LEWISTON — The demolition of St. Joseph’s Church Rectory is imminent, but the abutting 159-year-old church is safe from the wrecker for now.

Central Maine Healthcare spokesman Chuck Gill said the hospital is looking for historical tax credits to help renovate the church.

“We are still looking at the facility to see if we have a use for it,” Gill said. “We’ve looked at it and decided the rectory is not salvageable. So only the rectory is being taken down at this time.”

Gill said the land under the rectory, at 253 Main St., likely would be used for hospital parking.

Central Maine Healthcare bought the 257 Main St. church and the adjacent buildings for $125,000 in May 2013 and filed an application to demolish the building two months later. The health group, the parent company of Central Maine Medical Center, withdrew its demolition plans in August to look for alternative uses.

The buildings on the property include the Victorian and Gothic-themed church and the three-story Victorian rectory.

The church building includes a three-bay sanctuary, a basement and a balcony with access to a belfry. The church is about 8,500 square feet and the rectory is about 3,500 square feet.

According to an architectural and structural study and review of the church filed by Central Maine Healthcare, the building’s cornerstone was laid in 1854 and it opened three years later.

The church itself was designed by Irish-born architect Patrick C. Keely, who designed more than 600 churches around the world, including four in Maine.

Basement frescoes were added in 1877, stained-glass windows in 1917 and 12 bronze bells in 1926. It was placed on the National Historic Register in 1989.

The Catholic Diocese decommissioned the church in 2009 and the frescoes and stained-glass windows were removed.

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