The Peirce School is a two story brick and granite structure occupying approximately 3729 square feet of the property, consisting of approximately 11,187 square feet of area in the three levels. It is located in the Belfast Historic District (green area, below) at 24 Church Street, at the intersection of Church Street and Elm Street, in Belfast, Waldo County, Maine.

The school is divided into three levels consisting of a basement, first floor, and second floor. It is zoned Residential-1, which allows several uses, including a single residence, a two family residence, a school, professional offices, bed and breakfast, and others. The property covers approximately 0.74 acres and consists of two tax lots (
Tax Lot 1 and Tax Lot 2). A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment was completed in 2007 and is available for download here (9MB).

Financial Incentives for Renovation

Buildings located in the Historic District may qualify for
20% federal tax credit and 25% state tax credit for renovation. Local financial incentives include those relating to housing rehabilitation, loans and grants, and tax incentives. Documents are available on the Contact page.

Michael D. Johnson, Grants and Easements Review / Technical Advisor and Rehabilitation Tax Incentives Coordinator at the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, and Thomas Kittredge, Economic Development Director of the City of Belfast may be of assistance with these programs.


In 1900, one hundred students were registered for high school, but only 90 seats could fit in the ancient structure which had been built in 1824. By 1904, the number of students had risen to 116, and the pressure to build a new high school increased every year. Unfortunately, no funds were available for a new school.

In 1907 the Inspector of Buildings condemned the old high school building, and the City set about funding the construction of a new school. The Peirce inheritance, along with funds from benefactor Ira Cobe, the City of Belfast, the Waldo Trust Company, and City National Bank were combined to fund the building of the new school, which was built on the site of the old South Primary School. It was named the Peirce School and opened in November of 1915.

An overview of the history of the building was
recently described by Ethan Andrews of the Penobscot Bay Pilot, and more recently by Ben Holbrook of the Republican Journal.

In 2007, the property was purchased from the City of Belfast by William Ryan, for the establishment of the Belfast Academy of Music.

Most recently, preparations have been made for auction on Wednesday August 28, 2013, by
Keenan Auction Company of Maine.

A preview is scheduled for Wednesday August 14 at 10 - 11 am.

City of Belfast

Belfast is a coastal city located at the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River, on Penobscot Bay, in Waldo County, Maine. It was incorporated as a town in 1773, and as a city in 1853, the eighth in Maine; it has a population of 6668.

Belfast was settled by Scots-Irish from Londonderry, New Hampshire, in 1770 and developed as a major shipbuilding center during the 19th century. These shipbuilders became wealthy, and built the Federal, Greek Revival and Italianate mansions and civic architecture for which the city is noted, including the 1818 First Church by master-builder Samuel French, and the 1857 Custom House and Post Office by noted architect Ammi B. Young, and the Peirce School.

In 1962, Route 1 was rerouted around the City, and an important recession occurred during the 1970s. These events helped to preserve the City, and a rebirth began during the 1980s, when many of these stately structures were restored.

economic development has been proceeding rapidly. More information about Belfast is available at