2015-11-13 / Community

A Window on the Past

Understanding the National Register of Historic Places
By Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society

Did you know that out of all of the residential homes in South Portland, only one is currently in the National Register of Historic Places? The Seavey-Robinson house is truly a gem, but there are many other homes in South Portland that might also benefit from this type of recognition. We have many neighborhoods with old and beautiful houses.

As we saw during our architectural survey of the Willard neighborhood, some houses lose some of their historic nature when certain architectural features are altered. There is an art to renovating a house and maintaining the original style or form. A Craftsman bungalow, for example, is known for a certain type of baluster and window type – there is a style of millwork and architectural detail that are commonly used – it has a boxy-type look. Putting in a large picture window on the front, or using round stock balusters for the porch, would spoil the look of a Craftsman home and could even reduce the resale value of the house.

In our next step toward our community’s better understanding of historic architecture, South Portland Historical Society has invited Christi Mitchell from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to come and join us at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19 at South Portland City Hall. Mitchell will discuss the procedures for having a house put on the National Register, what it means to be on the Register, and the benefits to the homeowner and community.

You are welcome to come and listen in to learn more information; you are also welcome to provide a photograph of your home to us in advance so that Ms. Mitchell can consider your house’s potential as a Register nominee. If you would like to talk about your house, please call us at the society at 767-7299.

This free public program will take place in the council chambers in city hall. South Portland City Hall is located at 25 Cottage Road; the parking lot is located behind the building and participants should use the rear entrance.

Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo is director of South Portland Historical Society.

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