The Clough & Pillsbury building at 109 Congress St. in Rumford is on Maine Preservation’s list of Most Endangered Historic Places. It is owned by the town. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

RUMFORD — A downtown building owned by the town for almost a decade has made Maine Preservation’s list of Most Endangered Historic Places.

In 1916, William Clough, in partnership with Walter Pillsbury, opened a hardware store in the Clough & Pillsbury building on The Island business district. The vacant three-story brick building at 109 Congress St. is now included in the National Register of Historic Places, along with others downtown.

Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs said the Board of Selectmen voted a few weeks ago to put the Clough & Pillsbury building on the market, along with other tax-acquired properties.

She said a local Realtor looked at the property but the assessment came in “well below what I had hoped for on that property. I would hate someone to come in and basically steal this and tear it down.”

As a result, she said, the building is no longer listed with that Realtor at this time.

“I said, ‘Give me a few months. Let’s see what kind of interest sparks” from the list of Endangered Historic Places,'” Briggs said.

She will suggest to selectmen “that we put a stipulation on a quitclaim deed or a covenant on the deed that says that, at a minimum, that the facade needs to be preserved.”

Briggs said she is hopeful that the $5.9 million downtown improvements underway — new water and sewer lines, sidewalks and lights — someone will “come in and rescue that building, and bring it back to some semblance of its old glory.”

The wood-frame building has a leaded prismatic glass transom on the storefront and the words  Clough & Pillsbury inset in colored glass. The upper floors retain several historic hardware displays and inventory, including cutlery, stoves, tinware, paints, fishing tackle and sporting goods.

Briggs said having the building on the endangered list “might raise awareness to preservation dollars that are available, as well as helping to find someone interested in preserving the building.”

Primary benefits of a commercial historic district include a 20 percent federal income tax credit for contributing properties rehabilitated for income-producing purposes, such as commercial, industrial or rental residential uses.

Maine offers a 25 percent state credit for any rehabilitation that also qualifies for the 20 percent federal credit.

“We’re also an opportunity zone, so anybody who wants to invest in that may want to shelter some capital gains, and would be able to do that as well,” Briggs said.

Maine Preservation is the statewide nonprofit membership organization that promotes and preserves historic places, buildings, downtowns and neighborhoods, strengthening the cultural and economic vitality of Maine communities.

The Most Endangered Historic Places List began in 1996 to identify and raise awareness of preserving endangered and threatened historic properties and materials. Since then, 158 places have been included on the list, of which 55 have been saved and 44 are in motion. Only 18 have been lost.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: