The Francis is a gorgeous boutique hotel recently opened on Congress Street. The building underwent two years of restoration and renovation to create guest rooms, a restaurant, and other spaces that both honor the original architecture of the space and give contemporary amenities to guests.

The building located 747 Congress Street is known as the Mellen E. Bolster House. According to The Francis website, the home was designed by Francis Fassett, a well-known figure in Portland's architecture and design field of the 1800s.

What The Francis website doesn't mention is that the building was also used as a funeral parlor. The Hay and Peabody Funeral Home served Portland in the years after it was occupied as a private home. In a vintage postcard featuring the building, the description reads:

...spacious, tastefully decorated, air-conditioned rooms and ample parking facilities. Complete funeral service in a modest price range and 24 hour ambulance service are available.


The beautiful restoration gives very little indication that the space once performed funeral services. The stunning modern guest rooms, the vintage bar and restaurant space, and the perfectly restored brick exterior shout nothing but beauty and charm.

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