Auburn Commercial Historic District

Main & Court Sts., Auburn, Maine


Main St., Auburn, Maine

Photo taken by Brian Bartlett

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The resources in the Auburn Commercial Historic District represent the greatest concentration and density of historic commercial properties in Auburn. The “L” shaped district is comprised of 9 contributing buildings, 3 non-contributing buildings, and one non-contributing site located on both sides of one block on Main Street and on one side of two blocks on Court Street. With buildings erected between 1855 and circa 1902, the establishment of the commercial district paralleled the city’s industrial, political and economic growth during the same period. Although a portion of the historic downtown area on Court and Turner Streets was lost to the “Urban Renewal” program of the 1960s, that area has been redeveloped and these newer offices, financial institutions, hotels and stores contain their own set of characteristics that are as evocative of recent construction trends as they are distinct from the mostly-brick, densely constructed street-walls of the nineteenth century. So too have the fortunes of Auburn shifted from the era when the city led the state in the quantity and quality of its shoe manufactories, when its streets were bustling and its economy growing. The lasting impact of this era is tangible in some of the residential neighborhoods and in the fabric of the remaining historic commercial architecture, the best of which is contained within this district. The Auburn Commercial Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A, as the locus of early industrial development in the city, for its associations with local commercial and governmental history, and for its role in the social history of the community. Furthermore, due to its range of architectural styles and the quality of building design, including commissions by Maine and Massachusetts architects Gridley J. F. Bryant, William H. Stevens, George M. Coombs, and Charles F. Douglas, the district was also recognized under Criterion C for architecture. The period of significance commences in 1855, the year after a devastating fire leveled the area and ends in 1967, at which point Urban Renewal activities altered the composition of the downtown area.

Update Log 

  • April 9, 2015: Photo imported by Brian Bartlett
  • January 21, 2015: Updated by Brian Bartlett: Added description
  • January 10, 2015: Added by Brian Bartlett