The Portland Company Complex

58 Fore Street, Portland   |   Nominated to Places in Peril in 2012

The Issue 

In 2013 the Portland Company was sold to a development team with plans to rehabilitate several historic buildings as part of a larger redevelopment of the waterfront site. Initial redevelopment plans anticipate the demolition of several late nineteenth and early 20th century buildings.

Our Position

The Portland Company Complex is the only intact 19th century industrial facility on the Portland waterfront. It was founded during the height of railroad construction and expansion and was purpose-built to supply locomotives for the railroads.  From 1845 – 1978, the Portland Company produced 630 steam railroad locomotives, boilers and engines for over 350 marine vessels, machinery for the paper industry, gunboats for the Civil War, and equipment to build the Panama Canal.  In addition, the Company produced a variety of metal objects needed for the rapidly-expanding metropolitan industrial age, such as decorative cast iron building storefronts, streetlights, gates, grates, and manhole covers. Landmarks encourages the development team to utilize as many of the historic manufacturing buildings as possible in order to maintain the character defining features of this unusual and highly significant industrial complex.

Landmarks supported the efforts of the City of Portland to conduct additional research on the historic significance of the complex and to secure additional structural review of the individual building conditions.

In 1974, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission determined the complex Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places for its Industrial Significance, but it was never actually nominated to the National Register, nor is it a designated City landmark.  In 2012, Greater Portland Landmarks named the Portland Company to its Places in Peril list.  Landmarks supports nomination of the Portland Company to the National Register, as well as its designation as a local landmark.
 

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