A Historic Home Fit for the Gods in Portland, Maine

Image courtesy of the Portland Press Herald.

Every Sunday growing up my parents would take us to our local Catholic church; it was called the “Beach Chapel” since it was close to the shore and smaller and less formal than the main site. Religion aside, there was always something comforting about the ritual and the way in which, for at least that hour, there was nothing to worry about. When I saw a quaint church for sale in South Portland, Maine, I wondered if that feeling of warmth would remain even in a residential conversion. My assumption: a resounding yes!
The history of First United Methodist Church, also known as Brown’s Hill Methodist Church, dates all the way back to 1800 when Methodists began holding meetings in Portland. Twenty-four years later the meeting house was moved to its current location at 179 Ridgeland Avenue. Here is has stood ever since, now waiting for a creative and lucky buyer to turn it into their new home.


Image courtesy of the Portland Press Herald.

The building has more than a few interesting stories in to tell. In 1871, a bell cast in Paul Revere’s Boston foundry was placed in the steeple. In 1932, this steeple was struck by lightning and replaced with one 20 feet shorter, which concerned the Coast Guard as they had used it as a beacon to guide ships into the Portland Harbor. Due to structural damages, the second steeple was removed completely in 1997, and the famous Revere Bell now sits on the property’s lawn (look closely at the top picture!).
Designated an historic landmark in 1988, the church has plenty to offer for a residential conversion. The main worship area is open and airy, with high ceilings and tall windows. Its pipe organ, built in 1888 in Boston by Cole and Woodbury, is a beautiful artistic decoration, as well as musical treasure. The offices, fit with traditional moldings and built-in bookshelves, could easily serve as bedrooms, and the possibilities are endless for the spacious, kitchen-equipped basement.
On August 25, 2013, the First United Methodist Church closed due to declining membership and increased maintenance costs–a trend throughout the country. On the market for $200,000, the church is a dream palette for for a creative designer and architect. And with the right TLC, it is sure to provide that Sunday-style comfort for its residents.
More photos of this beauty can be found HERE.

Image courtesy of the Portland Press Herald.

Dana Schulz is a writer and lover of urban exploration, culinary history, and, most of all, old houses. Her dream home would have a wrap-around porch to host dinner parties featuring tasty treats prepared in her vintage kitchen, complete with a farmhouse sink, retro refrigerator, and collection of milk glass containers.

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