Buckingham Smith building found unsafe


Planning and Building Director Mark Knight reported to Historic City News that a Lincolnville landmark building has been red-tagged by the city as an unsafe structure.

“We found at least two roof areas collapsed, and evidence it’s being used for drugs and prostitution,” Knight said.

The building, established as a nursing home for blacks by Buckingham Smith, is known as “Echo House”.

The venerable historic Lincolnville structure was the vision of the late Rosalie Gordon Mills to be made into a community library and learning center.

The property is owned by the city, but legally held by a non-profit corporation.

Rosalie’s heirs, Carlotta and Tony Miles, have made efforts over the years to find funding for restoration — succeeding at one point in getting a state grant to stabilize the building and develop a restoration plan.

At a meeting of the Lincolnville Crime Watch this week, Knight said that, because it is a public safety concern, action will be fast-tracked to abate or demolish the structure.

“We’ll get it on the November 10 agenda of our Code Enforcement Board,” he said.

Because of its age, the Historic Architectural Review Board would have to approve a demolition.

Echo House is part of a contiguous triad of historic properties, including the former Excelsior School, renovated by the county and used today as a cultural center and county offices, and St. Benedict School, a restoration work in progress through a civic non-profit committee.