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Project 080 ◄| Project List |► Project 082

FBG Project N-081

Source: JDG-1

Can Factory for Seacoast Canning Co

  • Eastport, ME
  • Contract: Nov 1907
    Completed Jun 1908
  • Architect: Charles T. Main (Boston)
  • National Register of Historic Places 16000439
  • Standing in original condition, not in use

This project was a can factory for one of several sardine canneries in Eastport, a Maine island town which is the furthest eastern community in the US. (The town and its canneries became infamous for child labor in about the era of this project, with photos of children holding fish knives nearly as big as they were.)

This was an outstanding piece of construction in that it was the only FBG project built in “tidewater,” that is, on an active shoreline. Many projects were on riverbanks and shorelines and needed deep pilings and hydraulic walls, but this factory extended over a shoreline into the bay itself. As such, it had an unusual and immense foundation of granite blocks.

The factory was built for Seacoast Cannery at the end of the era in which every cannery produced its own cans. It was sold a few years later to American Can Company, who apparently consolidated the business and made cans for several canneries, perhaps all that remained. They were noted as the maker of the now-familiar “roll-top” cans still used for sardines, kippers and other preserved fish. The subsequent history of the company is not known, but the number of canneries was already declining at this time and the industry was defunct long before WWII.

The building still stands much as it was built, with an immense concrete wharf (which may have been built by another contractor). It was purchased in 2005 by a group intending to convert it to mixed use as destination hotel, restaurant and small convention center. That effort appears to have peaked in 2017 and has not yet been executed nor, it would seem, abandoned.

The area was added to the roster of the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, but this building was excluded at the then-owner's request. (An NRHP designation can make it difficult to remodel or demolish buildings.) A request was made and granted to add the building to the historic district in 2016 (possibly because the designation can also open up government funding for renovation and reuse).

It is worth noting that Eastport is a deepwater port at mouth of St. Croix River, and may have handled materials and equipment for the Sprague’s Falls mill project some forty miles upstream.

FBG Provenance

  • Multiple trade notices.
  • Sweet's Catalogue of Building Construction advertisement, 1909 — The entry on this list is for ”American Can Company, Lubec, Me.” By all accounts, the job was done for Seacoast and completed before American took over the facility; Lubec was their headquarters on an island about three miles south. This anomaly seems to confirm that the Sweet's list was compiled by someone not entirely familiar with the history of the projects it lists.

Status

  • Standing in more or less original condition but not in use.
  • Plans exist for development for alternate use.
  • Added to roster of NRHP, 2016
  • Google Street View — images date from Oct 2007

Clips

  • Engineering News, 14 Nov 1907:

  • Bangor Daily News, 15 Nov 1907:

  • Real Estate Record & Building Guide, 16 Nov 1907:

  • Building Age, Dec 1907:

  • Engineering Record, 30 Nov 1907:

  • Bridgemen's Magazine, Jan 1908:

  • Ohio Architect & Builder, Jan 1908:

  • Bangor Daily News, 18 Feb 1908:

  • Bangor Daily News, 19 Feb 1908:

  • Rock Products, 22 Feb 1908:

  • Bangor Daily News, 23 Jun 1908

  • Bangor Daily News, 27 Jun 1908:

  • The building today (2018):

seacoast.txt · Last modified: 2021/08/11 19:14 by therblig