Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Once-Cozy Cornelius

A few years ago when I was on the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission, a long-hoped-for proposal came to us, to renovate the Cornelius, a downtown hostelry on Park Avenue that had long been vacant and neglected. The Cornelius has something of a mansard roof, and huge, heavy, openable double-hung windows, and is located right in the heart of things at the corner of Park and Alder. Designed by John V. Bennes, it was built in 1907-1908. It's a handsome structure, very dignified, nicely detailed. A small Europeanish remnant of the Portland a century ago, but one that still fits comfortably into its corner of town.

But suddenly the economy fell, and the project fell with it. Now, the owners say they want to demolish it. Just get rid of it. To do so, they will have to go through not only the Landmarks Commission, but City Council, but what the heck. Why do we so blithely throw away buildings like the Cornelius?



All images courtesy Steve Dotterrer

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