YARMOUTH — A historic train depot in Yarmouth Village is for sale for the first time in 50 years.

Potential buyers scoped out the 1906 Grand Trunk Railroad Depot on Main Street at an open house Tuesday. The Yarmouth Village Improvement Society has owned the building for five decades and is working with the nonprofit Maine Preservation to sell it.

“It’s ready for a new steward,” said Sarah Hansen, real estate manager for Maine Preservation.

The asking price is $165,000. The train depot is part of the Protect and Sell Program at Maine Preservation, which connects sellers with buyers who want to rehabilitate historic properties. Maine Preservation will also hold preservation easements on the property, so it will review any proposed changes and protect the building from demolition. Hansen said the easements will still allow for renovations that would make the building more functional, like updates to the bathrooms or the installation of a small kitchen. The organization will also be available for technical help, like working on plans or hiring a contractor.

“Our goal is not to have this be a museum,” Hansen said. “It should be a living, breathing building.”

The train depot needs some repairs to the floors and windows. But it has many of the original details, like bead board walls and a ticket window.

“Maine has a lot of really fantastic train stations, but I think this one is particularly iconic,” Hansen said. “It’s so intact, and it’s rare.”

The Canadian National Railway built the train station in 1906 and owned it for more than 60 years. When the company stopped running trains to Yarmouth, it proposed tearing down the depot. The Yarmouth Village Improvement Society bought the building for $500 in 1968 to save it from demolition. Starting in 1976, local florists have leased the space. In 1979, the train depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

An original train schedule sits above the fireplace in what used to be a waiting room at the old Yarmouth Grand Trunk Railroad Depot. Visitors attended an open house on Tuesday afternoon to view the property which is being offered at $165,000 with a preservation easement through Maine Preservation’s Protect & Sell Program. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

Over the years, the Village Improvement Society has paid for repairs and maintenance to the building. Recently, that work has included a new furnace and weatherization projects. But Village Florist & Company did not renew the lease last year, and President Linda Grant said the Village Improvement Society could no longer afford upkeep on the building. They turned to Maine Preservation because they still wanted to protect the building in some way.

“We feel it is our responsibility to do that in perpetuity,” Grant said.

Grant said potential buyers have proposed everything from an interior design studio to a bicycle shop. Property records show the first floor is about 1,400 square feet. A steady stream of people strolled through the train depot Tuesday afternoon, inspecting the hardwood floors and the stone fireplace.

One of them was Kevin Bunker, a founding principal of the Developers Collaborative. He said the space could be right as an office for a small business, and a trip to the basement was reassuring.

“Things look pretty plumb and level,” Bunker said. “I’ve been through a lot of old buildings, and a lot of them are in worse shape.”

Marc Bagala, the owner and president of Bagala Window Works, said he had visited the property in the past to inspect the windows. He envisioned a recording studio there.

“It does have a lot of history,” he said. “That’s what’s drawing so many people here.”

Russ Pearce of Pearce Builders had questions about the easements, as well as the surrounding land owned by the town and the state. But he said he was familiar with the unique building as a resident of Yarmouth.

“I could see turning it into a coffee shop or even a small restaurant,” he said.

Maine Preservation will accept offers for the train depot at its office until 5 p.m. March 6. The group will review those offers March 7 with the Yarmouth Village Improvement Society. A preferred buyer will be notified by noon March 8.

 

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