This Place Matters: Duck Pond, Westbrook

This Place Matters: Duck Pond, Westbrook

Duck Pond Corner, a former rural village in Westbrook is bisected by one of the state’s busiest transportation corridors, Route 302. The Intersection of Duck Pond and Hardy Roads with Route 302 is a high-crash site and the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing a roundabout to make the intersection safer. However, local residents are concerned about the amount of land needed for a roundabout and the impact a roundabout might have on the historic buildings adjacent to the intersection. Greater Portland Landamarks is working with Westbrook’s Duck Pond Historic District Committee to document historic resources in the area where the Maine DOT is proposing a new roundabout and to create a National Register Historic District in the village.  Below is a picture of a community presentation on Westbrook's history from keepmecurrent.com

This Place Matters: Lincoln Park

By Anastasia Azenaro-Moore

Picture this: It’s a Saturday in the summer of 1872. The peninsula is hot and humid and everywhere you turn, the city is buzzing with industry. Factories along Back Cove are creating shoes, shirtwaists, ropes and other essential goods. Trains rumble up and down Commercial Street transporting goods between the busy wharves and the city’s train stations. With the city’s economy growing, more and more Irish immigrants make Portland their home, settling in the neighborhoods along India Street and Danforth Street, increasing the population of the city by twenty percent in a dozen years. In the middle of this buzz, there lies one oasis; one small section of greenery where one can escape the smell, the heat, the traffic and, perhaps, even the pressures of daily life; Lincoln Park.

Originally called Phoenix Square, until it was renamed to honor President Lincoln in 1867, the park was created in the aftermath of the Great Fire 1866 that destroyed a third of the city. The city purchased its first publicly owned green space with the intent of creating a fire break to prevent future fires from having the same far reaching and destructive effects.

Designed by city engineer Charles Goodell, with elm lined paths, and a three tiered Parisian fountain, installed in 1871, Lincoln Park quickly became much more than a fire break, it became a neighborhood destination and cultural hub. For nearly seventy years, a Farmer’s Market would set up along the park every Saturday from early spring to late fall. Festivals, including a particularly fun sounding Mardi Gras Night in 1920, would occur regularly in the park. Children would play and splash in the fountain as women would show off their Sunday best while strolling along the park’s flower beds.

 

The 1960s and 1970s were not kind to Lincoln Park. Dutch Elm Disease ravaged Portland’s elm tree population during the 1960s, including those which had defined the park’s pathways. In 1970, the eastern quarter of the park was torn up to make way for the widening of Franklin Arterial. The new highway severed the park from the Munjoy Hill and India Street neighborhoods, the populations the park best served. By 1976, the Farmer’s Market had relocated. As time passed, the city and its inhabitants lost interest in the park. The pathways crumbled, the fountain broke, the wrought iron fences rusted.

That is, until today.

In 2012, Friends of Lincoln Park, a nonprofit, volunteer, organization aimed at advocating for the park, formed. In 2013, Greater Portland Landmarks named Lincoln Park a “Place in Peril” bringing local attention and awareness to the park. This year, the Friends of Lincoln Park is raising funds to restore the fountain which has been missing it’s top tier for decades. The fountain restoration is in conjunction with a re-pavement of the walkways of the park with historically accurate bituminous concrete.

In June, a sculpture by Judith Hoffman entitled “The American Dream” was installed in the park by TEMPOart, a new temporary public art organization. The piece will be up until at least May 2017. This month there will be several events occurring in the park which are free and open to the public.

On August 5th, First Friday, a Scavenger Hunt and exhibition will be held in the park from 5 pm to 8 pm. This event is sponsored by TEMPOart, Greater Portland Landmarks, and Friends of Lincoln Park. The exhibition will feature students at Mayo Street Arts and Oak Street Studio who have been working all summer in sculpture workshops and studying Hoffman’s piece. On August 6th, PICNIC Music and Arts Festival will be hosting their 9th annual summer fair from 11 am to 6 pm in the park. This event will feature over 100 local artists and vendors selling everything from housewares to fine art. There will be live music and tasty food all day.

Hooray for June: Historic House Gala and Flag Day

June is one of our favorite months at Greater Portland Landmarks.  As we start to get a glimpse of the weather that reminds us why we live here in Maine, Greater Portland Landmarks holds two events every year that remind us why we do the work we do here in the greater Portland area. 

Click on the picture for more photos of the event by Arthur Fink

Click on the picture for more photos of the event by Arthur Fink

First, on June 10, we spent an evening transported to another era at our Puttin' on the Ritz Historic House Gala held at the West Mansion.  Antique cars parked out front, costumes galore, and champagne bubbling away, all helped set the scene at our annual fundraiser.  We are so grateful to our corporate sponsors, benefactors, hosts, and all of our attendees – thanks to you, we raised over $55,000 to support Landmarks’ education program for children and adults. Click here for a photo gallery of the evening, and stay tuned for details about our 2017 event!

Only a few days later, June 14, we had our 17th annual Flag Day celebration at the Portland Observatory. Flag Day honors the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as our national flag by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. We followed the example of the Federal Government and kept our American and State of Maine flags at half-mast out of respect for recent events in Florida.  We are grateful to the many docents who volunteered to  welcome almost 300 visitors in a single day. Adults and kids alike decorated paper binoculars to extend their view and Spirits Alive gave tours of Eastern Cemetery down the hill. The signal flags that lined the Observatory tower wildly whipped around in the day's strong winds but that didn't stop us from enjoying David Peloquin's music.  He even had a group of recent University of Maine graduates spontaneously join him.   We affectionately nicknamed them, David Peloquin and the Lantern Tops.   

This Place Matters: The West Mansion

This Place Matters: The West Mansion

Driving north into Portland along Interstate 295, one of the most visible historic buildings is the West Mansion, whose thirty-foot white Iconic columns glow brightly atop the Western Promenade where it has commanding views of the White Mountains on a clear day. The house, built for the George F. West family in 1911, is palatial in scale and rich in architectural style.

In the Community: Corey Templeton

For our first blog post, we wanted to pay homage to one of our favorite Portland photographers, Corey Templeton. He generously allowed us to use his photography for our new website. Thanks, Corey!

Corey's images convey Portland's strong sense of place: a unique mix of historic architecture, landscapes and parks, and new development. His work demonstrates the profound impact that historic preservation can have in an urban environment.

Corey let us pick his brain to learn more about his experience photographing the Portland area:

Q: Your photographs often focus on or include Portland’s historic buildings. Do you have a favorite building to photograph?

A: Portland has so many great historic buildings, but my favorite is the U.S. Custom House. From the moment you first see it, you get a sense that it is an important building based on its footprint and the timeless granite facade that stands apart from all the nearby brick structures. I enjoy being able to photograph it year-round and in a variety of different weather conditions. One of these days I hope to get some photos from inside!

Q: Do you have any tips for photographing architecture?

A: Taking advantage of the natural light can make photographs of architecture really stand out. When photographing something as large as a building, you are at the mercy of the sun, so being there to capture the building at the right time of day can go a long way. I prefer the so-called "golden hour" of light, which is just after sunrise in the morning or just before sunset in the evening. Also, don’t be afraid to include people in architectural photos. I find that a human element helps give some scale to the building and reinforces the idea that well-designed buildings are ones that meet the needs of those who use it.

Q: Could you talk about your experience with photographing the Portland landscape over time, and the frequency in which it changes? Are there certain spots you keep going back to?

A: What I love about photographing the city is that it’s constantly changing and providing new things to photograph. I am hopeful that in a hundred years from now someone may find one of my photos of present-day Portland and enjoy looking at it as much as I enjoy seeing photos of Portland from long before my time. I am particularly drawn to the downtown and Old Port areas, as they tend to have the fastest pace of change and also plenty of people to include in my photographs.

Q: What are some of your favorite architectural photographs that you have taken in greater Portland?

Thanks for sharing, Corey! 

Make sure to check out his website, coreytempletonphotography.com, for even more great shots of Portland architecture!

Welcome to Preservation Portland!

Welcome to Preservation Portland! The official blog of Greater Portland Landmarks.

One of the most exciting elements of our new website is our blog. Here we will feature posts about all things historic preservation in the greater Portland area. We will discuss anything and everything - from advocacy issues to preservation techniques, community contributors to local architectural history. 

We hope you will join our conversation, get excited about our city, and celebrate the rich architectural fabric that makes greater Portland so unique.