South Portland Historic Resources

South Portland, Maine  |  Nominated to Places in Peril in 2013

The Issue

With an area of about 8,000 acres and a population of about 25,000, the City of South Portland is comprised of seven historic neighborhoods. Yet, there are currently only three historic buildings that are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including two light houses in Portland Harbor, and one district, the State Reform School National Register Historic District at Brick Hill. South Portland has become increasingly popular as a place to live and work, partly because of its authentic historic buildings and charming neighborhoods. These special places are in danger of being lost due to lack of awareness, neglect, an accumulation of lost architectural features, or additions and tear downs. There are currently no protections for historic architecture in South Portland.

Our Position

South Portland is an area with a rich history and fascinating historic buildings, many of which are largely unknown to the public. South Portland’s significant historic properties and landscapes are found throughout its neighborhoods, in commercial areas, and along the waterfront. Landmarks urges the city to conduct a comprehensive architectural survey of historic properties in South Portland and consider incentives for historic property owners to preserve historic architecture. Landmarks is working with the City to build awareness of historic properties in South Portland, offer education and information, and engage dynamic local organizations such as the South Portland Historical Society, Southern Maine Community College, and South Portland schools in this work. We encourage the city, property owners, and local organizations to nominate historic buildings, landscapes, and neighborhoods to the National Register of Historic Places, and to participate in Greater Portland Landmarks’ Historic Marker Program.

As a result of the Places in Peril listing, the City of South Portland created an Arts and Historic Preservation Committee to assist the City Council in preserving the historical and architectural integrity of South Portland, fostering beautification of public areas, and promoting the educational, cultural, economic, aesthetic value, and general welfare of South Portland. In addition, with support from the Horizon Foundation and in partnership with the South Portland Historical Society, Landmarks trained 17 volunteers to conduct a pilot architectural survey of 336 buildings in the Willard Neighborhood.


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