[Editor’s note: The following editorial appeared in the Aug. 14, 1986, edition of The Republican Journal, just days after the Greenlaw house was burned.]

We think whatever a person wishes to do with his personal property is his own business. But when a community landmark falls, there is bound to be a gamut of emotions unleashed.

Such was the case this week when the crumpled, old, sagging homestead at Greenlaw’s corner was torched and reduced to ashes under the auspices of the Northport Fire Department. What a homely, dilapidated, beautiful house that was sitting there in weathered gray over the past decades. More often than not it was surrounded by grazing cows that ambled cautiously across its morning and evening shadows.

Perhaps it was the most photographed house in Maine, quite remarkable because of its somewhat out-of-the-way location on what the natives call the back road to Camden. Its fame was astonishing. We know of a college class in Massachusetts that was sent to photograph the Greenlaw house as an assignment. And, conversely, an opportunistic bank in Peoria, Illinois, used photographs of the house in a brochure promoting demolition loans. So much for how things play in Peoria.

In recent weeks, rumors began hinting that the house would be burned because of perceived liability if someone became injured on the structure. Nobody, to our memory, has ever been injured there, not even a cow. But despite the clear warning signs, the owner decided that the best death was ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

There was no forewarning for most people who loved the old house. Its death came quickly. On Monday evening the century-old structure, built with the hands and knowledge of Northporters Wilbert Greenlaw and Asa Pitcher, and of native-grown and -sawn lumber, was consumed in flames that must have reflected a thousand memories as the embers rose into the meadow sky.

The Northport fire chief said the old home was an eyesore and we are better rid of it. And a native who grew up near the house as child and woman said she loved the house and had a heavy heart.

We shall miss the Gray Lady, too.