When a piece of property on Mill Road in Cumberland was excavated for sand and gravel in 1969, providing some of the material for the building of Back Bay in Portland, the digging exposed some unusual rock ledge.

Elvin Copp, owner of Copp Equipment in Gray, hoped that some day he could buy the property. Copp’s dream came through 15 years ago when he bought the 28-acre piece of property from his best friend and started building his dream home atop the rock.

“I went at it slowly,” said Copp. He started buying building materials, always looking for bargains. Copp ultimately bought most of the lumber from an insurance company when a tractor-trailer hauling the materials was involved in an accident. Later he was able to buy a truckload of fancy molding at a bargain price.

The entryway’s oak-and-stained-glass double doors and a large number of windows were found at Marden’s. A number of steel posts from gas station signage that he had stored for more than 40 years served as support structures in the house and deck.

“It took us six years to build the house, starting in 2003,” said Copp, “and we finally moved in three years ago. My cousin Rick Copp, a lobsterman with an engineering degree, built the house. I showed him a picture I tore out of a magazine and off he went. When you look at the house now it’s pretty hard to believe that it was built by one man, with the exception of our fireplace. For that I got one of the best stone masons in the business, Larry Napolitano from Naples. We didn’t cut any corners there, I wanted the best.”

Copp figures the house, perched dramatically on ledge and easily seen from Route 100/26 in Cumberland, is worth about $800,000. He believes he saved about 50 percent of the building and materials costs by going slowly and looking for bargains.

The interior design and decorations were left to Nancy Thoits, Copp’s fiance. Thoits selected the color schemes for the interior of the home and added her touch to landscaping and flower selections. “I left all the decorating to Nancy. If it was left up to me I would probably have moose heads hanging from the walls,” said Copp.

“We love our home. “It’s my castle on the rock,” said Thoits.

In the planning stages, below the castle on the rock: a pond, a mock mine shaft and a small-scale railroad.


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