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The 1866 Fire Tour with Historian Herb Adams

The Fire That Shaped Portland

The 1866 Fire Tour with Historian Herb Adams

Thursday, July 6, 2017, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

This tour has sold out!

Thank you for your interest.  I hope we will see you on another tour!

From the first flame to the smoldering embers, follow the path of the Great Fire of 1866 with historian Herb Adams and Greater Portland Landmarks. This one-evening only trolley/walking tour will be held on Thursday, July 6th recognizing the 151st anniversary of the Great Fire. Herb Adams will provide a colorful narration of the events leading up to the Fire and share the amazing stories of the people and places that survived its extensive path of destruction that left over 10,000 people homeless.  

The tour will begin at Long Wharf (170 Commercial Street) where we will board a trolley and proceed to the Rufus Deering lumber yard, near where the fire is thought to have started.  With period photographs and engravings to compare to current views and quotations from first-hand accounts, this tour provides a glimpse back in time as we see remaining buildings and imagine the shock and overpowering emotions that faced 19th century Portlanders a day after the Fire ended.

The trolley will wind its way up through the downtown to City Hall where, weather permitting, we will disembark and walk down Exchange Street, the heart of the Fire’s destruction.  We will then re-board the trolley following the path of the Fire, viewing buildings that survived, and ending at the Portland Observatory where we’ll climb to the top to look over the city as those in 1866 did after the Fire.

Cost is $40 per person. $35 for Greater Portland Landmarks members.  Reservations are required and space is limited to 30 people.  To ensure a place, register early, as 2016 tours sold out.  Tour attendees will meet at Long Wharf (170 Commercial Street) to begin the tour.   


Herb Adams is a noted historian and an eight term member of the Maine House of Representatives from Portland’s District 119.   He has written about the history of the Portland Park System in the book Bold Vision, and contributed to numerous other publications focusing on Maine history.  He teaches at Southern Maine Community College and is a frequent lecturer on Maine history.