Last week, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced it’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Properties. The Abyssinian Meetinghouse had the dubious distinction of making it on the list. Inclusion on the list indicates the importance of the third-oldest standing African-American meetinghouse in our nation’s history, but also sheds light upon the lack of funding to complete its restoration (you can make a donation, here). The announcement was made on June 19, Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the day in 1965 when slavery was finally abolished in Texas. When I lived in Houston, Juneteenth was really celebrated, it couldn’t pass without one noticing as it does here in Maine. Many people in Maine don’t recognize the holiday, and don’t realize that we have a significant African-American and abolitionist history. Hopefully, this list will bring attention to the one of Maine’s most important artifacts of American history. Preservation Timber Framing is honored to be a part of the restoration process.
The press conference announcing the Abyssinian’s place on the list was rousing, and much more inspiring than other press conferences I’ve been to (and with a reporter dad, I’ve been to a few). It was covered particularly well by the Bangor Daily News, and also by WMTW and WDSH. The story made the cover of the Portland Daily Sun.
The Portland Press Herald published a particularly well-researched editorial to help generate support for the building. I learned about the 1898 shipwreck that drowned 19 congregants and ultimately led to the dissolution of the church. Read the article here.
And remember, the Committee to Restore the Abyssinian takes donations.
Read more about the restoration of Abyssinian.