[Editor’s note: This article appeared on the front page of the Aug. 14, 1986, edition of The Republican Journal.]

By Nancy Finman

The reaction is the same everywhere around town — disbelief. On Monday evening, the Northport Fire Department, acting on a request from the landowner, burned down the collapsing old house on Greenlaw’s Corner in Northport. The burning took place despite a public outcry that the house, which had long been a favorite sight among tourists and residents, be spared.

The reasons for taking down the house are still unclear, although Fire Chief Bill Paige said the dilapidated house was too much of a liability to the owner. Beyond that, Paige suggested, “It’s a nuisance. He’d just like to get rid of it.” But attempts to reach the owner, Stanley Sreda, of Sharon, Mass., were unsuccessful.

Sreda purchased the property as a trustee for the Greenlaw Farm Family Trust in May of this year. The house, along with more than 400 acres, had been part of the Charles Rhodes estate. Rhodes had been a hired hand on the property for much of his working life and bought the farm to preserve it when Vera Greenlaw, the last of the family, died.

The house had become one of the most photographed in the state, featured in a National Geographic article in June 1977, as well as in other magazines. A photo of the house was included as a warning to homeowners in a brochure on home improvement loans distributed by a savings bank in Peoria, Ill.

“Everyone called it ‘our house’,” said Peg Miller, a native of Lincolnville who grew up near the house and has many connections to it. She said that letters from out-of-state friends often begin with the question, “How’s our house doing?”

Miller was shocked when she learned that the house had been destroyed. “I’ve got a heavy heart, I can tell you. It’s just like a friend’s house had burned.”

Miller said that the house had been built around the turn of the century by Wilbert Greenlaw. Greenlaw was assisted by Asa Pitcher, a carpenter who was her husband’s grandfather. The house was a beauty, she said, with inlaid wooden floors and finely crafted mantels. The house had been occupied until about 50 years ago, she said, when Vera Greenlaw decided to turn the lot into pasture for her dairy cows.

Miller says the house didn’t begin to really deteriorate until about 20 years ago, and she suspects the whole thing would have collapsed this winter.

Greenlaw’s Corner is strangely vacant now, with nothing but a pile of rubble to remind residents of the old house. But locals aren’t likely to forget the house too soon.

“I’m very afraid that the people who burned it down got off on the wrong foot in the neighborhood,” Miller said.