Title

Portland's Abyssinian Meeting House, built by a group of free black citizens in

Authors

Monica Wood

Source

Down East

Date

3-1-2011

Pages

54-57, 73-74

Abstract

Portland's Abyssinian Meeting House, built by a group of free black citizens in 1828, served as a gathering place for leaders of the Underground Railroad, housed one of the first African-American public schools in the U.S., and is the third-oldest surviving African-American church in the country. Though it escaped the Great Fire of 1866, it was later chopped into tenements and devolved into a derelict eyesore. Deborah Cummings Khadraoui and her father Leonard Cummings have made it their mission to restore the building. Arron Sturgis of Preservation Timber Work exposed the timber-frame structure in layers like "an onion" and says the restoration will "require far less conjecture than we expected." With details on the history of the church, the clues that are guiding its restoration, and the architectural beauty that is beginning to be revealed.

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