Nathan Clifford School

180 Falmouth Street, Portland, Maine

The Issue

When the City of Portland announced it would close the 1907 neighborhood school and construct a new building outside the neighborhood, Landmarks, Maine Preservation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation commissioned an alternative study for the school's reuse. Although the alternative study found renovation costs were comparable to new construction it was not enough to alter the state's funding process or stop the city from approving construction of a new school.

Our Position

In March 2010 the Maine Historic Preservation Commission ruled that the building is eligible for the National Register. Landmarks volunteers served on a City task force that recommended the Nathan Clifford School be listed on the National Register of Historic Places before being sold for development. The City of Portland nominated the school to the National Register and it was listed in Fall 2013.

In October of 2013, Developer's Collaborative acquired the former school building from the City and received Planning Board approval for the conversion of the school into twenty-two one to three bedroom units. The development team has redeveloped the building using historic preservation tax credits and preserved the character defining features of the historic school.

Historic neighborhood schools like Nathan Clifford can continue to function as educational facilities or can be converted to new uses, preserving local landmark structures important to the character of the community.

2016 Preservation Award Winner!

Greater Portland Landmarks awarded the Nathan Clifford Residences a 2016 Preservation Award for the adaptive reuse of the former school building.

Project Team:



What you Can Do

  • Support Landmarks' advocacy efforts and education programs.
  • Support local, state, and national organizations that are working to protect these treasured national icons!