749 Congress Street


749 Congress Street, Portland

The Issue

The historic Bolster House, long occupied by the Hay and Peabody Funeral Home, has been vacant since the funeral home closed in 2005. Located on a large sloping lot with frontage on Congress and Mellen Streets, the building was sold to new owners but remained vacant for several years. The original carriage house at the rear of the property remains and is occupied by two units of housing. Designed by Francis H. Fassett, the historic home and carriage house are contributing buildings in the Congress Street Historic District.

Our Position

Greater Portland Landmarks toured the site in the Spring of 2016 with the development team to view the current conditions of the vacant historic building. The historic building will be rehabilitated using federal and state historic tax credits. Landmarks supports the proposed construction of new townhouses at the rear of the parcel that will economically support the rehabilitation of the historic Bolster House.

Since the beginning of the project the development team worked with their neighbors to resolve site issues and we commend all the parties for working together to help conserve the character of Mellen Street. We also commend the development team for responding to public and board member comments at various city workshops to revise the design of the townhouses. Using characteristics of the traditional townhouse form – a regular rhythm of openings, a more uniform palette of materials, and more prominent pedestrian entrances – the approved contemporary design is in keeping with the historic character and context of urban residential development in Portland’s West End. 

This exciting new project supports Portland’s housing goals with a design that respects neighborhood integrity, provides infill redevelopment on a site close to open space and community amenities, and increases housing density along a well-served public transportation corridor. We are very pleased that this long vacant building will have a new life and help renew the vitality of the western end of the Congress Street Historic District. Greater Portland Landmarks looks forward to its successful development.


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What You Can Do

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