Customs House Receives Two Awards

Customs House Receives Two Awards

The Bath Customs House Renovation was acknowledged by receiving both the 2013 Maine Preservation Honor Awards for Restoration and Preservation Crafts and the Maine Downtown Center 2013 Green Downtowns Project of the Year Achievement Award. The project demonstrates how thoughtfully rehabilitated buildings can maintain their 19th century character while meeting 21st century expectations for function, user comfort and reduced carbon footprint–with community support.

The Bath Customs House and Post Office was built in 1858, is located in the heart of downtown. This classic Italianate building of gray granite symbolized the pride and prosperity of Bath’s heritage as one of the most important ports along the eastern seaboard. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, it was designed in 1852 by Ammi Burnham Young, the first Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury.

The building was maintained, however time and exposure had taken their toll, especially on the monumentally-scaled windows. They remained intact but were functionally compromised by wear. Office tenants felt the conditions were poor enough to consider vacating the building. The project restored 38 huge double-hung windows involved removing each sash, stripping the old paint, re-glazing, painting, and finally re-installing them. In addition, all doors were restored with new weather stripping.

Resources for this project were limited and expectations by stakeholders were high. Objectives included returning all windows to fully intact condition, easing use, reducing air and water infiltration and energy loss, and creating a demonstration project. A workshop was conducted early on to formulate a practical and community-supported strategy to the window restoration process. The preservation-based methodology produced excellent results. Tenants were pleased and are no longer inclined to move.

The City of Bath was thrilled to ‘walk the talk’ through improving its own properties and thereby leading by example. Lachman Architects & Planners was the Architect, Andrew Deci, City Planner was the Project Manager, and Jacobs Glass was the contractor