Deering Farmhouse c.1807 | 23 Brighton Avenue, Portland

Significance

This house, built in 1807, is the last remaining structure of the more than 200-acre James Deering Estate (1803) and is believed to be the last Federal period farmhouse within the City of Portland. James Deering, known as the, “merchant prince of Portland,” was one of the original founders of the Atlantic & St. Lawrence Railroad. Six acres of his estate were purchased by Portland Junior College in 1947; unfortunately, the Deering mansion and barn were demolished. Upon the college’s merger with University of Southern Maine, the house became the Alumni Office.

Threat

While the building is in good condition, it was last extensively renovated in the 1970s and is currently vacant. The University's 2019 campus master plan proposes to use the site as the location for a new graduate school and would require relocation or demolition of the farmhouse. The building was recently determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, but has no current local protection from demolition or alterations.

Opportunity

The key location of the farmhouse on the campus represents an opportunity for continued use for education or administration purposes. Now that the building has been determined eligible for the National Register, historic rehabilitation tax credits can be used for upgrades. Landmarks looks forward to working with the University of Southern Maine to explore practical options for rehabilitation and reuse.