Rumford duplex donated to Maine Preservation

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The Rumford Board of Selectmen has donated this duplex house at 25-27 Erchles St. to Maine Preservation of Yarmouth. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

RUMFORD — A duplex house in the historic Strathglass Park neighborhood  has been donated to Maine Preservation of Yarmouth, which wants to restore it and sell it.

The nonprofit organization based in Yarmouth requested to have the vacant, two-story brick house at 25-27 Erchles St. The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved it at its Aug. 16 meeting.

Maine Preservation’s mission is to promote and preserve historic places, buildings, downtowns and neighborhoods, strengthening the cultural and economic vitality of Maine communities, according to its website.

The two-family house is one of 49 remaining homes built in 1901 and 1902. The park encompasses one of the nation’s finest early 20th century mill worker housing complexes.

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Strathglass Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The town took possession of the house about two years ago after the owners failed to pay property taxes and abandoned it, Selectman Mark Belanger said Tuesday evening in a phone call. 

Belanger said this is the first time Maine Preservation has committed to preserving a historic property in Rumford.

Greg Paxton, executive director of Maine Preservation, was joined by Maine Preservation members Chris Closs, field service adviser, and Sarah Hansen, real estate manager, at the Aug. 16 meeting. They said they would like to help restore the park and provide housing.  

“We’d like to have three years to complete the fundraising it’s going to take to do this project, over each side of the duplex,” Paxton said. “At the end of five years, we would like to put the property up for sale.”

Chairman Chris Brennick said, “I’m happy to see them come here. This is going to be a huge asset to Strathglass Park.”

Belanger made a motion to turn the building over, with a covenant that the project be completed in three years.

The motion was seconded, followed by unanimous approval.

According to the Assessor’s Office, the property was valued at $45,420 in 1999.

Years ago, the Strathglass Park Association received a grant and restored the rock wall and entrance to the park.

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