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.