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Jonathan Fisher House awarded grant



BLUE HILL — The historic Jonathan Fisher House has been awarded a grant from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior and the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

This approximately $12,500 grant will allow the organization to conduct a comprehensive conditions assessment of the house, generate a report of findings and create a project budget for the preservation work needed to keep the Fisher House standing as a vital Blue Hill landmark for another 200 years, according to a press release issued by the organization.

When the Fisher House organization discovered tell-tale sagging in the floor in one of the upstairs rooms, Preservation Timber Framing of Berwick was hired to conduct an assessment of the structure of the house in 2021. This uncovered extensive damage, far more widespread than previously realized. Prolonged water damage stemming from the corner of the house where an 1896 addition meets the historic 1814 structure has resulted in a dire situation for the house. Many of the original timbers need to be entirely replaced, walls rebuilt, the roof replaced, and numerous other repairs made to the structure.

The report on the timber frame, while a crucial first step, was only the beginning of the information required to plan the full extent of the work that will need to be done on the property. The funding from the Historic Preservation Fund will allow the board of directors to hire an architect with experience working on historic properties to conduct a full conditions assessment and create a report detailing all aspects of the structure. Getting a comprehensive picture of all parts of the house — particularly water control issues — will enable the organization to develop a full plan for this preservation project.

The Jonathan Fisher House has stood in its location at 44 Mines Road since its construction in 1814 and exists as a remarkable example of its era and a testament to one of Blue Hill’s most multifaceted, fascinating historical figures. As the timber framing experts noted, it is “one of the best documented homes of its age and style. Fisher drew the building plans himself, and its construction is wholly unique, with a design that reflects a notably busy brain,” adding that it makes “a significant contribution to Maine’s architectural history.”

The Historic Preservation Fund grant requires a one-to-one match, and the Fisher House is currently accepting donations toward the match via its website at jonathanfisherhouse.org, or by check to P.O. Box 537 in Blue Hill. Please note “HPF grant match” on the donation.

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