The cupola is removed from the Bay of Naples Inn before the building is destroyed in 1964. Contributed / Merry Watson file photo

The decade-long hoopla over the historic cupola in Naples may soon be coming to an end.

The Naples Select Board voted unanimously earlier this month to transfer ownership of the cupola that once adorned the Bay of Naples Inn to the owner of the land, a former campground, where the structure now sits.

If all goes well, the cupola will be relocated to the Naples Barn on Roosevelt Trail.

“My plans are of course to restore it and make it beautiful again,” said Naples Barn owner Dan Lejoie. “It’s quite a project but we’re looking forward to it.”

The cupola that formerly crowned the Bay of Naples Inn has since fallen into disrepair. File photo

The town has been paying landowner Mark Copeland a $100 a month storage fee since last year after a plan to deed the cupola over to him in February 2020 fell through. Copeland donates the money back into the town’s General Assistance fund, Town Manager John Hawley said this week.

Copeland is working with the campground’s former owner, Jamie Ruhlin, and Lejoie to relocate the cupola to Lejoie’s property.

Copeland bought the property on Campfire Drive from Michael Courtney in 2018, who bought the property from the Ruhlin family the year prior. The cupola was left out of the sale agreement in both instances.

“My plans are of course to restore it and make it beautiful again,” Lejoie said. “It’s quite a project but we’re looking forward to it.”

Copeland will eventually gift ownership of the cupola to Lejoie and in exchange, Lejoie will cover the costs of its relocation and rehabilitation.

Copeland did not return a request for comment.

The 22-foot-wide, 40-foot-tall structure once crowned the Bay of Naples Inn, which was built in the late 1890s. The cupola was kept intact when the inn was torn down in 1964 and was moved to a hill overlooking the Causeway, Ruhlin said this week.

It remained there for a few years until the town moved it to the former campground, which Ruhlin’s family bought in 1974. One of his father’s last wishes before he passed away in 2009 was to donate the cupola to the town, Ruhlin said.

“The town accepted it and passed money through Town Meeting a year or so after that to move it and renovate it,” Ruhlin said. “They had even staked out an area in yellow caution tape where it was going to reside,” but a veterans’ memorial was put in its place and the funds were applied elsewhere.

When the Bay of Naples Inn was torn down in 1964, the cupola, shown in this photo, was saved. Contributed / Merry Watson file photo

Naples residents rejected a warrant article in 2018 that would have appropriated $41,500 for moving and repairing the cupola and voted 21-17 at last year’s town meeting to dispose of it.

Ruhlin said that after last year’s meeting, he asked the town to return ownership to him. He began speaking to potential takers on how they would preserve the cupola and selected Lejoie. The Select Board agreed to return the cupola but the agreement was not finalized before the April 12 vote, when they agreed to transfer the ownership to Copeland.

Lejoie told the select board April 12 that he could relocate the cupola in about 90 days. Ruhlin said the current “theory” for how to move the structure without having to pay Central Maine Power to temporarily relocate power lines is to split the entire structure vertically in half.

Ruhlin said he has “bowed out” of any further discussions, and it’s now up to Copeland and Lejoie to set the plans in motion.

He said that “it’s been a pretty frustrating 11 years, 12 years” but “finally we’ve got a plan.”

Comments are not available on this story.