Calais Avenue

Looking down Calais Avenue with Temperance House on right
Looking down Calais Avenue with Temperance House on right
Looking up Calais Avenue with Temperance House on left
Looking up Calais Avenue with Temperance House on left
Looking up Calais Avenue with Temperance House on left
Looking up Calais Avenue with Temperance House on left
Built:c. 1830
Address:
Calais Avenue
Calais, Maine

National Register

Historic District



From National Register of Historic Places
CALAIS RESIDENTIAL HISTORIC DISTRICT, Section number 7, Pages 4 &5:

Calais Avenue, c. 1830, c. 1873 - C

Calais Avenue is comprised of a grass median about forty feet in width which extends from Main Street on the north to Washington Street on the south, a distance of nearly one-thousand feet. It is bordered throughout its length by paved streets each of which is about twenty feet in width. An asphalt paved walkway runs through the middle of the grass median which is lined through much of its length by leaf-bearing trees. Curbing exists only at the north and south abutting road edges. At the head of this Avenue a Congregational Church was built in 1826. According to Reverend I. C. Knowlton's book, Annals of Calais, Maine. "The lot of land and the avenue leading to it, were given in equal shares by Deacon Samuel Kelley and Jones Dyer, Esquire. The money and material were furnished by the citizens generally, without regard to sect or belief. The building committee were Honorable Anson G. Chandler, Dr. S. s. Whipple (then living at the Job Holmes Cottage), and Captain Jarius Keene." In 1849 the Congregational Church was too small f~r the congregation so it was remodeled and enlarged. In 1871 the parish decided to erect a new church and the old one was sold to W. W. Pike and moved to Church street, converted into an opera house, City Hall and public or dance hall. The last meeting was held on May 26, 1872. The new church erected on the west side of Calais Avenue was dedicated in August, 1873. This made it possible for the Avenue, to connect with Washington street from both sides, and for the center walkway to reach Washington street instead of the Church.

On October 29, 1829 Deacon Kelley made a deed to the "Inhabitants of Calais" for an enlarged area around the "avenue of the new meeting house." Although the purpose for doing this is not clearly stated, it appears that Deacon Kelley I s intent may have been to provide a more traditional "town common" setting for the church. Such a setting may have indeed existed for the period of time prior to the removal of the church with Greek Revival style buildings erected along the streets leading up to the church from the north, and the Union Church (8) built at the northeast corner in 1836. The relocation of the Congregational Church in 1873 to a site north of the Sawyer House (2), probably indicates the point in time after which Calais Avenue was extended to Washington street thus assuming its present configuration. Although this created a notable urban design feature for a Maine community, it resulted in the final loss of any vestige of the "town common" landscape.

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