Abyssinian Meeting House, Portland, ME

Abyssinian Meeting House (1828-1831) :     Photo Kate Matison

Abyssinian Meeting House (1828-1831) : Photo Kate Matison

Our first port of call on Saturday morning was the Abyssinian Meeting House ( 1827) at 75 Newbury Street in Portland, a wood-frame building erected between 1828 and 1831, and currently undergoing restoration. The Abyssinian Meeting House is recognized as the 3rd oldest surviving African American meeting house in the country. Portland’s African American community needed their own meeting house to worship without segregation.

President of  the Committee to Restore the Abyssinian, Leonard Cummings greets Richard Starkey :   Photo Kate Matison

President of the Committee to Restore the Abyssinian, Leonard Cummings greets Richard Starkey : Photo Kate Matison

The Abyssinian Meeting House was remodeled by the congregation after the Civil War, providing a place of worship, and a center for social, cultural and educational events. It closed in 1916; but after substantial renovation eight years later, the building was converted into tenement apartments, until 1991 when the building was condemned. The Committee to Restore the Abyssinian bought the former meetinghouse from the City of Portland in 1998 for back taxes, and currently owns the building.

Once inside we saw dramatic signs of a work in progress. Experienced folks  with firsthand knowledge carrying out the restoration were able to explain the finer details to the VAF-NE  group. Pictured here: wide view to back wall,  the front wall, and roof framing.

Click gallery above to start slide show

An interview with the John James, project architect for the restoration

More Information

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s