The Winthrop Maine Historical Society has bought the former Key Bank location at 107 Main St. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file Buy this Photo

WINTHROP — The Winthrop Historical Society has purchased its first headquarters in its 60-year history, and now is moving into the next fundraising stage to begin renovating it.

Society President Lynda Pratt said fundraising is still ongoing for renovations to the building. The society paid $100,000 for the building.

In January, the Kennebec Journal reported on the society’s pursuit to raise funds for the purchase of the building, which will be dubbed “Winthrop History and Heritage Center.”

The building at 107 Main St. was owned by Key Bank of Maine. According to town property tax documents, the building was built in 1950, has 2,596 square feet of floor space and sits on a quarter-acre lot.

A previous estimate of renovation costs was around $25,000, but Pratt said Wednesday the actual cost may be over $50,000.

“There’s a fair amount of renovation to be done between plumbing and electrical,” she said, adding that some asbestos must be removed. “We’ve got to put in a handicap bathroom, for one thing, then there’s some electrical wiring that needs to be redone.”

Pratt said the society received more than $100,000 in pledges, but took out a loan through Kennebec Savings Bank to get the cash to buy the building. As the pledges roll in, she said, the society will pay back the loan.

The historical society, formed in the 1960s but reformed about 10 years ago after a hiatus, has never had a dedicated home, usually holding its meetings in the Town Office. About 40 years ago, another Main Street building was destined to be the society’s home, but it was torn down by its owner.

In January, Pratt said the society has old documents, photographs and other items that should be in “controlled environments.”

Lynda Pratt, president of the Winthrop Maine Historical Society, discusses one of the two vaults full of safety deposit boxes during a tour Jan. 6 of the old Key Bank location at 107 Main St. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file Buy this Photo

“(The building) has a tremendous amount of space that will help us store and catalog those artifacts,” she said.

The location would also allow public access for lectures or guest speakers. Pratt said a gift shop could be put into the building, offering prints of historic picture and other small items.

The historical society aims to preserve the history of Winthrop. The town was incorporated in April 1771, five years before the United States became a nation and 49 years before Maine became a state. The group hopes to hold a grand opening at its headquarters this year, the 250th anniversary of Winthrop’s incorporation.

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