1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Portland (Maine)
PORTLAND, the largest city of Maine, U.S.A., the county seat of Cumberland county, and a port of entry, on Casco Bay, about 115 m. by rail N.N.E. of Boston. Pop. (1890), 36,425; (1900), 50,145, of whom 34,918 were born in Maine, 3125 in the other New England states, 4476 in Canada, and 3273 in Ireland, and 291 were negroes; (1910 census) 58,571. Portland is served by the Maine Central, the Boston & Maine, and the Grand Trunk railways; by steamboat lines to New York, Boston, Bar Harbor, Saint John, N.B., and other coast ports, and, during the winter season, by the Allan and Dominion transatlantic lines. It is connected by ferry with South Portland.
The hilly peninsula, to which Portland was confined until the annexation of the town of Deering in 1899, is nearly 3 m. in length by about ¾ m. in average width; at its east end is Munjoy Hill, 160 ft. above the sea, and its west end Bramhall Hill, 15 ft. higher. Portland's total land area is about 21½ sq. m. The scenery in and about the city is noted for its picturesqueness, and this, with its delightful summer climate and historic interest, attracts a large number of visitors during the summer season. Munjoy Hill commands a fine view of Casco Bay, which is overlooked by other wooded heights. There is excellent yachting in the bay, which contains many beautiful islands, such as Peaks and Cushing's islands. Bramhall Hill commands an extensive view west and north-west of the bay, the mainland, and the White Mountains some 80 m. distant.
Bramhall Hill; the Eastern Promenade, on Munjoy Hill; Fort Allen Park, at the south extremity of the latter promenade; Fort Sumner, another small park farther west, on the same hill; Lincoln Park, containing 2½ acres of beautiful grounds near the centre of the city; Deering's Oaks (made famous by Longfellow), the principal park (50 acres) on the peninsula, with many fine old trees, pleasant drives, and an artificial pond used for boating; and Monument Square and Boothby Square. There are many pleasant drives along the shore of the bay or the banks of rivers, and some of these lead to popular resorts, such as Riverton Park, on the Presumpscot; Cape Cottage Park, at the mouth of the harbour; and Falmouth Foreside, bordering the inner bay.
The streets of Portland are generally well paved, are unusually clean, and, in the residence districts, where the fire of 1866 did not extend, they are profusely shaded by elms and other large trees—Portland has been called the “Forest City.” Congress Street, the principal thoroughfare, extends along the middle of the peninsula north-east and south-west and from one end of it to the other, passingin the middle of its course through the shopping district.
that is excellent; and there are a number of buildings of historic interest. The Post Office, at the corner of Exchange and Middle streets, is of white Vermont marble and has a Corinthian portico. The granite Customs House, extending from Fore Street to Commercial Street, is large and massive. The Public Library building is Romanesque and elaborately ornamented; the building was presented to the city by James P. Baxter; in the library is the statue, by Benjamin Paul Akers (1825-1861), of the dead pearl-diver, well known from Hawthorne's description in The Marble Faun. The Cumberland County Court House, of white Maine granite, occupies the block bounded by Federal, Pearl, Church and Newbury streets; immediately opposite (to the south-west) is the Federal Court building, also of Maine granite. The Portland Observatory, on Munjoy Hill, erected in 1807 to detect approaching vessels, rises 222 ft. above tide-water. In Monument Square, the site of a battery in 1775 is a soldiers' and sailors' monument (1889), a tall granite pedestal surmounted by a bronze female figure, by Franklin Simmons; at the corner of State Street is a statue of Henry W. Longfellow by the same sculptor; and where Congress Street crosses the Eastern Promenade, a monument to the first settlers, George Cleeve and Richard Tucker. On the Western Promenade there is a monument to Thomas Brackett Reed, who was a native and a resident of Portland. On Congress Street, below the Observatory, is the Eastern Cemetery, the oldest burying ground of the city; in it are the graves of Commodore Edward Preble, and of Captain Samuel Blythe (1783-1813) and Captain William Burroughs (1785-1813), who were killed in the engagement between the British brig “Boxer” and the American brig “Enterprise,” their respective ships, off this coast on the 5th of September 1813. The cemetery also contains monuments to Alonzo P. Stinson, the first soldier from Portland killed in the Civil War, to the Portland soldiers in the War of Independence, and to Rear-Admiral James Alden (1810-1877), of the U.S. Navy, a native of Portland. Among the churches are the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Roman Catholic), with a spire 236 ft. high, and St Luke's (Protestant Episcopal) Cathedral. In the Williston Church (Congregational), in Thomas Street, the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor was founded in 1881 by the Rev. Francis E. Clark, then pastor of the church. The finest residence district is on Bramhall Hill. Many houses, especially in State, Danforth and Congress streets, are simple in style and old-fashioned in architecture. Of special interest to visitors is the Wadsworth-Longfellow House—the early home of Henry W. Longfellow—which was built in 1785-1786 by General Peleg Wadsworth (1748-1829), a soldier of the War of Independence, a representative in Congress from 1793 to 1807, and the grandfather of the poet; was given by Longfellow's sister, Mrs Anne Longfellow Pierce (1810-1901) to the Maine Historical Society; and contains interesting relics of the Wadsworth and Longfellow families, and especially of the poet himself. Behind the “Home” is the Library of the Maine Historical Society. The birthplace of Longfellow is now a tenement house at the corner of Fore and Hancock streets, near the GrandTrunk railway station.
1897) is held every year in October, three concerts being given by a chorus composed of local choruses trained in different cities of the state for the festival.
Among the institutions are: The Medical School of Maine, the medical department of Bowdoin College—instruction being given here during the last two years of the course; Westbrook Seminary (chartered in 1831, and empowered to grant degrees in 1863); the Public Library, containing (1910) 65,000 vols.; the Library of the Maine Historical Society (30,000 vols.); the Mechanics' Library, the Greenleaf Law Library, the Maine General Hospital, and the United States Marine Hospital. The Portland Society of Natural History, founded in 1843 and incorporated in 1850, has a building (1880) containing a library and natural history collections. Thecity is supplied with good water from Lake Sebago, 17 m. distant.
fortifications (Fort Preble, on the Cape Shore; Fort Levett, on Cushing's Island; Fort Williams, at Portland Head; and Fort McKinley, on Great Diamond Island) among the best equipped in the United States. For a long period the city was noted for its commerce with the West Indies, which began to decline about 1876, but the coast trade and commerce with Great Britain are still considerable, especially in the winter, when Portland is the outlet of much of the trade from the Great Lakes that in the other seasons passes through Montreal. The principal exports are grain, livestock and fruit. In 1908 the exports were valued at $11,353,339 and the imports at $1,189,964. The Grand Trunk Railroad Company has here two of the largest grain warehouses on the Atlantic Coast. In 1905 Portland was the first manufacturing city of the state, with a factory product valued at $9,132,801 (as against $8,527,649 for Lewiston, which outranked Portland in 1900); here are foundries and machine-shops, planing-mills, car and railway repair shops, packing and canning establishments—probably the first Indian corn canned in the United States was canned near Portland in 1840—potteries, and factories for making boots, shoes, clothing, matches, screens, sleighs, carriages, cosmetics, &c. Shipbuildingand fishing are important industries.
The first permanent settlement on the peninsula was established by George Cleeve and Richard Tucker at the foot of Munjoy Hill in 1633 immediately after they had been ejected from land which they had claimed at the mouth of the Spurwink. Soon the hill at the east end became the property of George Munjoy and that at the west end the property of George Bramhall. The Indian name of the peninsula was Machegonne, and the new settlement was during the next few years known by various names, such as Casco, Casco Neck, Cleeve's Neck, and Munjoy's Neck. In 1658 Massachusetts extended its jurisdiction over this part of Maine. The peninsula, with considerable neighbouring territory and Cape Elizabeth, was organized as a town in 1718 and was named Falmouth. The town suffered so severely from the Indians in 1676 that it was deserted until 1678. It was attacked in 1689, and in 1690 it was utterly destroyed by the French and Indians, and remained desolate until after the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. When the port of Boston was closed by Great Britain in 1774 the bell of the old First Parish Church (Unitarian) of Portland (built 1740; the present building dates from 1825) was muffled and rung from morning till night, and in other ways the town showed its sympathy for the patriot cause. As a punishment, on the 18th of October 1775, the town was bombarded and burned by a British fleet. The peninsula portion of Falmouth was incorporated as a distinct town in 1786 and was named Portland. Portland was the capital of the state from 1820 to 1832 and in the latter year was chartered as a city. In 1886 a large central portion of the city, about 200 acres, was destroyed by a fire resulting from a Fourth of July celebration. Portland was the birthplace of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Thomas Brackett Reed, Edward Preble and his nephew George Henry Preble, Mrs Parton (“Fanny Fern”), Nathaniel Parker Willis, Seargent Smith Prentiss and Neal Dow, and it was the home of William Pitt Fessenden, Theophilus Parsons and Simon Greenleaf.