Although early preservation interest and historic survey work began in the 1970s, the city's current historic preservation efforts date to 1990. It was at that time that a significant Main Street house was demolished, spurring Mayor Mark Johnston to challenge the Historic Preservation Commission and the City Council to pass amendments giving teeth to a previously adopted historic preservation ordinance. Pertinent provisions of the ordinance are described in a separate document.
As a result, a citizens' Commission reviews exterior renovations on 175 properties on Main, North, Elm, Cross and Vernon streets, and 25 additional Beach Street properties added to the district in 1995. Some 26 properties on Middle and School Streets were added in September 1997. The Historic Preservation Commission takes pride in providing an expeditious review of building alterations and in cooperating with district property owners.
The state and federal governments recognized these efforts in 1991 by awarding Certified Local Government status. This has resulted in funding of City Hall architectural planning, a lecture series, historic survey work, and preparation of this walking tour brochure. For information about historic district regulations contact the city planning department, 282-3487.
The city's historic preservation efforts have been complemented by private efforts, such as the following historic house accommodations:
- Hobson House A Celtic Inn, 398 Main Street, Maureen Flynn and Frank Zayac, proprietors, 284-4113. One of Saco's finest Federal Period mansions, the Hobson House was built circa 1828 for Rev. Jonathan Coggswell and has been home to two Saco mayors, including Joseph Hobson, for whom the Inn is named.
- Bowers Mansion Inn, 408 Main Street, Cherie and James Pace, proprietors, 284-1734. The Bowers Mansion, named for mayor Roscoe Bowers, is one of the few Stick style residences in Saco. Built for lumber baron Joseph Hobson circa 1885, the mansion is distinguished for its decorative woodwork.
- Crown 'N' Anchor, 121 North Street, John Barclay and Martha Forrester, proprietors, 282- 3829. Built for George Thatcher, Jr. in 1828, the Crown 'N' Anchor is one of the earliest Greek Revival houses in the state and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been home to Stephen L. Goodale, Maine's first Secretary of Agriculture, and George L. Goodale, founder of the glass flower collection at Harvard.
The Saco Historic Preservation Commission's Application for Certificate of Appropriateness is available for you to print.
Kelley Archer, Chair
Jay St. John, Vice Chair
The Historic Preservation Commission has three vacant seats at this time, if you are interested in joining, please complete our boards and commissions registration.
PRESERVING THE BUILT HISTORY OF SACO & BIDDEFORD
A series of lectures and workshops for residents, owners, and appreciation of historic properties.
Flyer for the event
- An overview of the City of Saco history
- Application for Certificate of Appropriateness
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Historic District Design Guidelines (2010)
- Historic Preservation Ordinance
- Historic sites and districts
- John Haley's Saco An interactive map showing locations of historic homes reviewed by John Haley
- Maine Historic Preservation Commission This will take you off the City of Saco website
- Meeting Schedule
- Preserving Historic Saco (Facebook page)
- Saco Downtown West Historic Preservation Report
300 Main Street
Saco, Maine 04072