St. Hyacinth's School & Convent 

2 Walker Street, Westbrook  |  2014 Preservation Award Winner

The Issue

The Saint Hyacinth’s School (1893) and Convent (1921) were built on Walker and Brown Streets in Westbrook to serve the French Canadian immigrants that settled in Westbrook to work in the areas mills. The School was designed by Coburn and Son of Lewiston and the convent was designed by Timothy O’Connell of Boston.  In 1963 the last eight grade class graduated from St. Hyacinth’s, but elementary school continued there for a few more years, closing in 1974. The buildings were then home to a Center of Religious Education, a House of Prayer, St. Hyacinth Historical Society, and the Westbrook Food Pantry before being vacated. The buildings were long neglected by deferred maintenance. Both the school and convent suffered from leaking roofs. The leaking roof in the former school had rotted structural timbers, warped wood floors and destroyed interior plaster work. 

Our Position

In 2013 the buildings were listed in the National Register of Historic Places for their architectural and educational significance as well as their association with Westbrook’s Franco-American community. The exteriors of the former school and convent were restored and the interiors rehabilitated for use as a 37-units of housing. The $9.7 million project was financed in part with Federal and State Historic Tax Credits.

Greater Portland Landmarks awarded the Developer’s Collaborative, Avesta Housing and the project team a 2014 Preservation Honor Award to celebrate the preservation and rehabilitation these important former religious buildings now known as Hyacinth Place.

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