Restoration starts on historic Maine meeting house

Posted Aug. 02, 2008, at 12 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine -&nbsp&nbspAfter 10 years of planning, restoration work gets under way Monday at Portland’ s historic Abyssinian Meeting House, the nation’ s third-oldest black church.

The work represents an attempt to repair decades of neglect to the building that was erected in 1828 in the city’ s East End and was part of the Underground Railroad that helped runaway slaves find freedom.

The initial phase of the work is expected to cost $280,000. The Committee to Restore the Abyssinian hopes to raise $3 million to completely restore the building on Newbury Street and establish a visitors center by 2011.

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