free house

Free House on 1.5 Acres in Calais, Maine

OHU50K Notes.   FREE

Free house. Live your cheap old house dream of rehabbing a historic Maine house and preserving its story.  There is just one catch.

Seller Comments

The National Park Service is accepting long-term lease proposals for the historic McGlashan-Nickerson House situated near Red Beach in Calais, Maine. Here’s how it works: lease-holder occupies the house – whether as a private residence or commercial venture – at no cost (rent free!) in exchange for financing the long-term rehabilitation of the house. The timeline is generous: you’ll have up to 60 years to lease and enjoy this historic gem.

The McGlashan-Nickerson property provides an exciting chance for a preservation-minded individual to create something truly unique. A little creativity and a lot of TLC could go a long way to rescue an imperiled Maine landmark!

The property’s potential abounds. Imagine it as a:

  • Private homestead

  • Community-oriented garden

  • Non-profit headquarters

  • Co-working space

  • Corporate retreat venue

  • Summer home

  • Bed & breakfast

  • Winter sports getaway

NOTE: Although the formal deadline has passed, the NPS is still accepting inquiries.

The Area

The McGlashan Nickerson House is part of the St. Croix Island International Historic Site, a small unit of the National Park Service located along the banks of the scenic St. Croix River. The site is more a peaceful retreat than an attraction, receiving just 12,000 visitors annually, and part of the larger cultural heritage corridor shared with our Canadian neighbors. Along with easy access to the St. Croix River for boating, paddling, and fishing opportunities, the McGlashan-Nickerson House is proximate to Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, Downtown Eastport and Calais, and destinations across the border including Saint Andrews and Roosevelt Campobello International Park.

Now or Never

We have long-advocated for the National Park Service to rehabilitate the house and interpret the property as an important part of local history. The house was included in Maine Preservation’s Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2018 and now remains on borrowed time. If a new steward does not step up, this historic home–one of the few remaining links to the granite and plaster industries and its proprietors in the Red Beach community–will be lost.

Maine Preservation is dedicated to finding a path forward and our staff is ready to answer questions, brainstorm ideas, and troubleshoot challenges with people who have a committed interest in saving the McGlashan-Nickerson House. Depending on the prospective use, there may be opportunities for grant funding or historic rehabilitation tax credits. Please email [email protected] for assistance.

More detailed information, including the Request for Proposals from the National Park Service is available here. NOTE: Although the formal deadline has passed, the NPS is still accepting inquiries.



  • Linda Lee Carroll

    Absolutely love the property and everything about it. I’d love to make sure this property was restored and kept as is. I’m not a fan of destroying old houses and old buildings. It’s a beautiful place and I’d be honored to live there and restore it to its original beauty..

  • Wiley Albritton

    My wife and I are very interested if this place is still available…we have always wanted a place to restore…the last place we were trying to get was auctioned off before we could get to it….

  • Lucian Hanlon

    Selling my house in Michigan look for new start the house im selling was built in 1900 ive been restoring the floors

  • Rich Gorman

    I’ve been a carpenter for over 25 years. I am expressing great interest in this project, in rehabilitating this property. I have experience in all of the trades and I have the fourth knowledge and aptitude to see the project through to its completion. Please contact me via email or text/call, 971-707-5327. I’m well trained in framing, painting replacing floors, light plumbing & electrical…landscaping rooms and concrete work and roof’s. I hail from New York but I currently reside in Oregon. I have seven children and I believe that this would be a great project for us as a family business. Thank you for your consideration of my company in helping to preserve this wonderful property.

  • Janet

    I rehabilitated an historic house once and the tax writeoffs were very helpful. That was many years ago though so I don’t know what they are like now.

  • Jennifer

    This certainly is beautiful, but I can see why they haven’t received any RFPs. They have an expectation that the lessee will be paying for ALL EXPENSES for the repairs (but you still can’t repair or alter anything at all without permission), and pay for any other house related expenses (including all the property taxes!) AND still pay RENT on top of all that (but there’s a serious penalty if you leave)! And you won’t even own the property!!! What?!? I’m all for restoring historic property, but NO WAY would I submit a proposal for that kind of deal.

  • Sarah Ruzzoli

    My husband and I would love a chance at living here and fixing it up we need a place a ways away from a lot of people and this place would be perfect for us and it would give my husband a chance to be able to relax a little. It’s also a beautiful place and we would be honored to be a part of history.

  • Jennifer Richardson

    Me and my family are very interested in this property! We would fix this gorgeous home and make it a bed and breakfast!

  • Kelly Renee thomas

    I am interested in the opportunity to live in and fix this house up. I have the skill and knowledge to make this home into something spectacular. I can be reached at my email address.

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