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January 24, 2018

Historic Orono church converted into reception and performing arts space

An Orono couple has transformed the former St. Mary's Catholic Church in downtown Orono into Old St. Mary's Reception Hall, a venue that includes space for musical and theatrical performances.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Fariba Dayhim and Shahram Pourmomtaz bought the Gothic revival church, rectory and convent in 2010. The church was built in 1905.

The restoration required an enormous amount of work. The plan was to live in one building, rent the other for apartments and restore the church and use it as a multi-purpose arts and event center. Pourmomtaz and a team of local contractors rewired the church, installed new plumbing, sprinkler system, wheelchair lift, fire doors and new heating system, repaired the slate roof, repointed the stone walls, built a parking lot behind the building, moved the 3,500-pound bell from one of the steeples to in front of the church, and renovated the convent and rectory, which now have several rental apartment units.

They've booked several weddings and other events for the summer, have their first event in place and hope to rent out the space for musical and theatrical performances.

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