WHITEFIELD — The St. Denis Parish Hall, which has stood on Grand Army Road for 150 years, is up for sale.

The Diocese of Portland has listed the historic property, which has two kitchens, a large meeting space, a walk-out basement and parking lot on about 6.5 acres, for $350,000.

While the strong demand for homes is pushing up home prices and driving bidding wars for desirable properties across Maine, it’s unclear what the demand for a commercial building estimated to be more than 9,000 square feet in a rural town of 2,300 people will be.

Grand Army Road, which is also state Route 126, is a busy east-west road that carries traffic from Pittston to Jefferson. The parish hall sits at a bend in the road on the north side not far from a T intersection with Cooper Road, while the church sits on the south side of the road.

Dave Guthro, communications director for the diocese, said the parish plans to build a new hall on the same side of the road as the church.

“You need to cross a busy intersection to get to the hall,” Guthro said via email.


St. Denis is the second-oldest Catholic church in New England, according to the parish’s history. The St. Denis community dates back to 1818 when the then-St. Dennis church was a wooden structure with no pews. By 1833, work had begun on a new brick building for what was then Maine’s largest Catholic community. It was built around the wooden structure, which was dismantled when the outer building was completed.

In 1850, the spelling of the church and parish’s name was changed to St. Denis.

The parish hall, built in 1871, was originally an orphanage and convent and a boarding school for girls operated for about four years. By 1888, however, the building was closed when the orphans and the Sisters of Mercy, who operated the orphanage, were moved to Portland.

This is not the first church property to be sold in central Maine in recent years.

In 2016, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Augusta was listed for sale. Along with the church itself, the auxiliary church buildings, including a parish hall were listed for sale. This was after the church’s congregation decided the money it was spending on upkeep could be better spending helping people. The property was purchased in 2018.

In Gardiner, the former Congregational Church on Church Street found new life in 2015 as the home of Lost Orchard Brewing Co., which bought the building for a tasting room. But when that business folded, the historic building once again became the home of a church, the Life Community Church in 2019.

In Waterville, the Sacred Heart Catholic Church complex is under a purchase-and-sale agreement, with the prospective owner planning to use the property for events and other gatherings.

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