Our Historic Home
The beautiful historic structure that houses 317 Main has been a prominent feature on Main Street in Yarmouth since 1855. It was built for Sylvanus C. Blanchard, a ship builder and state legislator and designed by architect Charles A. Alexander (1811-1887) in the Italianate style. 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.
The building features solid frame construction, a hipped roof, polygonal cupola, brick chimneys, clapboard siding, and a granite foundation. Originally, the house had three porches. The front facade faces south and includes two large bay windows flanked by louvered shutters and arched panel surrounds. One of the front parlor rooms currently houses our Café – a pleasant, sunny place in which to read, relax or work.
317 Main Street remained a private residence for generations of families. In the early 1960’s Hazel Hilton famously turned the basement into a bomb shelter, which fortunately never had to be used. In the late 1970s the home was purchased by Yarmouth school teacher Alan Hall and his wife Martha who lived here with their two young daughters.
Martha, an avid weaver and pattern maker, ran Martha Hall Looms and Yarns in the front of the home until the business, which included a thriving mail-order catalog, became so successful, the family had to move out to accommodate the growing business.
Just as 317 Main creates community through music today, Martha’s shop did the same through yarn. Knitters still recall Martha’s shop as an inspiring wonderland for fiber fans, with rooms full of natural fiber yarns, spinning and weaving supplies and classes where fiber artists could share their knowledge.
Throughout the 1980s and 90s, 317 Main remained a mixed-use building, housing both small businesses and apartments, until Peter Milliken bought it and began the painstaking restoration work to bring it back to its historic elegance.
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.
In 2015, 317 Main’s Board of Directors purchased the building from Milliken, making way for the 317 Main’s next chapter which includes the capital campaign and proposed expansion.
Our thanks to the Yarmouth Historical Society for their help in researching the history of this wonderful and historic building.
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