Maine Civic Halls Initiative

The Maine Civic Halls Initiative, a shared project of Maine PreservationFriends of Liberty Hall, and Greenhorns seeks to preserve, restore, and support the role of civic halls as critical rural community-building resources in Maine.

Our goal is much bigger than a classic concept of architectural preservation. The idea is to support community power-building and pride of place, fostering a sense of shared ownership and belonging, participation, stewardship and community engagement – all easier to achieve when surrounded by the gracious beauty and sturdy facilities of a civic hall and a healthy, functioning, community organization.

Drawing on the expertise of historians, government officials, community leaders, business owners, economists, and active Grangers and Masons, and citing original research, Greenhorns produced a report on the current status of civic halls of Washington and Hancock counties, which was presented to the public in July 2023.

Download the Civic Halls Report!

If you are a Maine civic hall steward, please consider participating in the 2024 statewide survey by clicking here.


For more information, email [email protected].

Funding Opportunities

Past Events

On March 13, 2024, the Maine Civic Halls Initiative was featured on WERU’s Talk of the Towns, in an episode entitled “Revitalizing Maine’s Civic Halls.” Guests Severine Welcome (Greenhorns), Tara Kelly (Maine Preservation), and Carol Korty (Lamoine Grange and Lamoine Community Arts) discussed the history of civic halls in Maine, and the current state of their preservation and reuse.

Listen to the episode online here.

On December 5, 2023, the Cultural Alliance of Maine, Greenhorns, the Maine Arts Commission, and Maine Preservation held an All Hall Call, which featured peer-to-peer conversations about the challenges, opportunities, and future of preserving and enlivening Maine's civic network of rural community cultural spaces. This convening was a continuation and expansion of the Maine Civic Halls Initiative, and was a step toward further community-building and resource-sharing events.

On July 29, 2023, at Liberty Hall in Machiasport, we held a community event to present the report's findings and to ruminate together on the future of civic halls. The roundtable conversation of experts included Crystal Hitchings of the Sunrise County Economic Council, Tara Kelly from Maine Preservation, Mollie Cashwell from the Cultural Alliance of Maine, and Martha Piscuckas, of Maine Arts Commission and formerly of Waterfall Arts. In addition, Michelle Hauser installed a pop-up photographic exhibition featuring work from her series Meeting Hall Maine.

Plaster Resources

In 2023 we hosted a natural plaster restoration and repair workshop with Liz Johndrow of Earthen Endeavors, in collaboration with Mano en Mano and Maine Preservation.

Thank you to Liz and Jonathan Hall from Maine Preservation for sharing the below resources.




Funding Opportunities

We are on the lookout for grants and other funding opportunities for preservation, restoration, and adaptive reuse of civic halls, whether as groups of properties or individually. These will be posted here moving forward.

Meeting Halls: Washington and Hancock Counties

by Michelle Hauser


From left to right, top to bottom:

  • Governor Brooks Odd Fellows Lodge #142 (Brooksville)
  • American Legion Cobscook Post #59 (Pembroke)
  • Pleiades Masonic Lodge #173 (Milbridge)
  • Perry Grange #324 (Perry)
  • Alexander Grange #304 (Alexander)
  • Blue Hill Odd Fellows Lodge #79 and Ira Berry Masonic Lodge #128 (Blue Hill)
  • Former Odd Fellows Lodge #133 (Brooklin)
  • Jonesport Masonic Lodge #188, also home to Jonesport Historical Society (Jonesport)
  • Indian River Grange #330 (Addison)
  • Old Surry Village School (Surry)
  • Castine Grange #250 (Castine)
  • Former West Bay Grange (Gouldsboro)
  • Former Joshua Davis Odd Fellows Lodge #145 (Stonington)
  • Former Lubec Grange #434 (Lubec)
  • Jonesboro Grange #357 (Jonesboro)

Michelle Hauser is a South Thomaston-based photographer whose work showcasing civic halls was most recently displayed at the Maine State House in 2023; these photographs will also be on exhibit at the Blue Hill Library in May 2025. Since 2018 she has criss-crossed the state to document Maine's historic community buildings, often capturing them before later stages of decay and destruction. She posts her architecture photographs on Instagram at @meeting_hall_maine.

Civic Halls on EarthLife

Like many rural landscapes in the United States, Downeast Maine takes pride in self-sufficiency, abundant natural resources, and close-knit communities. This is a region that invested heavily in community infrastructure during the hayday of ship building, logging, quarrying—a time whose rich material culture lives on in the many community halls that persist to this day. Washington and Hancock Counties, where we live, boast a tremendous density of surviving historic buildings and civic halls. These halls have hosted upwards of 100 years of bean suppers and community events. How do we preserve these precious spaces where we can meet and work together for a more resilient future? This episode of EarthLife is dedicated to the civic architecture of our region, cherishing, preserving, refurbishing, and welcoming in the next generation of hall users.