Board holds key to 'true Harpswellite's' dream home
HARPSWELL — The town wants to tear it down, but Eric Field sees much more future than a pile of rubble in the small, Cape-style home near the entrance to Mitchell Field.
The home and one other were built by the U.S. Navy when the fuel depot was active. They have been vacant since the 1990s; their siding is full of asbestos, and the town applied for a grant to pay for demolition.
But Field, 32, who drove by the houses nearly every day while he was working to remove old generator buildings on the site, recognized their potential.
So one day he asked the code enforcement officer for a tour.
"It's really a neat house," he said Wednesday. "I can't get over how high the ceilings are."
Field decided to try to convince the town to let him move it to land near his auto repair business on Lookout Point Road. He lives with his father, and, as he said, "it's time for Eric to find a place of his own."
So in early March, he wrote a letter to the Board of Selectmen and made his request.
"Frugal Yankee that I am, I believe it would be a shame to destroy this structure if it is salvageable and could be moved elsewhere," Field told the board. "I believe through my dealings you have found me to be a true Harpswellite, wanting nothing more than to work and live all my life in Harpswell."
Actually, Field admitted, his mother wrote the letter. She's an English teacher in Standish.
"If you had seen my letter, it was a little bit more plain," he said.
Field said he has everything he needs to move the house: a chainsaw to cut it into pieces, two wreckers to transport the parts, and land on which to put it back together. He also has, as noted in the letter, "the sense of adventure needed for the task."
Field believes it would be more fun to move the house than build one himself. And, he thinks its history as an old Navy home is cool.
"I get sentimental," he said. "Maybe that's it."
Field said he still wants to inspect the house more closely before deciding whether to go through with the plan, which selectmen were scheduled to consider Thursday night.
On Wednesday, Town Administrator Kristi Eiane said she wasn't sure what the board would decide. But she likes Field's proposal.
"This is someone who grew up in Harpswell and lived in Harpswell and really wants to save this house," she said. "It seems like kind of a neat idea."