Glimpses. 5 Oakdale Street

Driving down Falmouth Street by the university and this caught my eye. Something intriguing and not quite right at the same time.

It doesn’t sit very comfortably on it’s lot. The first floor fenestration doesn’t make sense. Then there is the goofy ‘Juliet’ balcony.

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What if the first floor was originally a garage?

Makes a bit more sense. Silas B Adams purchased the lot in 1910 and appears to have built right away. The 1924 tax record shows an age of 16 years. Current tax records says built in 1910.  Looking at the 1924 record in depth, I am inclined to say it was being used for horses at that time.

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10 thoughts on “Glimpses. 5 Oakdale Street

  1. Elizabeth Burke

    I am the owner of the building (my father bought it in 1979). I found a picture of the house dated in 1955, where it still looks the same in the front. Then, the 2 doors in the center were taken out and a window put in. The downstairs was some sort of garage, as it is mostly cement slab and there are strange pipes on the ground floor (which was converted to living space sometime after 1955). I have wondered if it weren’t used for horses, based on the pipes, however the larger of the central door doesn’t really look wide enough for a horse. Silas Adams was employed by the Chicle corporation and then moved back to Maine and worked for Chicle’s Portland, Maine branch–chewing gum manufacturing. He was responsible for some patents, I believe, so it is possible the ground floor was given to his experiments. I don’t know.

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  2. 5 Oakdale Street, Portland, Maine 04103

    I’ve since learned that the building was made by one of the major share-owners of the first candy factory in Portland, formerly housed in what is now a furniture shop. It wasn’t the Chicklee company, but something close. Given the man who built my home had a personal residence around the corner on Falmouth Street, I suspect he was fairly well-to-do, and what is now my house was a garage, downstairs, with 2.5 feet steel I beams almost every 7 feet between the upstairs and down. I suspect he must have owned one of the first cars in Portland, so in order to work on the car, the steel I-beams were put in order to hoist the car up, to work on its underside. My best guess.

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    1. alewifecove Post author

      Hi
      That is pretty close. Silas Adams was the treasurer of the Curtis Chewing Gum factory which was in the HUB Furntiure building. He was also the treasurer of the Casco Paper Box Co. He was living on Falmouth Street in 1910. It all points to this being his garage and maybe living area for a driver perhaps. The 1926 city directory I have says a Lewis More was running an auto repair garage and living upsatirs on Oakdale. I guess the next question is when was the first floor converted?

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  3. elizabeth Burke

    I suspect, based on the photo I found when I ripped out a built-in china cabinet in one of the upstairs rooms, next to what was originally the kitchen, that the downstairs was converted to living space sometime after 1955, and so…. probably in the early to mid 60s. My father bought the house in 1979, and my older brother John tells me that when my father bought it, the downstairs looked as if it had been “bombed”…. total wreck. Since I’ve found things between the upstairs and the downstairs drop ceiling, clearly the drop ceiling was put in before my father bought the house. So, I’d guess the downstairs was converted to some sort of living space between 1955-1960s, and I’d guess (mostly based on a Christmas tag I found, which genre dates from my youth), the 1960s.

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  4. Elizabeth Burke

    I think I mentioned that there are steel I-beams (almost 2 feet wide) that span every 7 or so feet between the upstairs and downstairs. Cheers, EM Burke

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  5. Elizabeth Burke

    The other unusual aspect of my house is that all the doorknobs are split mushroom style, a style you cannot otherwise find in Portland, Maine, nor any place north of Baltimore. When I went to look for potential replacements, I had to go to a “replication” outfit in North Carolina.

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    1. alewifecove Post author

      Hi Elizabeth. Thanx for the offer. I removed your phone number from your comment as I would prefer to not have private information of property owners published on my blog. I very much appreciate your willingness to share your information but I really do value the privacy of my subjects owners.

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