Yarmouth’s Willow Street is a short, pleasant, tree-lined thoroughfare that runs between East Main and Route 1. If the wind is blowing your way you might even catch the delicious scent emanating from the Pat’s Pizza nearby. The vacant house at 14 Willow doesn’t smell nearly as good.
According to a longtime resident of the town, this house went from being seasonally occupied to utterly abandoned over the past six-to-eight years. The vegetation engulfing the ramshackle 1884-vintage home backs up that estimate.
After bushwhacking through the dense thicket, it become apparent to me that nobody has taken care of the house since Obama took office. White paint is flaking from the clapboards like dandruff, the driveway is covered in moss and the front porch doesn’t look like it will last many more winters. What the roof lacks in shingles it makes up for in rusty sheet metal. The garage is weatherworn and saggy, and the blue Ford pickup parked in the driveway is going nowhere fast on its flat tires.
The jungle of trees and tall weeds made it difficult to get a peek inside, and a giant spider web blocked the path to the front door. But as I retreated from the arachnid’s trap I noticed a short lamppost with a little sign that read, “The Prescott’s.”
Turns out the place still belongs to a Prescott: Eric Prescott, of Durham. I wasn’t able to find a phone number or e-mail contact for Prescott, but county records indicate he’s held the deed since August of 2012. The previous owner was his grandfather, Norman Prescott, who passed away in 2009. A World War II Army veteran, the elder Prescott worked for the Maine Department of Transportation for 30 years and “really enjoyed good snowstorms that he did not have to plow,” his obit quipped.
The town’s code enforcement office has no file on the property, so it’s unlikely there have been any complaints about its condition. Either that, or the code officers are scared of spiders, too.
— Patrick Banks