Curtis & Son Gum Factory  

291 Fore Street, Portland   |  Nominated to Places in Peril in 2015

The Issue

It was here that owner John Bacon Curtis created his spruce chewing gum for the masses, and he is credited with commercializing gum for American mass market sale. It played a key role in Portland’s women’s history because most of the workers in the factory were young women. This significant cultural and architectural building lacks historic preservation protections at a time when there is increasing development pressure in areas on and near the waterfront.

The commercial property features Italianate elements and is designed in a modified "flat-iron" style. Damage to and deterioration of windows, masonry, and exterior elements is exposing the building to Portland’s harsh coastal weather and potential deterioration of the building’s internal structure.

Our Position

The historic building is in a prominent location giving it a strong identity in the heart of the city. The building is intact and in use. The owner is proud of its history and is working hard to keep up the building while also operating a business. There is an opportunity for National Register designation which could provide access to state and federal historic preservation tax credits of up to 45% toward rehabilitation costs.


Quick Links

What You can Do

  • Visit Hub Furniture to get a first-hand look at the building and patronize the long-standing local family business that has occupied former Chewing Gum Factory building.

  • Support Landmarks' advocacy efforts.