Forest Ave. Matters

Forest Ave. Matters

As part of our National Preservation Month (and beyond) we are using social media to highlighting the 15 buildings proposed by the City of Portland to be designated as locall significant buildings. The designation includes a number of auto-related commercial buildings as well as buildings significant to the development of the Woodfords Corner neighborhood like Odd Fellows Hall and the former Deering fire station, now occupied by Big Sky Bakery. Find us on Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #Forestavehillmatters along with the national hashtag #thisplacematters. We hope that you will follow along! We will add each image from social media on this page as the month unfolds. Add your Forest Ave memories in the comments below!

Forest Avenue has always been a critical transportation and business corridor linking the Portland peninsula to off-peninsula neighborhoods and communities to the west. Along the corridor is Woodfords Corner which has historically been the commercial and civic heart of its surrounding suburban neighborhoods. In the early 20th century part of the corridor gained the moniker, Portland’s Auto Row, because of the concentration of auto dealerships that were built there. Because if its history and continued vitality, Forest Avenue has been the focus of nearly a decade of study and planning by the city and state to restore its character as a destination business district and create a functional and safe environment for all forms of transportation.

Landmarks has worked in collaboration with local community organizations over several years to improve public awareness of Forest Avenue’s history and significance in the development of Portland. Our work began with a survey of Forest Avenue in the summer of 2015 (Observer, Fall 2015). The Maine Historic Preservation Commission identified several National Register eligible buildings at Woodfords Corner and near I-295 that reflect the economic and community importance of the area. The survey results and the findings by the Commission led Landmarks to advocate for the designation of several potential local landmarks in advance of development pressures.

What can you do? Please email or write of letter of support to the Historic Preservation Board urging them to recommend historic designation of the following buildings along Forest Avenue to the City Council.

Read more about Landmarks position here.

All contemporary photographs are from Greater Portland Landmarks or the City of Portland.

All 1924 images are from the City of Portland’s 1924 tax photos which can be found on The Maine Memory Network.