Recently, we did a Demolition Alert on 1 Northern Avenue in Farmingdale, Maine. A few days ago we happened to be in the area and drove by the once beautiful, historic sea-captain’s home only to be greeted with horror.
The original site was gently sloped, but since a Kennebec Savings Bank is going on the site the area had been completely flattened–gotta accommodate the suburban-style drive-thru after all. Because of this massive excavation, the back hill has now become a cliff and they’ve installed retaining walls using those faux concrete granite blocks–anyone despise those as much as we do?
We wonder how much of this excavation falls under the bank’s original quote of being as “historically accurate, environmentally responsible, and an efficient version of the current building.” Sure, which goes right along with their excuse that the original building was “too far gone.” Business folks complain when historic preservationists block their plans, but then take no responsibility when they obviously lie to the community.
Don’t get us wrong, we are all for economic development, especially in mid-Maine which is not doing particularly well economically. But why in the world did this bank feel that ripping out the historic fabric of this wonderful drive along the Kennebec River was anything more than crass commercialism? There are plenty of underutilized plots of land in Gardiner/Farmingdale that would not have created such a dramatic shift in this historic area.
There was a posted picture of the new bank building which did seem to incorporate design elements of the old home. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a picture because all we had was our iphone which would have required us to stand in the middle of the busy highway to get a shot. Nonetheless, it will ultimately be a poor reproduction that will be lucky to have a lifespan that is a fraction of that of the former home.
We could go on about the horrors of the site, but a picture is worth a thousand words . . . continue at your own risk (and have a tissue handy).