It’s as if this dump on Brackett Street in Portland’s West End watched in horror as the dump next door was demolished and decided to scurry behind the building to its left to escape the same fate. But dumps are dumb. The destruction of the old house at the corner of Brackett and Pine (the first property profiled in this feature, back in 2007), only made this ancient Cape more visible. And its days are numbered, too.
The house didn’t move itself, of course, but somebody put it there. As City Councilor Dave Marshall, who can see this dump from his front porch, observed, the foundation is too tall for the structure sitting atop it. Its original location is a mystery, but it’s over 160 years old.
The dump’s age prompted Portland’s Historic Preservation Board to assert its authority over the structure’s future, but the board ultimately agreed to allow it to be demolished to make way for an apartment complex planned for this corner.
Jonathan Culley of Redfern Properties, which is developing the project, said the process of dealing with the board was a “long discussion” that “wasn’t without challenges,” but “in the end, they were fair.”
The old house needs to be put out of its misery. Its gray wood shingles look like they’ve been through 160 Maine winters. A sheet of plywood bars the door and another plank has been nailed across the bottom of a window. It’s even worse around back, where a window’s been broken and ripped construction fabric partially covers particle-board walls. There’s trash strewn all over the sad backyard.
The project that will replace this dump and the empty lots to its right is called West End Place. The four-story development will have 39 luxury apartments with parking on the ground floor and some retail. It’s expected to be ready for occupancy in the summer of 2014.
— Chris Busby