According to Fr. Joseph A. Sirba (, “one out of every 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic.”

I am one.

Nevertheless, like many people driving by the handsome, imposing facade of the vacant St. Joseph’s Church on Main Street in Lewiston, I am saddened at the thought of losing that prominent, historic landmark of the state’s heritage.

Its beauty transcends changing religious views and populations.

I wonder if a creative compromise can conserve something of the building’s profile in the city’s center and its silhouette in the city’s skyline.

An idea: given an imaginative architect, someone who shares admiration for this structure, a respect for both its aesthetic and personal importance, and recognition of Central Maine Medical Center’s practical necessities, could the facade of the building be preserved?

By maintaining the frontage of the building and its two lovely turrets, turning the street-side landscaping into a small park, perhaps with elevated viewing balcony, and replacing the church doors with walkways, could the most visible, memorable and beautiful features of this monument to the Twin City’s heritage be maintained?

The sale of many architectural features would fund much of the the structure’s revitalization.

CMMC would gain the good will of the community, as well as a magnificent gateway to a hidden parking lot in back; the city would gain a permanent remembrance of its culture and avoid another downtown, blacktop blot; and a valuable Maine resource would remain for future generations to admire and esteem.

Lew Alessio, Greene

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