PORTLAND (AP) – After 10 years of planning, restoration work gets under way Monday at Portland’s historic Abyssinian Meeting House, the nation’s third-oldest black church.

The work represents an attempt to repair decades of neglect to the building that was erected in 1828 in the city’s East End and was part of the Underground Railroad that helped runaway slaves find freedom.

The initial phase of the work is expected to cost $280,000. The Committee to Restore the Abyssinian hopes to raise $3 million to completely restore the building on Newbury Street and establish a visitors center by 2011.


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