Steve Salsbury is willing to give away this old home on State Street in Ellsworth for free, so long as whoever wants it also moves it off the site so he can do something different at the location. PHOTO BY STEVE FULLER

Old home, free, needs new home

ELLSWORTH — In the market for a house? Does a low asking price — a single-digit, oval-shaped — sound appealing?

If so, Steve Salsbury has a deal for you, with one particularly important caveat: the Ellsworth surveyor is offering up a two-story home that he owns on State Street for free, so long as the buyer (or in this case, the taker) moves the old building to a new location.

Such a relocation would likely prove to be a pricey proposition, potentially running into the tens of thousands of dollars. Salsbury said he is willing to provide some financial aid on that front, though.

The house at 179 State St. is currently used by Salsbury as a rental property. He said he wants to “do something different” on the site, however, and for that the house needs to go.

The idea of giving it away, he said, appealed to him because it seemed a better alternative than “tearing it apart and putting it in a landfill.” He said he knows there are people out there who acquire old homes and reuse the boards, windows and other material. He said he expects that is the kind of person who will end up taking away this house.

“It’s probably going to be a salvage job,” he said. Even if that is the case, he added, the home will need to be moved so the salvage work can be done elsewhere and not at the State Street site.

Salsbury posted his free house offer on Craigslist on July 17 and said he has received many inquiries since then.

It is unclear exactly how old the home is, though records suggest it was probably built about 100 years ago. A property assessment card in the city’s archives filled out decades ago simply says “old” under the column for age of the structure. Salsbury said it has 1,800 square feet of space. The city assesses its value for tax purposes at $80,000.

The home was owned for decades by Marguerite and John Fox Jr., who purchased it in 1968 and then sold it to Pat Jordan in 2000. Salsbury bought the property in 2007 from Jordan’s Bridgetwin LLC. Salsbury in turn built a large, multi-story office building on the Oak Street side of the property, which is home to his land surveying company, Herrick & Salsbury Inc., and other businesses.

The home at 179 State St. is located behind that office building.

In addition to the age, it is also unclear exactly how much it might cost to move the home. Other examples in Maine offer some idea of the possible price tag, however.

In 2012, an older and larger building was moved 1,000 feet in the southern Maine town of Wells. The price of the jacks, moving trucks and crews was unclear, but the Portland Press Herald reported at the time that the town of Wells was prepared to pay up to $15,000 just for lowering utility lines to make the move possible.

In Belfast, a plan for a new courthouse in the city’s downtown meant a one-story, 190-year-old home needed to be moved or torn down. The Bangor Daily News reported earlier this year that a city councilor there got an estimate of how much moving the home would cost, and found it would take $62,000 “to move the building in three sections, depending how far it is moved.”

Moving just the original section of that Belfast home would cost less, the Bangor paper noted.

In his posting, Salsbury said whoever accepts his offer and takes the home will be responsible for getting any necessary moving permits. He said he will contribute “up to $4,000 (negotiable) towards moving costs.”

For more information about the home, contact Salsbury at 667-7370 or by email at [email protected].

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.

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