Gorham

Gorham Academy c.1806 | School Street, Gorham

Significance

Gorham Academy is one of the first six academies incorporated in what was then the District of Maine by the General Court of Massachusetts. Designed in 1806 by Samuel Elder in the Federal style it quickly became a symbol of pride in the community, and today it is a focal point on the University of Southern Maine Gorham Campus. The character-defining features of the building are still intact, including the classically detailed portico and pediment, four Doric columns supporting a second floor balcony, and fanlight above the central second-floor door. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

Threat

Although the 213-year-old building houses studios for the Art Department, it is plagued by deferred maintenance. The building is not in a prominent location on campus and is easily overlooked -- as evidenced by an overwhelming addition proposed for the rear in the 2019 University of Southern Maine Campus Master Plan.

Opportunity

The Gorham Academy is a significant building in the town of Gorham. As it is currently on the National Register of Historic Places, tax credits could be used to offset the cost of rehabilitation. We are pleased to learn that USM has initiated a planning process looking at the rehabilitation needs of the building; Landmarks looks forward to working with the Gorham community and the University of Southern Maine to ensure this important community landmark lives long into the future.