soffits of the inset windows. Boom and scissor lifts were also utilized to complete brick repair, patching limestone windowsills and deteriorated concrete overhead soffits.

The restoration of Coles Tower ensured a safe living space for 200 students, while restoring the building to its mid-century condition and appearance, reestablishing the building as a community icon, symbol of innovation within education, and social hotspot for Bowdoin College students.

Hanscom Hall at Gould Academy, Bethel

Established in 1836, Gould Academy is a small, coed college preparatory school, located in Bethel. It served as a town academy until 1969, and now hosts students from across the state of Maine, around the country, and across the globe. Hanscom Hall, the fifth major addition to Gould Academy, opened in 1934.

The transition of the school from a predominantly day population to a larger boarding population necessarily brought with it changes to Hanscom Hall. Notably, the manual training shop became a student union and the old study-and-assembly hall became a library. Twenty-first century educational practices drove further alterations to the first two levels of Hanscom Hall.

The design committee strove to navigate the critical partnership between tradition, beauty, energy efficiency, and a bold new vision. Recognizing the historical value of the facility, an emphasis was placed on preserving, repurposing, or replicating original building materials. Alumnae expressed building features that were most important to them, and current students and faculty joined the design process.

The library renovation design reflected a modern zoned learning commons. The lower level was transformed to open a large collaborative studio with additional studios for prototyping. The main foyer contains the original flooring, and original blonde brick and stairways were retained.

Historic materials were also reused in unique ways; the slate from removed chalkboards was repurposed and re-engineered to make writable walls in the café space, the granite from old bathroom stalls was cut and buffed to create walls and heater covers, the cement floor was polished to retain the markings of boundaries of past classroom walls.

Gould Academy designed an innovative and collaborative learning environment that is on the leading edge of educational practices, all while retaining enduring building materials and principles which connect the institution’s traditions and mission to modern practices.

Campbell Barn, Augusta

o   The timber framed Campbell Barn, built in 1903, was the last of a series of farm buildings designed for the Augusta Mental Health Institute. At its peak the institution consisted of approximately 566 acres of land. Campbell Barn was designed as a horse barn, housing 200 animals.

Unused since the 1950s, Campbell Barn had fallen into disrepair. The building faced the challenges of structural deficiencies, wild bird habitation, and hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead paint. Without a clear vision for its future, no funding was provided to maintain or restore the building for decades. 

As a result of recent peaked interest in utilizing existing State-owned space, the East Campus of the Augusta Mental Health Institute has become a hub of increased construction and restoration. During this process, it became clear that there was a need for additional cold storage to house field equipment and other supplies for several state agencies. It was this direct need that sparked the realization that a revitalized Campbell Barn could graciously serve the public once again.

To restore the exterior of the building, workers conducted full lead based paint abatement and replaced and painted deteriorated wooden clapboards. They rebuilt and painted old broken windows and removed hazardous materials.

Many of the lateral and horizontal braces were provided with additional supports. Old troughs in the basement were removed and a new concrete pad was installed to provide additional storage space. Much of the interior wood remained in good condition and did not need touching up.

State agencies moved their supplies and equipment into Campbell Barn at the end of August 2015. The Campbell Barn restoration and rehabilitation provided a large amount of usable space to support the revitalization of the East Campus of the AMHI while maintaining the historical significance of the barn itself.

Kora Temple, Lewiston

o   The Kora Temple in Lewiston was built in 1908 for the Kora Shrine, a fraternal and charitable organization founded in 1870 and established in Lewiston in 1891.

Designed by architect and Shrine member George M. Coombs, the building reflects Moorish and Exotic Revival architectural styles. The Kora Temple building was added to the National Historic Register in 1975.

Over time, the terracotta features were showing significant deterioration and damage. Moisture had penetrated the terracotta resulting in rusting of structural steel, causing the material to expand, displacing and damaging the terracotta columns. 

The building’s metal cornice was constructed of galvanized steel, the coating of which had peeled and chipped, leaving many exposed areas.  The decorative elements along the rooftop were also constructed from galvanized steel.  Moisture had penetrated the steel causing openings into the hollow units.  

As many terracotta units as possible were repaired by fastening them together with stainless steel staples. Workers epoxied the staples in place and patched the cracks, coating all terracotta with mineral paint to match the original historic color. The structural steel was resurfaced and coated to resist future rusting.  New replacement columns were designed in a way to accommodate potential “rust jacking” in the future.  

The project team repaired the cornice and decorative metal units along the roof edge, and resurfaced, repaired and recoated all metal. The work was broken into phases to provide the Kora Temple Association Trustees an affordable course of action for restoration.

The result of this project is a restoration that preserves the architectural and cultural history of Kora Temple, a uniquely designed building that has defined downtown Lewiston’s streetscape for over a century. Returned to its original splendor, the restored temple has had a significant and positive impact on the downtown area.

Eastport Post Office, Eastport

Originally built as the Eastport Customs House, the building now known as the Eastport Post Office was constructed in 1891 in the Italianate style. It was one of 26 replacement buildings constructed after the October 14, 1886 fire decimated the town’s commercial district. The post office is a contributing building in the Eastport Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

By 2011, the 120-year old building suffered from water infiltration that had damaged the interior finishes. Damaged slate shingles and a malfunctioning copper gutter system had allowed water to penetrate the building. The masonry had also suffered significant damage. Eastport’s challenging weather conditions had allowed excessive moisture to penetrate the mortar joints in the granite veneer.  The collar joints on the east face of the tower had washed out, leaving a gap between the clay brick and granite stone veneer, and resulting in stones vulnerable to shifting and displacement.   

Restoration construction of the post office was challenging.  Some of the granite stones weighed as much as 3,000 pounds. 80% of the structure’s east side required rebuilding. This work required the removal and numbering of each stone. The work was conducted from the ground up, employing temporary shoring measures and reinforced staging to carry the weight of the stones above. Although the work was extremely demanding, the project was completed on time and within budget.

Today, the Eastport Post Office has been repaired to its original condition. Once again structurally sound, moisture no longer penetrates the building’s envelope.

The post office is a beautiful example of monumental stone construction rarely seen in architecture today.  Restoring the structure to its original character was a worthy undertaking and has preserved one of the great architectural landmarks in Downeast Maine.

Powers Hall at University of Maine, Machias

The University of Maine, Machias (UMM) traces its history to the founding of the Washington State Normal School in 1910, whose two-year curriculum trained elementary school teachers, providing a much-needed service in eastern Maine.

In 1911, the school moved to a new administrative and classroom building located on the site of the present-day Powers Hall. The building was destroyed by fire in 1936. The principal and the faculty met and made plans to continue classes, and the citizens of Machias worked with the state to rebuild. On March 6, 1937, over 500 people attended the formal opening of the new school building.

Nearly eighty years later, however, Powers Hall had suffered the effects of age and moisture infiltration.. Clay brick mortar joints had been improperly repointed resulting  in significant damage due to spalling. Much of the decoration on the entry portico had been damaged by spalling, and the columns showed large cracks, which challenged the structural strength of the masonry units. The ballasted roof was past its serviceable life and required replacement.

The presence of PCBs was detected in caulks and sealants on the exterior of the structure and around its windows and doors. Abatement increased the cost of construction by 60%, but the University of Maine’s Board of Trustees secured additional funding to ensure the building’s safety for students and employees.

Difficult weather conditions this past winter slowed construction to a halt. Record setting snowfall in Machias meant that snow removal added substantial cost to the project.

UMM decided to install date stones to honor the 1936 rebuilding of the Powers Hall and the 2014 repair, honoring the efforts to restore the buildings relevance to the campus and to the Machias community. Slide 6:

Despite limited financial means, the leadership at UMM recognized the historic importance of Powers Hall and worked diligently to ensure that the building remained in use.  The building envelope repair of Powers Hall has resulted in a building that honors the historic significance of the structure to the UMM campus as well as to the Machias community.

Milliken Block, Waterville

Waterville National Bank purchased a wooden building in 1866 on the site of the Milliken Block. The bank hired architect Moses C. Foster to design a bank on this site. In 1877, he built the three-story Italianate brick corner building in downtown Waterville that still stands today. After the bank failed in 1879-1880, the bank became known as the Milliken Block in honor of the prominent local citizen banker, Dennis L. Milliken, who died in 1879.

O.J. Giguere purchased the property in the early 20th century. He installed a name plaque on the Maine Street elevation, a common trend in Waterville as Franco-Americans started purchasing commercial blocks on the south end of Maine Street. Giguere also installed the “G” lead glass windows for Giguere’s Clothing that still exist today. By 1921, the three stores that had existed on the first floor were combined into one space. In the late 20th century, the second floor offices were combined to create apartment units.

Charles Giguere made use of the Federal and State Historic Tax Credits to rehabilitate the upper floors of the Milliken Block into offices and housing. Returning the second floor back into office space required little change to the original plan.

The contractor retained the central corridor, restored all existing doors and trims for reuse, and retained and reused historic architectural details.

Two apartment units were created on the third floor in the existing footprints of the former units.

Builders removed the loft and reconstructed it more subtly, which allowed much of the historic full-height ceilings to remain open.

This project demonstrates how a small-scale project made use of historic tax credits to rehabilitate vacant, derelict spaces by converting them into usable apartment and office spaces for the Main Street community, while also maintaining the building’s historical integrity within the Waterville Historic District.

Hallowell Granite Works, Hallowell

The former Granite Works Office, built ca. 1830, and its neighbor are the surviving remainders of the once extensive Granite Works complex, and are the core of the local and national Hallowell Historic Districts.

Skilled stonecutters brought from Europe created monuments and statuary within the complex’s long production sheds that embellished many renowned 19th century buildings. When Hallowell’s granite industry declined, most of the fabrication sheds were removed. Fortunately, the former office building was left intact.

The building later served as the Brahms Mount’s textile mill and store before it outgrew the building. The building’s plan and interior have seen only minor alterations over time. The building’s exterior, however, suffered from decades of deferred maintenance causing deterioration.

The current owners bought the property in 2013 to relocate their growing business to vibrant downtown Hallowell.  They sought to save a locally well known and prominent historic property from further deterioration, and to make a practical investment.

State and Federal tax credits helped make this project a reality. The worn condition of the building required extensive rehabilitation, from foundation to roof and from infrastructure to finishes.

The rehabilitation repaired worn features and replaced deteriorated features along the primary façade and entry.

The owners now have a high quality office space in the vibrant downtown Hallowell, and preserved desirable walk-to-Main street housing on the upper floors.  A prominent historic property was transformed from an eyesore into an attraction. Thanks to Historic Tax Credits, the project was economically practical and can serve as an example to others how a small project that blends rehabilitation with revitalization can have a community impact while still being economically practical.