August 11, 2011


The History Club


Plans for Gehring Green and Tour of the Gehring House


Paul Boghossian, new Gehring house owner and Gehring Green developer/preservationist spelled out his plans for converting the 1896 Gehring house interior into an assemblage of luxury apartments. Beside the 30 or so other guests were: Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmartMaine; Ron Savage, Savage Contracting; and Robin Zinchuk, Executive Director, Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Boghossian explained his plans for bringing into being six luxury apartments within the main Gehring House that would at the same time leave the outside of the building looking approximately as it did twenty years after the house was built in 1896.

The main house sits on the north end of a ten acre lot which will be developed into an array of condominium cottages and townhouses south of the existing house. Savage Contracting will take on the job of townhouse building as the first step in this latter part of the project.

 A contractor had not yet (Aug 2011) been decided upon for remodeling of the main Gehring house.

Mr. Boghossian is a board member of GrowSmartMaine. Their Website’s profile of the developer’s activities states that Gehring Green, a project in downtown Bethel, ME is currently underway combining the practices of historic adaptive reuse, smart growth and green building. “This house is very dear to the community”, said Mr. Boghossian, who was honored in 2010 with Maine’s highest award for historic preservation by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. “This sort of intelligent development and preservation is becoming more prevalent throughout Maine,” he concluded. Mr. Boghossian also was recently named to the Preservation Advisory Committee of the Maine State Legislature.

GrowSmartMaine was founded in 2003 as the only statewide non profit organization bringing together efforts related to strengthening Maine’s economy, the environment, and our communities. GrowSmartMaine strives to protect Maine’s “Quality of Place”, which is embedded in the reality and mental images of its old growth forests, rocky coastline, historic downtowns, rolling farmlands, loon calls on still lakes, 3rd generation families that work the fields, the farms, and fisheries; things that make Maine…Maine, while advocating for sustainable economic development. Ms. Smith spoke about her organization’s goals and how the work of Mr. Boghossian is undertaking is very much in line with GrowSmartMaine efforts.

The Gehring House tour  started in the Entertainment Room which will become part of a two bedroom apartment, through the rest of the first floor and then through the main large bedrooms of the second floor. There will be two large apartments on each of these floors; on the third floor two one bedroom apartments will be formed within the confines of the present building.

On the ground floor the entrance foyer will remain a public space and there will be room on this floor for other public facilities. In this way most of the original woodwork finish will be saved. In addition the new owner claims that the hardwood flooring under existing carpeting in the new apartments will outshine the original flooring now visible in the Entertainment Room. The main stairs to the second floor have beautiful railings.

New entrance sign to the Gehring estate which replaces the NTL Institute sign

This 2008 photo of the Gehring property shows the main 1896 building plus the “Entertainment Wing” which was added after 1904. and to the right rear one can see the buildings which made up NTL’s Clusters.  (These buildings had been removed before Mr. Boghossian’s open house.) on August 11, 2011.

How the Gehring’s used their rooms:

Bethel’s 1900 census showed eleven full time residents, four of whom were servants.

Dr. Gehring’s nephews from Cleveland and other members of the Gehring family were regular “boarders”.

Click for more information about Gehring Green and to see a diagram of the proposed development:

  Read  more  about GrowSmartMaine .

And, read more about  Dr. John George Gehring - his extended family.

Paul Boghossian, and owner of the Gehring house,  talked about his plan to change the house’s interior and create four deluxe apartments.  Here he is leading a tour through the main ground floor rooms .  Exterior will remain unchanged as an historic property.

Bathrooms of the earlier era—2008 photo— NTL may have replaced some bathroom fixtures but the tub looks like an original

Second Floor master bedrooms

Inside the Entertainment Wing—this room will become part of a two  bedroom apartment

Tour continued of the main public rooms some of which we continue to be used as public social areas.

Living room and one of the most appealing rooms in the house—the Sunroom

A chance to see the elegant woodwork of the main staircase and railings

PO Box 763

Bethel, Maine 04217

August 2011 view of the property in rear of Gehring house—cleared of NTL buildings which had made up the “Clusters”.

Paul Boghossian