The downtown Portland building is recognized as a historic landmark
November 11 – A historic building in downtown Portland was listed on the National Register of Historic Places this week.
Naming the 163-year-old building at 519 Congress St. will help bring public attention to the building and its preservation needs, Mechanics’ Hall directors said in a statement. It could also open up opportunities for federal funding.
“Mechanics’ Hall is thrilled to receive this significant upgrade to our historic status,” said General Manager Annie Leahy. “The Hall is an amazing representation of Portland’s cultural history and is overdue for repairs that will help preserve this magnificent building and ensure its legacy and influence for decades to come.”
In 2021, Greater Portland Landmarks listed Mechanics’ Hall as one of its “Places at Risk,” a list that draws public attention to threats to buildings and landmarks of historic significance in the Portland area. . Mechanics’ Hall needs a new roof, a project estimated to cost around $1.8 million. The new historic designation will allow the organization to apply for federal funding.
Mechanics’ Hall was built in the late 1850s by the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association. It includes a lending library, a grand ballroom, a lecture hall, and a small classroom often used as gallery space. The building also has two ground floor commercial rental spaces occupied by The Art Mart and the Maine Crafts Association.
“Mechanics’ Hall has been a landmark in downtown Portland since 1859. Its stately presence on Congress Street is testament to the vital contributions the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association and its members have made to the creative life of the city for more than two hundred years,” said Earle G. Shettleworth Jr., Maine state historian.