The Abyssinian Meeting House in Portland, which was built before the Civil War by free African-Americans, as seen in this BDN file photo.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine nonprofit is working to restore a historic African-American church building ahead of its 200th anniversary.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Abyssinian Meeting House in Portland is the third-oldest church building in the U.S. built by a black congregation. The building dates back to 1828 and it saw visitors such as Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison.

The Committee to Restore the Abyssinian is now working to raise $1.5 million to transform the building into a history center.

[Landmark buildings key to Portland’s black, Irish histories make the cut on funding list]

Portland City Manager Jon Jennings recently gave the committee $35,000 to help match grant funding. He says the building is “one of the greatest components of our history.”

Jennings and the committee say they plan to reach out to the business committee for a final push in support.

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