Our Historic Home
The building at 317 Main was designed by architect Charles A. Alexander (1811-1887) in the Italianate style and is a classic example of this architectural period. The style is also known as the Picturesque style which began in Europe as a reaction to formalism. It was heavily influenced by the rambling farmhouses and villas of Italy and reached its pinnacle in the mid-century. In America, the Italianate style features a richly detailed exterior with wide projecting cornices featuring heavy brackets and heavily ornamented windows, porches, and doorways.
The building at 317 Main follows in this tradition with solid frame construction, a hipped roof, polygonal cupola, brick chimneys, clapboard siding, and a granite foundation. Originally, the house had three porches with denticulated cornices. The front facade faces south and includes two large bay windows (a common feature of the Italianate style, intended to suggest a piano nobile) flanked by louvered shutters and arched panel surrounds. This front room currently houses our Café – a pleasant, sunny place in which to read, relax or work.
The superior design and craftsmanship of the building at 317 Main, including the large 6/6 fenestration and spacious, light-filled interior rooms, bespeaks both the position and success of the Blanchards in their time, as well as that of Charles A. Alexander.
The distinctive structure sits on half an acre, originally surrounded by an ornate wrought-iron fence that delineated the gardens where the parking lot is now situated. In addition to the main house, 317 Main has a two-story ell that extends eastward linking the house with the carriage house. The structures have withstood the ravages of time and Maine weather and are in good condition. Today, the ell houses practice rooms and office space.
From the beginning, 317 Main has held a special place in the Yarmouth community and is an example of how inspiration, art and industry can combine to create a thing of lasting beauty and usefulness.
Sold to Silvanus C. Blanchard Sr., a renowned ship captain turned shipbuilder and founding partner in Blanchard Brothers Shipbuilding firm, the house was actually originally built and lived in by his son: S. C. Blanchard, Jr. and his wife, Abbie, for twenty years before it passed out of the family.
The building has passed through many hands over the years, and most recently housed several businesses. In 2004, 317 Main was purchased by our founder with the intent to create a gathering place for the community to learn, teach and enjoy music in an inspiring environment. 317 Main purchased the building from the founder in 2015.
The interior of 317 Main is as extraordinary as its exterior and features many original details, including hardwood floors, tall ceilings, and an open-well central staircase. As practice spaces, the rooms have a unique historic ambiance while providing the comforting setting of a gracious old home.
Energy Efficiency at 317 Main
In the Fall of 2015, 317 Main made the significant step of purchasing our historic 1850’s building on Main Street in Yarmouth. One of the factors considered in the purchase of our building was our commitment to wanting to model good stewardship and demonstrate how environmental sustainability and historic preservation can go hand in hand. The added benefit of the potential to save money in energy costs and reallocate that money into programming served as an added incentive to pursue grant funding to make energy efficiency upgrades.
Grants to Green Maine
In December 2015, 317 Main was fortunate to be awarded a $35,000 grant from Grants to Green Maine (a partnership between the Maine Community Foundation, Maine Development Foundation and Efficiency Maine) to help cover the cost of energy efficiency upgrades to our historic building. The grant required a 1:1 match, and we were able to raise the match through a grant from Horizon Foundation, Quimby Family Foundation, Efficiency Maine rebates, and our community of donors.
The energy efficiency upgrades include supplementary insulation, air sealing, lighting upgrades, and installation of heat pumps – all of which were recommended in our energy audit. With these improvements, we expect to nearly eliminate our use of fuel oil. While our electricity usage is expected to slightly increase, the building envelope will be much tighter and our energy usage will be much more efficient. Ultimately, we aim to install solar panels at a future date to produce a portion of the energy needed on our property.
Annual Energy Savings Estimates from our Energy Audit
Insulation and Air Sealing:
570 Gallons of Heating Oil
= 5.8 metric tons of CO2
= $2,045 Saved
LED Light Bulbs:
12,672 kWh of Electricity
= 8.9 metric tons of CO2
= $1,900 Saved
1,470 Gallons of Heating Oil
= 14.9 metric tons of CO2
= $5,262 Saved