Grace Restaurant 

15 Chestnut Street, Portland  |  2009 Preservation Award Winner 

The Issue

Formerly the Chestnut Street Church (1836) the building is one of Portland’s few surviving examples of early Gothic Revival architecture. It is also one of the few surviving examples of the work of Charles Alexander, one of the most accomplished local architects of the 1850s and 1860s. The church survived the Great Fire of 1866 while half the city’s churches and commercial buildings were destroyed. The Church was abandoned in 2005 and stood vacant for several years.

Our Position

When local restaurateur Anne Verrill first saw the abandoned church, she realized the beautiful space could become a special new restaurant. The restoration of the church to its original beauty while upgrading it to serve as a high end restaurant was an expensive proposition. The project would not have been possible without the use of historic preservation tax credits.  With a new identity and vibrant role in our community’s life this project preserves a distinctive Portland landmark.

Greater Portland Landmarks awarded Anne Verrill a Special Preservation Honor Award to celebrate her courage and vision in preserving the landmark church, including its beautiful stained glass windows, and in creating a dramatic contemporary interior that celebrates the historic architecture and support its new use as Grace Restaurant. 

For her role in preserving the former churches stained glass windows, Greater Portland Landmarks awarded Robin Neeley a Special Preservation Honor Award. The stained glass restoration preserves a distinctive feature of the landmark building.

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What You Can Do

  • Treat yourself to a meal at Grace Restaurant on Chestnut Street.
  • Download our self-guided walking tour, Stained Glass and Tall Steeples.
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  • Support Landmarks' advocacy efforts.