Landmarks advocates list Portland, South Portland 'Places in Peril'

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PORTLAND — From an island in Portland Harbor to a stop on the Underground Railroad, seven historic area sites “are in danger of being irreparably altered or destroyed,” preservation advocacy group Greater Portland Landmarks said Sept. 20.

“These properties help define greater Portland. In every case, the properties we’ve identified are prominently visible or have such historic significance that we must advocate for their protection and preservation,” GPL Executive Director Hilary Bassett said.

The group named the following properties to its first “Places in Peril” list:

• The Portland Company Complex, 58 Fore St., Portland. The complex is the only “relatively intact” 19th-century industrial site on Portland’s waterfront, according to GPL. Currently owned by Portland Yacht Services, the seven-building site is for sale.

• House Island, Portland Harbor. This 24-acre island, two miles off the Portland coast, is home to a military fort built in 1808 and an immigrant quarantine station used in the early 1900s. The island is for sale.

• Portland Masonic Temple, 415 Congress St., Portland. More than 100 years old, the Beaux-Arts-style temple is believed to be Maine’s last original, intact grand lodge building. But it has been poorly maintained and is now deteriorating, GPL said.

• Grand Trunk Office Building, 1 India St., Portland. This three-story brick building is the only surviving site in Portland from the extensive Grand Trunk Railway. The building is vacant, and a private attempt to purchase and redevelop it has been delayed.

• Abyssinian Meeting House, 73 Newbury St., Portland. Built in 1828, the structure is the nation’s third-oldest house of worship founded for African Americans, and the only site in Maine recognized as part of the Underground Railroad. Lack of funding has slowed renovation of the building.

• Eastern Cemetery, Congress Street, Portland. Opened in 1668, the Munjoy Hill cemetery is Portland’s oldest public burial ground, but has long suffered from neglect and vandalism.

• In South Portland, the Maine National Guard Armory, Broadway and Armory streets. The Art-Deco-style landmark, built in 1941, is deteriorating and legally unprotected, GPL said.

William Hall can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow him on Twitter: @hallwilliam4.

Sidebar Elements

Restoration work at the historic Abyssinian Meeting House on Newbury Street in Portland began several years ago.

The former Maine National Guard Armory on Broadway in South Portland.