Portland, Maine is full of history and culture; from being the state’s first capital to being the birthplace of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from Portland Mayor Neal Dow (the so-called “Father of Prohibition”) hiding rum in City Hall in the mid-1800’s to being destroyed – then rebuilt (thus our city’s motto, “Resurgam”, which means “I shall rise again”) – by widespread fire multiple times, we’ve got a very passionate past.
Throughout 2016 we celebrated many of Portland’s historical sites. From beer to lighthouses, from cemetery secrets to being the home of one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence… our city is rich with history, and #PortlandPreserved certainly proved that (and helped us all fall a little more in love with a place we were already enamored with).
What would a look into Portland’s past be without a tour of a lighthouse? Our Autumn season started with a private tour of Spring Point Ledge – the only caisson lighthouse accessible to the public via its breakwater. Most of us had never been inside a lighthouse, so exploring the keeper’s quarters was incredibly interesting (…and small!). Check out the reviews and photos here!
Mandy C: “There really is nothing like being aware of the unfair twist that the craft outlives the craftsman. You leave Spring Point feeling a little smaller, but appreciative and honored.”
For November we decided to slow down a bit before the holidays and enjoy each other’s company at a supper club-themed event: back-to-back night’s of dinner at Grace restaurant, formerly Chestnut Street Methodist Church which was built in 1856 (and was the first methodist church in the U.S. into which a pipe organ was installed). Read through the reviews and take a look at the photos here.
Frank B: “Hanging out with the Yelp crowd is always a terrific time, but add in a few drinks, a beautiful location, and some very tasty snacks and it just does not get any better.”
We had a double-header in December with our history series, starting at the Portland Masonic Temple, which was built in 1911. Yelpers had the opportunity to learn more about the history of the building (which houses an unexpectedly enormous theater) and the Masons of Maine. Reviews and photos (which are must-see!) can be found here.
Shane D: “It’s a gem hidden in our midst. The rooms were beautiful, with such high ceilings. The library was fantastic. There were some cool views from the top. And then there were all kinds of other wonderful artifacts…”
Our very last tour was at the Tate House for their Colonial Christmas party. The Tate House is the only pre-Revolutionary home in the Portland area that’s open to the public. For the holiday season, visitors are able to experience what an 18th century Christmas might have been for Captain George Tate and his family. Feel free to check out the reviews and photos here for more detail!
Laura R: “What a delightful experience! I really enjoyed learning about the George and Mary Tate family and a glimpse into their lives here in the Stroudwater area of Portland, Maine.”
Portland, Maine’s very own Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.” This year’s wonderful history series taught us just that! We’ve discovered more about our wonderful city by exploring and spending time with likeminded fellow history buffs than we would have any other way. Thank you to every docent who shared their passion with us, and thank you to all the Yelpers who who made this such a wonderful experience!