“OLD” ST. PATRICK’S
Originally built by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and serving as the original St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, the “congregation without a home” that was St. Patrick’s acquired this church in 1973. It sat in what is now the parking lot, and our address was “North Main Street”. Next door (to the East, and visible in the photo) was a building that was originally a maternity hospital and later became a nursing home, which closed in the early 1980s. St. Patrick’s, in a true “leap of faith”, purchased that property when the nursing home closed, originally planning to convert the home into a parish hall and education facility. The building, however, was discovered to be in much worse condition than originally believed; and it was torn down to make room for a basement.
St. Pat’s – A Church “On the Move”!
With front vestibule and old rear stairs removed, the church building sits on piers awaiting the move East to the new basement. The parish hall, previously referred to as “The Common Room”, occupied the front (Holyoke Street) part of the building, and contained a very small kitchen area. The old rear stairs led from the sacristy to the only “comfort facility” in the building (it couldn’t really even have been called a “bathroom” – maybe a “half-bath”), located in the partial basement that extended from the rear forward, only about 12 feet (4 meters). “People of lesser stature” found it easier to use than most, and no one was sad to “see it go”.
The church was towed across steel beams (by a 4WD pickup!) onto the new basement. The original site was leveled to become our new and first-ever parking lot. A new “front” entry was constructed, the original vestibule was replaced with stairs and a ramp, and in the basement…
AN UNDERCROFT IS “BORN”! We finally had and continue to enjoy our wonderful “function area” with a real kitchen, two (“count ’em”) restrooms downstairs and one “up”, a “stair chair” for those who have difficulty negotiating stairways, and a drive-up door on the lower side for pedestrians and “freight”. Among its many uses, the Undercroft is the “home” of our Tea/Coffee Hours, receptions, the Brewer Ecumenical Food Cupboard, many Diocesan meetings, and a variety of local-use functions by other organizations.