Historic hotel goes on the auction block


RUMFORD — One of the town’s most historic properties is about to go on the auction block.

Originally, the auction of the Hotel Harris had been scheduled for Monday, May 17. However, a spokeswoman for the Portland auctioneering company said the auction has been rescheduled for 1:30 p.m., Monday, May 24. She declined to give a reason for the postponement.

Whoever becomes the new owner of the 1906 Beaux Arts-style, four-story structure will be the fifth in less than 15 years.

The hotel, located at the corner of Congress and Hartford streets, is home to a restaurant and a spa on the ground floor, and contains about 36 apartments, of which about 20 are occupied.

Bill Simpson of Portland is the current owner of the building under the title of Hotel Harris LLC. He bought the building from Rumford residents Jean and Artie Muse in November 2007.

The building, originally known as the Strathglass Building, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built by Oxford Paper Co. founder Hugh Chisholm.

Simpson has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to documents provided by Tranzon Auction Properties, the hotel owes $7,165 in back property taxes, $53 in personal property taxes, $757 for water and $5,137 for sewer services.

All bids must be accompanied by a $10,000 check.

The auction house spokeswoman said several people attended the preview showings held on April 29 and May 10.

Next Monday’s auctioneer will be Tom Saturley, who also auctioned the former Puiia Hardware and Home Center several years ago.

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