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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Nathan Clifford School
Reference Number 13000925
State Maine
County Cumberland
Town Portland
Street Address 180 Falmouth Street
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 12/18/2013
Link to full file
The 1909 Nathan Clifford School, which served as an anchor of the Oakdale neighborhood in Portland, Maine for over one hundred years, is significant under Criterion A for its considerable role at the forefront of Portland's educational initiatives. Retaining a high level of architectural significance, the Nathan Clifford School was built to alleviate overcrowding in nearby institutions . Hailed as a model for other school districts when the building opened in 1909, the school features sixteen classrooms (photo 7), a teacher's room (with a fireplace), principal's room (also with fireplace-photo 6) and adjoining reception area, washrooms and a gym in the basement, and an auditorium <;:m _the third floor (photo 11). In addition, the Nathan Clifford School offered a number of important contributions to the educational and social history of the neighborhood and greater region. A sight-saving class for visually impaired students was offered beginning in the 1932 and extended until1964, when it was closed due to declining enrollment. This was the only program of its kind in the state, and provided students with poor eyesight the opportunity to learn in an environment where studies (often done orally) and equipment were designed specifically for them. The Nathan Clifford School is also eligible for listing under Criterion C, for the school's association with its architect, premier designer John Calvin Stevens (1855-1940). Stevens was Portland's leading architect, and designed the building with his son and partner John Howard Stevens (1879-1958). The massing, design, and layout of this Classical Revival structure reflects conscious decisions by Stevens and his son to incorporate the latest advances in technology and educational recommendations, while utilizing space in an efficient, and thought-out manner. Although he designed many schools, the Nathan Clifford School is one of John Calvin Stevens' finest examples in the Classical Revival Style. The Nathan Clifford School retains a high level of architectural significance and has a long social and educational history within the city of Portland. The building's period of significance runs from the beginning of its construction in 1907, to the closing of the unique sight-saving program in 1964.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria