Agora Grand Event Center
|Agora Grand Event Center|
|Former names||St. Patrick's Church|
|Location||220 Bates Street, Lewiston, Maine, Maine|
|Design and construction|
The Agora Grand Event Center is a large event venue in Lewiston, Maine, specializing in weddings, meetings, and community gatherings. The venue includes an on-site chapel, a state-of-the-art sound system, custom lighting, a VIP lounge created in the former choir balcony, a private bedroom at the base of one of the towers, and a bar created from repurposed elements from the former pipe organ.
The Agora Grand was created by renovating the former St. Patrick's Church, a Roman Catholic church whose cornerstone was laid on 24 July 1887 by the Right Reverend Bishop Healy and last Mass was held in October, 2009. At 220 feet to its taller spire, it is the tallest building in Maine, based on the definition of "height to architectural top" by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. It was purchased in March, 2014, by developer Andrew Knight, who opened the Agora Grand in May, 2016. Knight's wedding was the first at the venue and he received an award from the Lewiston Historic Preservation Board for his work in reviving the building.
In 2014, Knight converted the former St. Patrick's Church Rectory, also known as the Albert Kelsey Mansion, into a boutique hotel. The former church contains a mortuary chapel and basement crypt in which the church's original builder and priest, Monsignor Thomas Wallace, was buried from 1906 to 2007, when his body was exhumed and moved to Mt. Hope Cemetery. In 2015, Knight converted the former crypt into a novelty annex of the Inn at the Agora, reportedly the world's first 'crypt hotel room.'
An 1896 account in The Sacred Heart Review describes the structure:
St. Patrick's Church, a beautiful Gothic structure of brick, with rockfaced granite foundations, has an unsurpassed situation, as it faces directly on the public park and stands commandingly over the lower levels of the city, surmounted as it is by two graceful spires that rise to heights of 220 and 160 feet respectively. It is 180 feet long and 65 feet wide, and has a comfortable seating capacity of 1,000. It is a seven-bay edifice, its brick buttresses being doubly barged in cut granite ; and the side walls are further trimmed in white North Jay granite at the springs and tips of the window-arches.
- Schneider, Karen (March 20, 2016). "A GRAND rebirth for St. Patrick's Church | sunjournal.com". www.sunjournal.com. Lewiston Sun-Journal. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
- Renovations underway at Agora Grand Events Center
- Sadliers' catholic directory, almanac and clergy list quarterly. D.&J. Sadlier & Co. 1888. pp. 28–.
- St. Patrick's Holds Final Mass
- "St. Patrick's Church". The Lewiston Daily Sun. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- "Criteria for Defining and Measuring Tall Buildings". Retrieved 2017-04-23.
- Zoning Change Sought for Lewiston Church Property
- Taylor, Scott (May 20, 2016). "History, memories and weddings tied up in Agora Grand renovation | sunjournal.com". www.sunjournal.com. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
- Inn at the Agora brings new life to Lewiston's St. Patrick's Rectory
- 'World's first' crypt hotel room opens in Maine
- "ST. PATRICK'S PARISH, LEWISTON". The Sacred Heart Review. 16 (7). 15 August 1896. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
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