History of the Kelsey Mansion:


The Italianate style mansion located at One Walnut Street was constructed around 1850 by Captain Albert Kelsey, famed Lewiston architect and city planner. He also ran the mills in town, so most of the area, ultimately worked for him.


In 1886, the mansion was purchased by Monsignor Thomas Wallace of the Roman Catholic Church, along with the city block located at the corner of Bates Street and Walnut Street, so that St. Patrick's Church could be built. The property was then used as the church rectory until October 2009, when the church closed. The photograph at the left shows the property before the front porch and office were added in 1913, but after St. Patrick's Church was built. 


In 2014, real estate developer Andrew Knight purchased and renovated the property, maintaining and accentuating its historical features while incorporating elements of the modern. It opened as the Inn at the Agora in September of 2014.


In 2018, it changed hands once again, and is now owned and operated by Billie-Jayne and Wess Cooke. Today, at over 8000 square feet, the three-story mansion has fourteen bedrooms and seven bathrooms, five of which are available to families, professionals, lovers, and weary travelers.



Our Suite Stories

The Kelsey Family Suite is named for the original owner and builder if this magnificent home. Captain Kelsey and his wife, son, and daughter resided in the home until it was bought in 1886 to serve as the rectory to St. Patrick's Church. 

The Healy Suite is named for Bishop James Healy, who laid the cornerstone of St. Patrick's Church in 1887. Bishop Healy, born in 1830, was both the first ordained Roman Catholic priest, as well as the first American Roman Catholic Bishop, of African descent. Near the end of his life, he was made assistant to the Papal throne by Pope Leo XIII, a position in the Catholic hierarchy just below that of cardinal. This is the text area for this paragraph. To change it, simply click here and start typing. 

The Gleason Suite is named for Monsignor Paul Gleason, who was pastor of St. Patrick’s Church from 1971 until his retirement in 1991. He was named Honorary Prelate to his Holiness by Pope Paul VI on December 20, 1968. 

The Wallace Suite is named for the builder and first pastor of St. Patrick’s Church, Monsignor Thomas Wallace. Msr. Wallace, in 1886 and partly with his own private funds, purchased the Kelsey mansion and the lot located at the corner of Bates and Walnut Streets. He oversaw the construction of St. Patrick’s Church and remained its pastor from its opening on Christmas, 1890, until his passing in 1906. At his request, a mortuary chapel was constructed directly below St. Patrick’s chapel and in 1910 his remains were brought from Mt. Hope Cemetery and interred in this crypt, where he remained until his body was exhumed and moved back to Mt. Hope Cemetery when St. Patrick’s Church was deconsecrated in 2009.

The newly remodeled Bates Family Suite with Bobcat Den was originally named the McDonough Family Suite. The original suite was named for Rt. Rev. McDonough, who left St. Mary’s in Bangor to become pastor at St. Patrick’s Church in 1906 after the passing of Monsignor Wallace. He remained the pastor until his passing in 1933. In 2022, renovations began on the suite to bring the innkeeper's vision for a themed room catering to our Bates College-oriented guests. The grand opening of the Bates Family Suite with Bobcat Den welcomed its first guests in early spring 2023.

History of the Church and Chapel


In 1886, the Kelsey mansion and approximately one-acre lot were purchased under the direction of Monsignor Thomas Wallace. On June 24, 1887, the cornerstone, which bears the original date, was laid by Bishop James Healy. Construction on the church and chapel continued for over three years, including construction of a 220-foot principal tower and spire – Maine’s tallest – in true Neogothic style and architecture. The church officially opened on Christmas, 1890. 


In 1895, the house and lot just south of the church were purchased, providing a convent for the Sisters of Notre Dame; in 1957 this lot was developed as a parking lot to meet greater demand. In 1927, a Munich manufacturer built and installed the stained-glass windows in St. Patrick’s church, which were removed by the Roman Catholic Church and sold to a Japanese company in 2011. In 1960, the entire church was renovated at a cost of $50,000 (nearly $520,000 in 2023 dollars).


The Portland Diocese closed the church in 2009, its final mass being held in October of that year. The former church and rectory remained vacant until purchased in 2014 by real estate developer Andrew Knight, who immediately acted to protect the church and chapel from the elements and fully renovated the former rectory into a boutique hotel, which opened in September 2014, as the Inn at the Agora. Renovation and construction began on the church and chapel in July of 2015, and on May 7, 2016, these beautiful buildings were reopened as a large events venue, The Agora Grand Events Center, capable of accommodating large conferences, celebrations, and weddings.



Agora Grand Event Center Today