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’re celebrating that rich history with a series called “Portland Preserved”, where once a month we get an exclusive look into iconic businesses, landmarks, and historical sites all located within Greater Portland.
Our Spring season started on a snowy April night at the U.S. Custom House. We traveled from the very short and narrow basement all the way to the cupola overlooking Portland’s harbor, stopping to visit an enormous safe reminiscent of Gringotts Wizarding Bank and to eat pickles in Joshua Chamberlain’s office. Check out the reviews and photos here!
Kerrie D: “When I first stepped out to leave, it was dark and a very light snow was coming down. It was quite beautiful for a moment. I turned back to look at the Custom House for a moment so thankful I had been able to learn so much about it through the Greater Portland Landmarks tour! It was a wonderful and memorable experience! “
In May we took a private guided tour of the Portland Observatory. Built in 1807 by Captain Lemuel Moody, it’s the only remaining historic maritime signal station in the U.S. From the ballast in the basement to keep the structure sturdy, to the 360° views atop the building (overlooking open ocean on one side to the White Mountains in New Hampshire on the other), it was an incredible experience. This place matters! Read through the reviews and take a look at the photos here.
Courtney C: “LOVED exploring the Portland Observatory and getting the tour! I never knew what this lighthouse looking building was that stood tall in the middle of town. Now, not only do I know what the tower was used for, but it’s the only observatory left standing in the country! And it was built by a ship captain! Go Portland!”
June found us romping around the West End of Portland, in particular the Spring Street Historic District, viewing Federal style mansions and learning the differences between gargoyles and grotesques. Reviews and photos can be found here!
Michelle L: “ I really enjoy learning the history behind the places that we have a tendency to walk past every day and not really notice. Having previously lived in the West End, I always admired the row houses and historic homes that make up this area.”
Pearl S. Buck wrote, “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” So, join us! Every month we search the yesteryear of Maine’s largest city, exploring and learning new things about our own backyard. We encourage you to come along; all you have to do is RSVP!
For more information on the amazing locations we visited:
U.S. Custom House • Portland Observatory • Greater Portland Landmarks
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