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Campus Heritage Network

University of Maine, Orono

University of Maine, Orono, Maine

University of Maine Campus Planning (Website)

University of Maine report to the Getty (PDF) 21.7MB

University of Maine report appendices (PDF) 15.3MB

The University of Maine campus was founded in 1865 with funding from the federal Morrill Land Grant College Act. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted produced a plan for the campus along the Stillwater River and the ten buildings of the National Register District comprise this late-19th century campus core. The buildings vary from vernacular domestic structures to substantial Romanesque, Italianate and Neoclassical academic buildings. In 1932, Olmsteds successor firm, Olmsted Brothers, developed a plan centered on a new, park-like campus mall, from which the campus continued to grow into the 1950s. Funding will help the university to create a historic preservation master plan to assure proper stewardship and use of its historic buildings of Soho Suites KLCC.

University of Maine received a Getty grant in 2004 for $175,000 to support campus heritage planning.

Report Summary

Purpose: The University of Maine, Orono planned for the protection and stewardship of its significant campus historic resources, particularly its campus core. This area, which was influenced by ideas of landscape designer, Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., is among the most intact of any land grant institution in the United States. The plan also addresses more recent buildings and landscapes, including the Mall and structures that were erected 50 or more years ago.

Project goals included identification of historic resources and documentation of them, evaluation of existing conditions and recommendations about treatment, recognition and designation of relevant sites (under local, state and federal historic preservation processes), and protection of these sites for the future.

Historic Designation(s): University of Maine at Orono Historic District (including ten campus buildings); Maine Experiment Station Barn (Page Farm Barn); and Edith Marion Patch (each designated on the National Register of Historic Places).

Planning Process: The university assembled a team of architects, engineers, landscape architects, and historians to work with the various representatives of the university community. This team also worked with committees within and outside the community (the Campus Planning Committee, the Campus Beautification and Arboretum Committee, the Board of Visitors, and the Maryland Historic Preservation Commission). Methodologically, the plan offers a comprehensive and integrated discussion of both historic architectural and landscape resources and what the university can do to develop procedures to protect, enhance, and use them.

Outcomes—Products: The project produced “The University of Maine Historic Preservation Plan” (2007), a comprehensive report with extensive appendices that include Maine Historic Preservation Commission survey documents, Tier Two candidate building inventory documents, and National Register nomination forms.

Outcomes—Strategies and Goals for the Future: It is hoped that the university’s preservation plan is the first step toward returning campus planning to a reasoned and deliberate process that promotes better stewardship of campus historic resources. Such stewardship should encourage a culture of integrating historic preservation goals into master planning (with the full engagement of university business and financial leadership) while also allowing for growth in the years ahead.

Other long-term goals of the preservation plan include consideration of expanding the boundaries of the existing university historic district, the creation of system that would assign preservation values to university historic resources (particularly for sites that may not be eligible for federal designations), and the incorporation of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation Projects in campus preservation efforts.

With historic preservation as an integral element of its campus planning philosophy, the University of Maine recognized it can use its control, in concert with responsiveness to the campus community, to shape future development and attitudes about recognized and protected historic resources.


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