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For $575,000 far from the daily grind: A Maine mill-turned-waterfront home

Buying
47 Skillin Road Cumberland ME back exterior
The back edge of 47 Skillin Road sits over the Piscataqua River. Lynn Dube, Wave5Productions

This 19th-century mill has been transformed into a private Cumberland, Maine, home — and it’s looking for a new owner. 

Listed for $575,000, 47 Skillin Road features an enormous post-and-beam space where the mill used to be, as well as a two-bed, one-bath residence on the lower level overlooking the Piscataqua River. 

“This literally is the property where the river runs through it,” said listing agent Pete Molloy of Town & Shore Real Estate. The entire back edge of the building sits over the water. The Piscataqua used to be the power source for the mill, which produced flour, barrels, and wood planks. 

The structure was built in the 1860s, when it served first as a grist mill and briefly as a stave mill before it became a sawmill known as Wilson’s Mill, started by James Leighton and Lorenzo H. Wilson in 1874, according to the Cumberland Historical Society.

Now the mill area is an open 40-foot-by-60-foot space, reaching roughly 27 feet at its peak. The area is unheated, offers a loft and a kitchen, and leads to a spacious deck. 

The sawmill shuttered around the 1950s, and the property sat idle for the better part of a decade before a couple purchased the building as a residence in 1964. They first used it as a summer home, and spent 10 to 12 years creating the year-round living quarters on the lower level. 

“During that time, they did a tremendous amount of restructural work,” Molloy said, including rebuilding the concrete dam, retaining walls, and footings. “I’ve never been in a structure — and I’ve been doing this almost 19 years — that is, in my opinion, so sound as this, particularly for this age.” 

The couple then occupied the home year-round for about 50 years. All four of their children and some of their grandchildren were married there. 

The 1,200-square-foot living quarters sit on the river side, offering views of the water below. Molloy suspects this part of the property was originally where the sawmill equipment was kept and would reach through to the floor above. 

Throughout the home, natural elements abound. Large logs run across ceilings and down walls, some of which Molloy said are so big he “probably can’t wrap [his] arms around them.” One end of the living room constitutes a collection of exposed rock, and the bathroom tub is wrapped in stone. In addition to the two bedrooms, the home also offers a small kitchen, laundry room, and office. There is also a detached garage. 

The structure sits on a 2-acre lot, and buyers have the option to purchase an additional 4.8 acres. The mill area can be weatherized, converted into more residential space, or kept as is. It would need a zoning change for use as a wedding venue, restaurant, or similar enterprise. 

“Whoever buys it, they’ve got to have vision. They’ve got to have financial resources, and be willing to take on such a project,” Molloy said. “But whoever does? Man, they’re going to have one spectacular property.” 

See more photos of the home below: 

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