Cupola moved to a new location for restoration

CROSS THE CAUSEWAY – It was a sight to see Thursday morning as the historic dome was transported across the Naples Causeway by Double R Crane Services, Inc. (From Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk


NAPLES – Many oversized loads are carried on the roads of Maine in the wee hours of the morning.

It was a sight to see as such an oversized load – the cupola of the Bay of Naples hotel – was hauled across the Causeway from Naples early Thursday morning. The very recognizable dome was on a trailer bed. Behind were two trailers containing the dismantled roof of the dome.

The Cupola has a vibrant history in Naples, as the belfry atop the turn-of-the-century luxury hotel that overlooked Long Lake. During the period of 1963 and 1964, the old hotel was demolished and burnt down. However, one of the two cupolas ended up in the hands of a local campground owner. About 10 years ago, the dome was ceded to the city of Naples. In 2020, the inhabitants of Town Meeting decided to give up ownership. The dome sparked such passion among residents – some favoring its preservation through the city’s efforts and others preferring that a private entity pay for its relocation and restoration.

GET A LIFT – The team at Double R Crane Services, Inc., based in Poland, remove the dome from the trailer bed in order to place it on sauna tubes on the Naples barn property. The cupola, at the Bay of Naples hotel, was moved to its new space early Thursday morning. (Photo by Busk)

Eventually, it was a local businessman, Dan LaJoie, who stepped in to ensure the dome would be preserved and return to its original appearance. He becomes the owner of the dome. He organized the logistics necessary for the transport of the structure.

At 5 a.m. on Thursday morning, the cupola was transported via a flatbed trailer and semi-truck from the campground off Highway 114, across the roadway to the barn lawn. from Naples. Leading the procession was a police vehicle from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), and a second cruiser took the caboose.

LaJoie was present from start to finish during the transport. He helped level it when the crane lowered the dome onto the sauna tubes on his property. The new dome resting place is on the left side of the Naples Barn.

“I’m just happy he’s here, finally, after 56 years in a campsite. I’m glad it’s here, ”said LaJoie. “I’m really happy with Double R Crane Services, Phil Audets and the whole team. It went as well as expected. We were very prepared for it. “

The entire dome weighs between 17,000 and 20,000 pounds. Without the roof, it weighs 10,500 pounds, according to LaJoie.

One aspect of the cupola transport that drove the cost up was paying the utility companies to remove the wires. This was avoided because the high, pointed roof was removed, reducing the height of the structure.

“I was the one who surgically cut the lady in half to get her on the trailer. Yesterday we put the tops in and everything went well, ”said Mike Seymour of

Authentic Timber Frames, one of the carpenters involved in the dome restoration project.

READY FOR RESTORATION – Thursday, after the dome has been moved to its new location next to the Naples Barn, Dennis LaLiberte, Phil Audets and Dan LaJoie stand outside the structure. (Photo by Busk)

“We put all the boards on the roof. I just secured all the framing. It needs a new roof and a lot of TLC, ”Seymour said Tuesday.

One amazing thing he discovered is that the

“It’s a single polygon. There are 14 sides: 14 hip or rafters, 14 windows and 14 sills. There are 14 of everything, ”Seymour said.

In geometry, a fourteen-sided polygon is called a tetradecagon or tetrakaidecagon.

As expected, the feedback from passers-by has been overwhelmingly positive

“I get a lot of smiles. People seem to like it, ”Seymour said. “It’s good enough here because it’s historic. Dan bought the beautiful farm years ago and restored it.

For an older structure that has been exposed to Maine weather, the dome is in good condition.

“It’s in good condition, very little rot. There has always been decent air around her, ”Seymour said.

LaJoie agreed.

“For 56 years of sitting outside, the thing is really in great shape. For the time it has been exposed to the elements, it is a really well preserved structure. You would expect a lot more deterioration, ”he said.

LaJoie reported on what work had been done in the days following the move.

“The roof is completely back in place. Now we are going to reassemble it and replace the wood that needs to be replaced. Finally, we’ll put the windows in. Before winter, we want to make it waterproof so that there is no snow, ”he said.

LaJoie said the graffiti will be removed. Its concept is to restore the appearance of a dome from the late 1800s to the structure.

“We are going to make it as original as possible. We’re going to make it look like it should be, ”he said.

When asked if he plans to open the cupola as a tourist attraction or charge people an entrance fee or a donation, once the reconstruction is complete, LaJoie declined to look that far into the ‘to come up.

“I don’t know what the future will be. The goal is to preserve it and not let it deteriorate more than it has, ”he said.

“It’s under construction. No one can visit it. It’s something that people can stop and take a picture of, but we don’t want people hanging around in the dome, ”he said.

“We are going to have this as new in 60 days,” he said.

Audets is the roofer who also works on the dome. He was among the people who saw the structure being transported. He said he couldn’t wait to fix it.

“It’s pretty neat to restore something old,” Audets said. “It will be a good piece of history to be a part of.”

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