2018-03-02 / Community News

Historic descriptions on the way

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Several years ago the ad hoc historic preservation committee established a list of 48 historically significant properties in town that played a role in Scarborough’s history in some way.

The list of properties were accepted by the town council and added to the town’s zoning ordinance.

Now the committee is working on creating narratives as to what makes each of those properties historically significant.

According to the zoning ordinance, when determining if a property was historically significant, the town looked at “the age of the structure(s) on the property; the historical significance of the design and architectural features of the structure(s) on the property; the historical significance of the people associated with the property and the historical significance of events associated with the property.”

Town councilor Will Rowan, who serves as the council’s liaison to the historic preservation committee, said while the properties are noted in the zoning ordinance, all that is listed is the address of each property, the assessors map/lot number and the historic, or in some cases, current name of the property.

What is missing, he said, is what makes the property historically significant.

Rowan said the committee noticed the need for the work in 2016 when 79 County Road, the site of the Ralph Temm homestead, was sold and the new owners of the property were unaware the rundown house on the site had been deemed historically significant.

The property was deemed historic by the town council because it housed a number of notable buildings, including a house that was built in the 1930s to mimic a 1700s house that had been on the property but burned.

The narratives, once completed, will be given to the planning department so a property owner isn’t in the dark like that again.

“It’s about getting that information to (Planning Director) Jay (Chace) and the planning department so they know, when someone come to the planning board with a plan, they will have some idea about why that property is historic,” Rowan said.

Rowan added the additional look into the properties has helped to clear up instances when the lot number or address of the historic structure/property was not quite accurate.

Holbrook said the Scarborough Historical Society and the historic preservation implementation committee will also have copies of the completed project.

“The historical society has been great. They have old newspaper clippings that talk about different people. I have only been there once, but need to go back. They have been a great resource and very welcoming,” Holbrook said.

Holbrook said the project, started last spring, is still in its research phase and she is still collecting “old photos, newspaper clippings (and) previously written materials.” She said she will also reach out to current property owners to see if they would like to add something to the narratives she creates.

The goal, Holbrook said, is to document the history of important Scarborough sites and properties of important historical figures before that history is lost.

“Its easy to sit here today and talk to people who remember or descendants, but as time goes by and it is 100 years from now, it would be good to have a history of why (these properties are important),” Holbrook said.

Holbrook would like to have the project completed by the end of the year, but that, she said, “might be lofty.”

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

Return to top