OTISFIELD — The transfer of ownership of the 1905 Town House on Bell Hill from the town to the Otisfield Historical Society has been delayed to ensure proper wording in the quit-claim deed, society member Henry Hamilton said.

“From my perspective it’s a very simply matter,” Hamilton said, explaining the need to take measurements and drive stakes into the property boundary lines to satisfy an adjacent property owner. There was never a formal deed or other paperwork registered on the property, he said.

In June, voters agreed to release the old Town House to the society in return for a promise that the group maintain the building on Bell Hill Road near the Route 121 intersection. Then building still has original oak woodwork, chairs and voting booths.

The property is bounded on three sides by stone walls, and selectmen say they do not want to drive a stake in the middle of the stones. They also won’t accept placing a stake on the town’s side of the wall.

“I agreed to sign a piece of paper to say where the boundaries are to make a smoother transition,” selectmen’s Chairman Hal Ferguson said. The property boundary will simply be the center of the stone walls, he said. “This will get us over this hurdle so (the boundaries) won’t be contested somewhere down the line.”

Unlike a warranty deed, which has a “history,” a quit-claim deed is done when there is no original deed, Hamilton explained. He said he has no concerns about some unknown former owner showing up to claim the land. “We can show the town has had a building (on the land) since 1845,” he said.

Although lack of money prohibits any major renovation at this time, Hamilton said the society’s first step is to put a foundation under the building, which he said is considered “solid.” The cost of a foundation is estimated at between $35,000 and $40,000.

“We’ve started a campaign to raise that money,” Hamilton said.

Several individuals have volunteered to make sizable contributions if they are matched, Hamilton said. With that money, he said, the society can then go after more sizable grants, both private and state grants, which often require matching status.

Hamilton said he expects the deed to be conveyed at the next selectmen’s meeting on Oct. 21.

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The porch on 1905 Town House on Bell Hill in Otisfield will be stabalized with a new foundation under the entire building.

The interior of the Town House on Bell Hill in Otisfield has the original voting booth and other amenities. A new foundation is being put under the entire building.

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