TEXT BY JULIE SENK
PHOTOGRAPHED BY DAVE DOSTIE
Bingham’s welcome sign proudly declares its location halfway between the North Pole and the equator. But the town’s real claim to fame lies in its 22,400 acres of forest stretching along the Kennebec River. Early European settlers capitalized on this bountiful resource by pursuing lumbering between farming seasons. By the 1900s, Bingham’s economy was heavily influenced by wood-related industries, and many of its most charming buildings, including this 1906 vernacular house with Italianate touches (note the bay window and squared porch supports), were erected during this period.
The town’s lumbering legacy is evident in the home’s abundant original wooden features, including an elegantly carved staircase, built-ins with period hardware, beadboard wainscoting, and paneled doors. Ornate tin ceilings crown the living room, dining room, and office, and the laundry room is fitted out with an array of quirky-but-clever built-in cupboards (and a handy fold-down wooden ironing board). A rear apartment and two-story garage offer expansion and income-generating potential. And outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the home’s proximity to the Kennebec River, Wyman Lake, and numerous hiking and snowmobiling trails.
The house has good bones, with its standing-seam metal roof, brick foundation, and plumbing all in sound condition. Owners who aren’t fans of the painted lady look will want to refinish the exterior. The heating units need a close inspection and the electrical system — including some knob-and-tube wiring — requires refurbishing. The kitchen and baths are ready for updated appliances, and the plaster walls and wood floors should be refinished. The apartment has received general upgrades over the years, and needs only aesthetic improvements.