One of a set of three, this house is an enduring, if tired, symbol of Mechanic Falls’ prosperous industrial past.
Photographs by Gabe Souza
In June of 1900, the Penney brothers of Mechanic Falls — Samuel, Almont, and Charles — made headlines for their new homes, designed by prominent Lewiston architect William R. Miller (his portfolio includes the Auburn, Fairfield, Farmington, and Waterville libraries, among other public buildings). The houses were newsworthy because they are almost identical in size and style. Their neoclassical porticos, Corinthian columns, and lavish decorative details showcased the wealth of the siblings, who were partners in J. W. Penney & Sons, one of the state’s leading machine shops. Today, only two of the homes remain (the third succumbed to fire): one that has been impeccably preserved, and the house pictured here, which has lost elements such as its portico and exterior columns. It was moved from its original Spring Street location to 106 Pleasant Street decades ago.
WHY RESCUE IT?
The Colonial Revival home is a remnant of Mechanic Falls’ industrial past and a link to one of its most prominent families. Its twin can serve as a reference for restoring missing exterior elements. Other original details survive, including windows with lead tracery and decorative entablatures, interior Corinthian columns and pilasters, and a prominent main staircase. Owners wishing to use the building as a residence will enjoy its proximity to western Maine’s recreational attractions and the easy drive to Portland and southern Maine. Downtown zoning offers a variety of other use options, and the property can accommodate multiple parking spaces.
WHAT YOU’RE IN FOR
The house has great bones, and was built to last, but needs many upgrades — chief among them a new heating system, roof, and concrete basement floor. The original hardwood floors require refinishing, and the plaster walls need patching. Foodies will see lots of potential in the large kitchen. Some repairs and a fresh coat of paint will go a long way toward brightening the clapboard exterior, and a rebuilt neoclassical entrance will restore the house’s historic grandeur.
Location: Mechanic Falls
Asking Price: $57,000
Agent: Blake Fecteau, Century 21 Advantage, [email protected]