Time and Temperature Building

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Time and Temperature Building
Time & Temperature buiding, Portland, Maine.jpg
The building viewed from Center Street in Portland
USA Maine location map.svg
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Time and Temperature Building
Location within Maine
Former namesChapman Building
General information
Type High-rise building
Architectural style Neoclassical
Location Portland, Maine, United States
Address477 Congress Street
Coordinates 43°39′26″N70°15′36″W / 43.6571°N 70.2599°W / 43.6571; -70.2599
Completed1924;99 years ago (1924)
OwnerTT Maine Venture LLC
Height184 ft (56 m)
Technical details
Floor count14
Design and construction
Architect(s) Herbert W. Rhodes
[1] [2]

The Time and Temperature Building, originally known as the Chapman Building, and officially 477 Congress Street , is a 14-story office building in downtown Portland, Maine. The building is named after a large three-sided four-element eggcrate display screen on the roof that flashes the local time and temperature. It was built in 1924 as a 12-story building, with Maine's first indoor shopping center on its ground floor. [3] [4] It sits next to the 10-story Fidelity Trust Building. [4] Until the 1970s, these buildings were Portland's only skyscrapers. [5]


The building, one of Portland's tallest, is visible from miles away, including from Peaks Island across the harbor, and it has become a landmark to Portlanders who depend on it for the sign's time and temperature, but also mariners sailing into Portland harbor.

Time and temperature sign

The time-and-temperature sign was added to the building in 1964. [6] In the 1970s, the Portland Savings Bank ran a summertime competition to guess when the sign would first register a temperature of 90 °F (32 °C). [6]

Maine law prohibits flashing messages on signs visible from state highways, but in 1991, the Maine Legislature passed a grandfather clause exemption to allow the Time and Temperature building to use advertising to cover operating costs. [7] A new sign was installed in 1999, which as well as the time and temperature, broadcasts messages consisting of two lines, each with four characters. [7] Advertising messages have included "WMTW NEWS", from television station WMTW-TV, whose studios were located in the building from 1999 until 2015, [8] and "CALL JOE", from advertising lawyer Joe Bornstein. [7] When a snowstorm is severe enough to result in a snow emergency, the sign flashes the words "PARK BAN", to remind people not to park on the street. [7]

In 2010, when a malfunction resulted in the sign going dark, around 60 concerned people contacted the building's owners to let them know. [7]


Entrance to the Time and Temperature Building. TimeAndTemperature.JPG
Entrance to the Time and Temperature Building.

The Chapman Building was designed by local architect Herbert W. Rhodes, who also designed the nearby hotel The Eastland. [9] In 1964, Casco Bank, the owner of the building, added two stories, and installed a flashing time-and-temperature sign on the roof. [6] The addition was incongruent with the original style of the building, but a major renovation in the 1980s more naturally integrated it into the lower floors.[ citation needed ]

In 1995, millionaire philanthropist Elizabeth Noyce's Libra Foundation purchased the building. [10] [6] Renovations were completed in 1996, [1] and a new time-and-temperature sign was installed on the roof in 1999. [7] In 2003, the Libra Foundation sold the building to 477 Congress LLC, a subsidiary of Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates. [6] [4] By 2016, occupancy dropped to 60%, as lack of maintenance had caused tenants to vacate the building. [6] The building was taken into foreclosure by Wells Fargo on May 11, 2016. [6] Building ownership passed to CW Capital Asset Management, a loan servicing company. An inspection in November 2017 by the Portland Fire Department found 19 fire-safety violations. [11] The building was sold at auction for $9.3 million in October 2018 to TT Maine Venture. [3]

In 2023, a planned conversion of the building into a hotel was put on hold due to labor shortages. [12]

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  2. "477 Congress Street". The Skyscraper Center. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  3. 1 2 Anderson, J. Craig (December 21, 2019). "Time & Temperature Building's new owners vow to bring back Portland icon's 'glory days'". Portland Press Herald . Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  4. 1 2 3 Turkel, Tux (November 30, 2003). "Portland's Time and Temperature Building". Portland Press Herald . Retrieved May 31, 2020 via UrbanPlanet.org.
  5. "A Snapshot of Portland, 1924: The Taxman Cometh". Maine Memory Network. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Anderson, J. Craig (May 12, 2016). "Portland's Time & Temperature Building lands in foreclosure". Portland Press Herald . Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Kim, Ann S. (October 12, 2010). "Time out for Portland landmark". Portland Press Herald . Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  8. Anderson, J. Craig (April 18, 2014). "WMTW moving to Westbrook studio occupied by WPME, WPXT". Portland Press Herald . Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  9. Bibber, Joyce K.; Shettleworth, Earle G. Jr. (2007). Portland. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 52, 80. ISBN   9780738550336.
  10. Bell, David; Jayne, Mark (2006). Small Cities: Urban Experience Beyond the Metropolis. Routledge. p. 102. ISBN   9781134212217.
  11. McGuire, Peter (November 22, 2017). "Inspection reveals 19 fire-safety violations at troubled Time & Temperature building". Portland Press Herald . Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  12. Herald, Kay NeufeldPress (July 28, 2023). "The future of Portland's Time & Temperature Building is back in limbo". Press Herald. Retrieved July 28, 2023.