Maine Preservation 2015 Honor Award
Hallowell Granite Works Office Rehabilitation is an inspiring example for others across Maine how a small project that blends rehabilitation and revitalization can have a large community impact – and be economically practical.
When Hallowell’s granite industry declined most of the fabrication sheds were removed, fortunately leaving the former office building intact. The current owners purchased the property in 2013. The building’s plan organization and interior are reflective of its past use as an office with minor alterations over time to accommodate a variety of office uses and periods. At the interior, preeminent rooms on the 1st floor have high levels of finishes. The building’s exterior however, suffered from decades of deferred maintenance causing deterioration, and a prominent community eyesore.
The building’s worn condition required extensive rehabilitation, from foundation to roof and from infrastructure to finishes. Items of special interest were:
- Primary Façade & Entry The primary façade fronts the riverfront downtown, and is signified by an elegant entry porch–the most notable feature of the building. The rehabilitation repaired features that were worn but not deteriorated, while deteriorated features were replaced with new matching materials.
- Siding & Trim The entire wood framed building is sided with wood clapboards. Prior to rehabilitation, clapboards were a hodgepodge mix of likely original material and modern materials–all in very poor condition and unsalvageable. The rehabilitation replaced all with new wood clapboards and trim to match existing in profile, exposure and surface texture.
- Windows Prior to rehabilitation, window frames, sills and sash were a mix of original (but very deteriorated and unsalvageable) and early 20th century replacements (in poor condition) that replaced previously removed originals. The rehabilitation installed new all-wood replacement windows at primary street-facing facades, and aluminum clad windows at secondary facades–with no change to opening sizes and locations. New wood windows were recessed to match the plane of original windows, and trim exactly matched originals. At the interior, trim was milled from custom knives to replicate originals.
The net result is that all of the owners’ intentions were accomplished. The owners proudly have a high quality office space in vibrant downtown Hallowell. A locally significant and prominent historic property in the heart of the local and national Hallowell Historic District was preserved by reversing long time deterioration–turning an eyesore in to an attraction. The rehabilitation created many short term construction jobs. In addition, permanent quality employment was created and walk-to-Main Street housing was preserved in downtown. Thanks to Rehabilitation Tax Credits, the project was economically practical.