Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Portland, Then & Now

Recently a charming little book came to my attention, Portland Then & Now.  Published by Arcadia Publishers and authored by local John Moon. Pairing old photographs of 19th century Portland with contemporary images by the author it reminds us of both recent history and forgotten spaces.  The book will be in stores Monday, August 3rd and the author will be at Nonesuch Books, August 26 and Borders, September 19th to sign your copies.  I've chosen three of the old images for todays post.  

The first is an 1879 view of Market Square which shows Portland's old market house.  Constructed in 1825 it was modified in 1832 into Portland's first city hall, by Charles Quincy Clapp.  Torn down in 1888 it made room for the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in 1891, in todays Monument Square.

The 2nd image is of the old Falmouth Hotel which symbolized Portland's rebirth from the fire of 1866.  Erected in 1867 & 1868, by John Bundy Brown, the six story  240 guest room Falmouth featured a dining room, a billiard room and 10 stores at the corner of Middle & Union streets.  Torn down in 1964 today it is  the site of the  Key Bank Plaza.

The 3rd image is of Baxter Boulevard.  Envisioned in the 1890s, by Mayor James P. Baxter, it stands today as one of Portland's defining features, connecting Forest and Washington Avenues, snaking 2 1/4 miles around Back Bay.  It summons citizens from not only Portland but surrounding communities into a ribbon of life 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as they walk, run, ski, picnic, and watch the 4th of July fireworks  around it's edges.


For anyone interested in Portland and its history this book would fit nicely on your shelf.  

Portland by John Moon, Then & Now Series

96 pages softcover, $21.99

Arcadia Publishing ( 888-313-2665) is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States.  

Photos courtesy of Arcadia Publishing and the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

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