The Story: Municipal Tax Valuation Lists are an underutilized, imperiled, and irreplaceable records of buildings in many communities. Inventorying houses, barns, and industrial and commercial buildings, these records indicate not only who was taxed and how much, but serve as vital records for buildings, recording owners, building dates and changesto structures. Some towns have retained these records since their founding, but many others are unaware of the potential of these massive volumes.
The Threat: Many municipalities no longer have these records on file, and many others may not be aware that they do. These volumes, often the first to go into storage or be discarded because of their size, are an increasingly rare window into the history of property ownership and the overall development of Maine’s communities.
The Solution: An effort to survey towns and determine the status of these records, to inventory them, and preserve them as a valuable resource will pay long-term rich dividends. While these records have been traditionally held by each municipality, a statewide list or database of Municipal Tax Valuations Lists could also be compiled. State law requires notification of the State Archives prior to the removal or records.