The Temple, Ocean Park, Maine

Dedicated to self-improvement, the camp meeting movement in the late nineteenth century gave rise to hundreds of buildings for multipurpose community assembly throughout the United States. However, few survive today. The Temple, originally known as “Way of Truth Temple” was built in 1881 to be used for an array of religious, cultural and educational programs in Ocean Park. Its unusual octagonal design was typical of the time and common for “Chautauqua” sites. The natural wood post and beam interior structure harnesses its visitors underneath its umbrella, solidifying a sense of community, nature and peace of mind.

B.C. Jordan Memorial Hall, Ocean Park, Maine

Primarily an assembly center for theatrical presentation, concerts, and community meetings, the B.C. Jordan Memorial Hall sits beside The Temple, Porter Hall, and the Bell Tower on a small parcel of land called Temple Square in Old Orchard Beach. Jordan Hall’s exterior with its commanding Federal Style facade, contrasts sharply with its warm and unembellished interior. Natural wood planking and exposed structural elements pervade Jordan Hall’s interior from floor to ceiling, embodying its camp meeting movement intent—popular in the late 19th century—focusing on self-improvement in a natural setting.

Congregation Beth Israel, Bangor, Maine

Officially organized in 1888, Congregation Beth Israel is the oldest continually functioning synagogue in the state of Maine. After the first synagogue was tragically destroyed in a fire that swept through Bangor in 1911, Congregation Beth Israel constructed its current house of prayer using steel and reinforced concrete. Dedicated in 1912, the building designed with a Byzantine Romanesque architectural influence reflects the ambiance of Asia Minor, the area the congregation felt was the origins of Judaism. However, physical alterations to the sanctuary metaphorically reflect the congregations’ continued wishes to merge traditional Jewish practice with modern ideas in ways designed to enrich traditional observance.

Our Lady of Good Hope Church, Camden, Maine

Declining work at her employers’ summer cottage in Camden unless she and fellow Catholic staff could attend Sunday mass, the devotion of domestic worker Mary Molloy is remembered to have incited the 1911 construction of Our Lady of Good Hope. Along with the pioneering Catholic families of Camden, her charitable employers, the Albert H. Chatfields of Cincinnati and other summering families united to build the first Catholic Church in Camden. Although Ms. Molloy did not live to see the Carpenter Gothic style church built, she was cherished as the first service remembered her with a high requiem mass.

Thomaston Bapstist Church, Thomaston, Maine

Founded in 1816, the Thomaston Baptist Church met for nearly twenty years at a temporary site until its current home in downtown Thomaston was constructed in 1837. Originally built in the Greek Revival style, the structure assimilated the styles of the time combining Gothic Revival and Victorian influences when it was fully renovated in 1879. Illuminating its bright, spartan interior, the stained glass windows were generously funded by a prominent local family during the renovation when funds fell short. In 1992, lightning tragically damaged the Church’s steeple. The altruism of the community once again emerged when money to replace the steeple was raised by all religious groups within Thomaston—upholding the philanthropic spirit of its community’s past.

St. Patrick’s Church, Newcastle, Maine

Perched on a hill near the Damariscotta River resides St. Patrick’s Church, the oldest Catholic church in continual use in New England. Completed in 1808, St. Patrick’s was designed by Irish architect Nicholas Codd in the Federal style and houses a bell forged by Paul Revere himself.

Much like the turmoil that occurred during the Revolutionary War, the township of Newcastle fought its own battle when an anti-Catholic sentiment swept the United States in the mid-19th century. Friendship between Newcastle’s Catholics and Protestants saved the church from arson in 1854. The community staved off the mob; no lives were lost and St. Patrick’s survived.

The church, which is constructed of eighteen inch thick brick walls, achieved its founders’ goal of constructing “a good brick church”—unintentionally emblematic of the strong community which it has served for over 200 years.

 

St. Saviour’s Episcopal Parish, Bar Harbor, Maine

St. Saviour’s Episcopal Parish rests on Mount Desert Island in a village originally incorporated as the Town of Eden by Samuel Adams in 1796 until its Bar Harbor name change in 1918. Built in a Gothic Revival and Queen Anne style, the structure is renowned for its ten Louis Comfort Tiffany designed stained glass windows and additional 43 memorial windows; each thoughtfully paying tribute to loved ones, saints and local figures who have touched the lives of its members.

The First Congregational Church of Camden, Maine

Despite setbacks in its early years when assignment of a regular minister was intermittent, the parish of the First Congregational Church of Camden, Maine, which is the oldest church in town, continues to persevere more than two hundred years after its founding in 1805. Built in 1834 and later renovated in 1870 in the Italianate style, the structure’s interior architecture is reserved yet amiable, creating a place for unity and introspection. Quoted from the forward of the church’s 1905 Centennial booklet, “This church has been a benediction to the town. It has pointed the way to God and heaven to three generations. …The town of Camden is a better town for what this church has been and still is…”

Marshall Point Lighthouse, Port Clyde, Maine

Since 1832, the Marshall Point Lighthouse, seated at the entrance of Port Clyde’s harbor, has been a beacon of safety for sailors, lobstermen and fishermen. The St. George Fisherman Memorial, which resides on the same property thoughtfully reads, “Dedicated to all commercial fisherman from the town of St. George who lost their lives at sea.”

The Episcopal Church of Saint John Baptist, Thomaston, Maine

The perseverance of the Episcopal Church of Saint John Baptist is mirrored by the resilience of its austere 1868 Carpenter Gothic style structure. Despite falling into disrepair in the 1950s and encountering financial hardships, its parishioners mended the building in the 1960s, exemplifying the church’s ability to weather adversity and return to its original splendor.