LINCOLN, Maine — The Lincoln Historical Society has until at least the spring to develop a plan to turn the Corro House on West Broadway into a museum, Town Council Chairman Steve Clay said Tuesday.
The society’s late-innings appeal to the council Monday night saved the building from being razed by Nov. 6. In a plan reminiscent of the Millinocket Historical Society’s plan to turn the former Mott Apartment Building on Central Street into a home for its thousands of artifacts, the Lincoln society is eyeing the Corro building, and for many of the same reasons.
“I am certainly relieved that we would have the opportunity to at least try to make a museum of the house,” society President Jeannette King said Tuesday. “It would be an ideal location and the house itself is very historic, having been built in the 1830s.”
Like Millinocket’s society, the Lincoln group’s historical space, a museum at 75 West Broadway, is far too small to effectively house its thousands of artifacts, King said.
The house is also ideally situated. It’s across the street from a historic and preserved schoolhouse and adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial Library and a regional vocational-technical school, said Patrick Ferris, the society’s vice president.
But the council voted 5-1 last week to raze the Corro building to make way for an eventual, though as yet unplanned, library expansion.
Using a private endowment fund, the town bought the 1.5-story Cape and its half-acre lot for $85,000 in March 2006 to add the house and land to the adjoining library. Through a local management agency, the town rented the property for more than a year but found the arrangement unsatisfactory.
The house needs too much work to be an effective rental, town officials have said.
But the society’s interest caused the council to reconsider. Councilors voted 7-0 Monday to rescind their earlier vote.
One big difference between the plans of Millinocket’s historical society and Lincoln’s: Millinocket has an architectural and fundraising plan for its building and has raised at least $35,000 of the $100,000 it needs to buy the Mott building from the town of Millinocket.
With a book, annual calendar and recipe book for sale or in the works, the Millinocket society’s fundraising efforts are continuous. Ferris believes the Corro building has a historic value and the society’s as yet undeveloped plans could be melded with an eventual library expansion
“It’s one of the oldest buildings still left standing over the last 20 to 30 years,” Ferris said. “This one is in good shape, and we would like to save it.”