Porteous, Mitchell, & Braun Building

(Maine College of Art)

522 Congress Street, Portland, Maine   |  2013 Preservation Award Winner

The Issue

In the second half of the 20th century, the large department stores that once lined the Congress Street shopping district closed or relocated to suburban shopping centers. The Porteous, Mitchell and Braun Department Store was one of the last department stores to leave downtown in the early 1990s. Its Chicago Style Miller Building with Beaux Arts decoration was briefly used as warehouse storage after the store closed. The loss of key anchors like Porteous was a serious blow to the remaining businesses and tenants along Portland’s major street.

Our Position

In the 1990s the Maine College of Art (MECA) took a leap of faith and acquired the Porteous Building. MECA began the process of rehabilitating the former store and consolidating its programs into this prominent site. The restoration incorporates many of the historic building’s character defining features. The revitalization of this large building has brought new vitality to Congress Street and serves as an important anchor in the city’s Arts District. In 2009 the Miller Building was designated a landmark building in the Congress Street Historic District.

Greater Portland Landmarks awarded the Maine College of Art their 2011 Special Preservation Honor Award to celebrate the preservation and revitalization of this beautiful landmark building in the Congress Street Historic District.


Quick Links

What you Can Do

  • Take our self-guided walking tour of the Congress Street Historic District and visit the Porteous, Mitchell and Braun Building
  • Support the educational programs of Greater Portland Landmarks