January 21, 2020

Ellsworth receives preservation honor

ELLSWORTH – Three years ago, renovations were begun at City Hall and the city made sure those renovations preserved historic exterior features of the building.

Last week, the city was recognized for its efforts by a historic preservation organization.

City Manager Tim King received a letter last week informing him the city had won Maine Preservation’s Statewide Historic Preservation Honor Award.

“It’s a great award,” Roxanne Eflin, executive director of the Portland-based, private, nonprofit organization, said Wednesday. “When you look around the state, other communities are not investing in their historic properties.”

The specific features of Ellsworth City Hall cited by the organization include the copper roof, copper-covered cupola and the wooden state seal mounted above the building’s south entrance.

Eflin said preservation of the state seal is particularly worthy of recognition.

“It’s really unique,” she said. “I’m not sure there’s another one quite like it in Maine.”

The seal, carved in the 1930s when the City Hall building was constructed, includes 4-foot-high figures of a sailor and a farmer. The figures and surrounding seal, most of which is covered in gold leaf, was restored by Dorr Wood Carving and Sign of Rockport for $31,200.

King said Wednesday that besides the elements mentioned by Eflin, the city also took care to keep the high, arched windows on the rear of the building. The overall project, which lasted most of 1999 and 2000, cost the city $2.5 million, the city manager said.

“It’s always very nice when you’ve made a considerable effort and you have those efforts appreciated from a professional point of view,” King said.

Patricia Ryder, King’s administrative assistant, said the building is well used, hosting as many as 45 meetings a month for governmental bodies and nonprofit organizations.

Ellsworth will receive a framed certificate noting the honor at a May 16 ceremony at the State House in Augusta, Eflin said.

Also honored at the ceremony will be Gov. Angus King, who will receive the organization’s Preservation Champion award, and the 120th Legislature, which will be honored for its support of the restoration of the State House, Eflin said.

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