It was equally exciting and depressing to discover the Goddard Mansion at Fort Williams Park in Portland, Maine.
Despite being entirely hollowed out, this building is so incredibly beautiful, even on a rainy day — a relic of the past sitting lonely atop a hill. It definitely qualifies as “decadent decay,” a term and hashtag our friend Tina uses when she photographs abandoned old structures and vehicles on backroads in her area.
On the other hand, it made us wonder how this place looked in its glory days. Willing to bet it was absolutely divine.
Designed by Portland architect Charles A. Alexander, the mansion was built for Colonel John Goddard from 1853-1859. Judge Joseph W. Simonds bought it in 1898, before the federal government took ownership in 1900, as the surrounding Fort Williams expanded.
Eventually, it was made into quarters for non-commissioned officers.
By the time the town purchased the home in 1964, it was in rough shape. At the time, it would have cost an estimated $175,000 to stabilize and restore the mansion.
It was such a hot mess by 1981 that the Town Manager recommended that it be razed, like, yesterday.
“After heated debate, the mansion received a 48-hour reprieve for further study,” says the Fort Williams website. “Ultimately, the Fire Department was asked to burn the interior of the structure to remove dangerous debris. The building remained open to the public until 2009, when fencing was installed to keep people out due to safety concerns. Initiatives surface periodically for restoration or creative reuse of the mansion, but none have yet been successful.”