The Bell Tower is an iconic structure in the Deering neighborhood. Central Square Baptist Church (now Deering Center Community Church) was constructed in 1907. The Bell Tower is its defining attraction. Inside The Bell Tower are two bells that have been rung throughout the last century.
The church was originally constructed as the Dunn Memorial Chapel 1906-07. It was later called "Central Square Baptist Church." It was named in memory of Reverend Albert Teele Dunn, who served as the STate Secretary of the Maine Baptist Convention and was instrumental in raising building funds for the Central Square Baptist Church construction from parishes across Maine.
Victor Hodgins, a prominent and prolific architect from Bangor, designed the church in the same style and using similar materials as his 1905 St. Mary's Catholic Church, which is listed in the Main Street Historic District in Orono, Maine. In 1914-15 Hodgins designed the Morse Building in Bangor, Maine, which is now used as the University of Maine's art gallery. This building and two of his other structures were included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 as part of Bangor's Great Fire of 1911 Historic District. Portland architects Miller, May and Beal designed and addition for the church building in the 1920s. Miller and Beal also designed the Longfellow Elementary School building in 1951-2 that stands slightly further south on Stevens Avenue.
The stone church is built in the Gothic Revival style, as can be seen in the castellations of the tower below the spire, that quatrefoil exterior ornamentation, irregular trefoil interior form of the nave and the transforms above the pointed Gothic - arched doors. Elements of the Queen Anne style are visible in the decorative stonework which creates ornamentation by utilizing tow different colors of rockfaced ashlar. The ashlar stone of the entire structure is laid in an irregular pattern adding rustic character to an otherwise traditional form. The church's structure itself is also Queen Anne in style due to the tower and general asymmetry of the main Stevens Avenue -facing facade.
The church community had its roots in a communal Sunday school established in 1901 for all denominations but soon became more closely aligned with the First baptist Church in Portland based on a predominantly Baptist membership.
Unfortunately, The Bell Tower is in dire straits. It needs immediate attention and renovation. Many are puzzled by the surrounding fence. The fence has been constructed for safety purposes. The Bell Tower stones have begun to fall and we want our community to be safe.
The Next Step:
We have taken the next step: we have wrapped the Bell Tower. The engineers tells us we need to put a wrapping around the Bell Tower to prevent more stones from falling. The wrap of the Bell Tower was completed in August 2019. It has allowed us to remove the fence around the church. We now have our doors on Pleasant Ave. and Stevens Ave. open once again.
The cost to wrap the Bell Tower is $27,000. We are seeking donations. If you are willing to help us with a tax deductible donation please follow this MAKE A DONATION
This will bring you to the Clover Give page to make a donation. The first time you make a donation you will be asked to set up an account. The steps are easy to follow. Choose the "Bell Tower Fund".
Our sincerest gratitude.