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Portland travel guide — Portland tourism and travel information

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about Portland

Portland is the largest city in Maine with a population of 64,249 citizens as of 2000. It is the county seat of Cumberland County. Nearby cities include Boston, Massachusetts, Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Manchester, New Hampshire. It is known as a haven for tourists visiting the state because of its wonderful downtown and historic Old Port.

Portland is the home of the Portland Sea Dogs (minor league baseball) and the Portland Pirates (American Hockey League).

Portland geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 136.2 km² (52.6 mi²). 54.9 km² (21.2 mi²) of it is land and 81.2 km² (31.4 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 59.65% water.

Portland borders South Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth and Casco Bay. The city is located at 43.66713 N, 70.20717 W. Portland zip codes range from 04101 to 04124.

Portland history

Portland, Maine was originally called Machigonne (Great Neck) by the Native Americans who first lived there. It was settled by the British in 1632 as a fishing and trading settlement and renamed Casco. In 1658 its name was changed again, this time to Falmouth.

In 1675 the city was completely destroyed by Indians during King Philip's War. The city was rebuilt, to be destroyed by the same Indians again several years later. In 1775 the city was destroyed yet again, this time by bombardment by the Royal Navy during the American Revolutionary War.

Following the war, Falmouth developed as a commercial port and began to grow rapidly as a shipping center. In 1786 the citizens of Falmouth changed the name to Portland. Portland's economy was greatly stressed by the Embargo Act of 1807 (prohibition of trade with the British) and the War of 1812. In 1820 Maine became a state and Portland was selected as its capital. By this time both the Embargo Act and the war had ended, and Portland's economy began to recover. In 1832 the capital was moved to Augusta.

On July 4, 1866 a fire ignited during the 4th of July celebration, destroyed most of the commercial buildings in the city, half the churches and hundreds of homes. More than 10,000 people were left homeless. After this fire, Portland was rebuilt with brick and took on a Victorian appearance. Citizens began building huge Victorian mansions along Portland's (now famous) western promenade.

The high quality of architecture in Portland is in large part due to the succession of talented architects who worked here. Charles A. Alexander (1822-1882) provided many of the designs for Portland's Victorian mansions. Henry Rowe (1810-1870) specialized in Gothic cottages. George M. Harding (1827-1910) designed many of the commercial buildings in Portland's Old Port as well as many of Portland's ornate residential buildings. Around the turn of the century Frederick A. Tompson (1857-1906) designed many of Portland's residential buildings.

But by far the most influential and prolific architects of the Western Promenade area were Francis Fassett (1823-1906) and John Calvin Stevens (1855-1940). In the 1870s Fassett was the undisputed leader in his profession. He was commissioned to build the Maine General Building (now a wing of the Maine Medical Center) and the Williston West Church as well as several schools and his own home. From the early 1880s to the 1930s Stevens worked in a wide range of styles from the Queen Anne and Romanesque popular at the beginning of his career, to the Mission style of the 1920s, but the architect is best known for his pioneering efforts in the Shingle and Colonial Revival styles, examples of which abound in this area.

After being destroyed four times, Portland stands as one of the most beautiful cities in New England. The Victorian style architecture, which was popular during Portland's rebuilding, has been preserved very well by the city's strong emphasis on preservation. Most cities have only small traces of architecture from this era. Portland's unique history and determination to survive have made it one of the best places to live and visit in the country. In 1982 the area was entered on the National Register of Historic Places. In modern lifestyle surveys, it is often cited as one of the best small cities to live in in America.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Portland, Maine".

This city is also known as: Portland.

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