Certainly one of Portland’s traditionally vital buildings has been hiding in plain view.
Fronted by a busy stretch of Interstate 295 and partially obscured by the shifting vans parked round it, the U-Haul Shifting and Storage constructing at 411 Marginal Method in East Bayside has made Greater Portland Landmarks’ listing of 2017 Locations in Peril.
The listing highlights seven traditionally vital properties in Portland, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth that the group says are in peril of being irreparably altered or destroyed.
“These properties assist outline Greater Portland,” mentioned Hilary Bassett, Greater Portland Landmarks’ government director. “In each case, the properties we’ve recognized are prominently seen or have such historic significance that we should advocate for their safety and preservation.”
The U-Haul constructing, recognized for its distinctive roof, opened in 1963 as the house of the Portland Motor Gross sales automobile dealership.
“The extremely-trendy constructing was a showpiece for Maine’s then-largest Ford vendor when it opened,” Greater Portland Landmarks mentioned in its description of the constructing. “Now greater than 50 years later, it's one in every of Portland’s most properly-recognized midcentury trendy buildings with its iconic folded roof as a personality defining function of its fashion.”
Bassett mentioned the U-Haul constructing caught Greater Portland Landmarks’ consideration due to a rising curiosity within the metropolis’s midcentury buildings and structure.
“They're part of Portland that was not within the mainstream of historic buildings,” Bassett mentioned. “They've gone unrecognized, however these buildings have been an indication of their time.”
The constructing is situated in East Bayside, a former industrial neighborhood that's quickly evolving as a vacation spot for craft brewers, distillers and different entrepreneurs in Portland’s meals scene. Greater Portland Landmarks mentioned the property is susceptible to redevelopment in an space of speedy regrowth, as a result of this fashion is often undervalued and there are not any preservation protections for this constructing or neighborhood.
Herb Adams, a properly-recognized Portland historian, represented the East Bayside neighborhood when he served within the Legislature and admitted being shocked to be taught that the U-Haul constructing had been positioned on the endangered buildings listing.
“I assume if you happen to think about the age of that constructing and the symbolism, then a case might be made for what isn’t all that apparent to the common particular person,” he mentioned. “I've to say that buildings just like the U-Haul constructing are temples to American’s love affair with having an excessive amount of stuff. … I'm responsible of that myself.”
The opposite six properties that made the preservation group’s listing and why it says they deserve safety:
• Hay & Peabody Constructing’s Seth Thomas clock (1925), 749 Congress St., Portland. It’s a uncommon, 4-dial avenue clock that has a mixture mechanical and electrical clockwork. It's the solely pole-mounted avenue clock within the metropolis constructed by the famend Seth Thomas Co. The clock is in critical disrepair due to the specialised expertise and excessive prices related to restoring it.
• Mahoney Center College (1923-1924), 240 Ocean St., South Portland.
Eligible for the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations, the varsity is on a 15-acre nook lot at a significant intersection of Route 77. Designed by a famous Maine architectural agency, Miller & Mayo, it's a showcase of the Beaux Arts fashion as soon as most well-liked for essential civic buildings. The state has agreed to renovate or replace the building, placing its future in danger as a result of no preservation protections are in place to forestall its demolition or guarantee traditionally delicate renovations.
• Peaks Island Amusement District (1880-1930), Island Avenue, Peaks Island, Casco Bay. A part of Portland, Peaks Island within the late 19th century was well-known for is summer time leisure, together with the Greenwood Gardens amusement park alongside the shore, incomes it the nickname “Coney Island of Maine.” A lot of the district hasn’t been documented and holds no preservation protections, inserting it underneath risk as demand for waterfront property grows.
• Deering Heart Group Church (1907), four Brentwood St., Portland. Eligible for the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations, it’s an architecturally vital landmark on Stevens Avenue that was designed by famous Bangor architect Victor Hodgins. Improper mortar use has precipitated in depth structural issues, together with bell tower damage that will cost as much as $1.5 million to restore.
• 19th-century African-American Historical Sources on Portland’s downtown peninsula. A number of properties on Newbury and Lafayette streets, within the East Finish, and the St. John-Valley streets neighborhood alongside Interstate 295, inform the story of the small however thriving African-American group that contributed to Portland’s strong historical past within the 1800s. With the exception of the Abyssinian Meeting House on Newbury Street, a chosen landmark, most haven't been researched, aren’t inside a historic district and haven't any protections. Land values are so excessive that these neighborhoods are experiencing intense redevelopment, together with teardowns for new building.
• Bowery Seashore College (1855, altered 1985), 11 Wheeler Street, Cape Elizabeth. Attribute of 1-room schoolhouses that after dotted the area, this uncommon construction stands the place it was constructed and comprises most of its authentic options. The property is in danger as a result of rot and rodents have broken the framing and the proprietor can't afford to make wanted repairs.
The preservation group listed the landmarks to construct group consciousness of their significance and advocate for their safety to allow them to proceed to play an important position within the area’s architectural panorama. The group hopes to work with house owners to guard the properties, offering recommendation, convening consultants and figuring out preservation sources.
“We’ve seen during the last 20 years how essential historic preservation has been to the financial development of Portland and retention of property values,” mentioned Ed Gardner, proprietor of Ocean Gate Realty and a Landmarks trustee. “Saving these properties can solely improve the vitality of Greater Portland.”