Hill House Restoration Project with Updates


The Hill House

The Thomas A. Hill House was completed in 1835. It is on the National Historic Register and is not only an important architectural house for Bangor but for the state and nation as it’s designer, Richard Upjohn, was the founding father of the American Institute of Architects and the architect for Trinity Church in New York City.

As with any old house, it needs constant attention and sometimes major interventions. Right now, Hill House needs some significant interventions. We have been working quietly over the last 2 years on raising funds to replace the perimeter ornamental fence on the granite walls along High and Union Streets and install chain-link fencing on the property line and across the back. Additionally, if you have visited the house in the last several years you know that the portico is failing and threatening the structural stability of the house. It is in very bad condition and needs restoration ASAP. We have also been raising funds for this.

We have raised $75,891 for the fence and $378,250 for the portico as of May 1, 2024.

Update on the Fence Restoration Project- You Helped Us Raise the Funding!

The Bangor Historical Society is in the process of rehabilitating the granite wall surrounding Hill
House and restoring the fence that used to sit atop the wall. The wall restoration is started on April 16th.
The fence is being restored in order to bring back the property’s historic presence, control traffic flow around the property, and to secure the property.  In addition to the ornamental fence atop the granite perimeter walls along High and Union Streets, BHS will be installing black chain link fencing along the tree line with our abutting neighbor on Union St. and across the back of the property.

As of May 1, 2024
BHS was awarded a grant of $60,000 from the City of Bangor, through its CDBG grant and you helped us get the rest of the way with your generous contributions for this estimated $70,000 project. BHS has raised the estimated $70,000 for the project with a small contingency of just over $5000.

The contingency has already been needed. Unfortunately and sadly, BHS has had to make the tough decision to take the basswood tree on High Street down because its roots are encroaching on the wall and are in the way of installing the new drainage system which is needed to ensure the sustainability of the restoration of the granite wall and the portico. We had hoped that we could just trim the roots but after consulting with an arborist it was concluded that just trimming the roots was not solution. The risk of the tree weakening from substantial root trimming and it dying and potentially falling on the house is too great a risk to take. Protecting and Preserving Hill House is paramount in the BHS stewardship mission and hard choices sometimes have to be made.

We are planning to replace the tree when new landscaping is done after the restorations are finished. We will update again as progress is made. We will leave the portal open in the hope of raising funds for the fence project contingency in case more bumps in the road come up and to go towards the new landscaping.

Help us get to the finish line by:

Sponsoring a Fence Section for $250

Sponsoring a One Foot Section for $50.

Portico Restoration Project

One of the outstanding features of the Thomas A. Hill House is its three-sided portico.
Several years ago, it became very apparent that something was happening with the portico since the granite decking became uneven and some slabs were even separating from the building. We were granted funding from the Belvedere Historic Preservation fund to do an engineering study. As suspected, in 1835 foundation building practices weren’t quite what they are today. The foundation under the portico has suffered the ravages of Maine winter frost and has deteriorated. Today the condition of the portico threatens the structural stability of Hill House.

To restore the portico, we will need to remove all of the granite slabs, remove the columns and restore them, excavate, rebuild the foundation, replace the granite slabs, and restored columns. The project comes with a big price tag of more than $350,000 (that was the estimate last year).

Update as of May 1, 2024

To date we have raised $378,250 through a combination of grants and the generous support of our donors. This means that we have enough money to do all sides of the portico barring any unforeseen circumstances.

As it stands now, we are waiting for the paperwork from the National Park Service’s grant for $100,000 to be sent to us and completed to start the project. The National Park Service mandates that no work can be started until their award process is complete or funding will be lost from them. So we are waiting and hoping that the paperwork can be completed quickly enough to do the work during the 2024 construction season.

Please help us fix the portico and restore the stability of Hill House by making a contribution today:

Pillar Preserver—$1,000 (16 pillars)
Support a Slab—$500 (77 slabs)
Foundation Fixer—$250
Step Supporter—$100
Portico Patron—$50

Please help us restore this valuable asset of our community.

For more information, please email Matt Bishop at curator@bangorhistoricalsociety.org or call 207-942-1900