MHS Historian’s Forum on Architectural Collections

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Walking Tours Start Today!

Participants on a 2012 Historic Portland Walking Tour check out the statue of John Ford.
Participants on a 2012 Historic Portland Walking Tour check out the statue of John Ford.

Maine Historical Society’s Historic Portland Walking Tours program enters its second season as of today. It has been refocused to vividly depict events and scenery from Portland’s past. Areas discussed include Congress Street, Monument Square, Post Office Park, Exchange Street, Fore Street, Boothby Square and Commercial Street.

Tours begin at 1:30 pm daily from June 17th to September 30th. This is a guided, weather-permitting tour limited to approximately 12 people. Tickets are $10 and include admission to MHS’s new museum exhibit (opening June 28) This Rebellion: Maine and the Civil War. For a combo Walking Tour/Longfellow House Tour, tickets are $15.

For questions please call the Museum Store: (207) 774-1822.

Remembering Portland’s Neighborhoods

MHS Collaborates with Art at Work’s Meeting Place Project on Neighborhood-based Storytelling Workshops about Bayside, East Bayside, Libbytown, and West End Neighborhoods

Do you have a story about the Portland neighborhood you grew up in, ponds you skated in, buildings that have long since vanished, or the old businesses you used to visit? Did you grow up going to Tony’s Donuts? Or chatting with ‘Tiny’ who worked at Red’s, over near where Denny’s is now? Remember the gray stone walls of the Monroe Street County Jail by Fox and Anderson Streets?

N. G. Nichols Drug Store in Bramhall Square, in Portland’s West End, ca. 1895.

Maine Historical Society, in collaboration with Art at Work’s Meeting Place project, is collecting stories from four Portland neighborhoods, and we need your help. Please join us at MHS for a series of interactive, place-based storytelling workshops on the following dates:

  • West End: Tuesday, July 24, 6-8:30PM
  • Bayside: Wednesday, July 25, 6-8:30PM
  • East Bayside: Tuesday, July 31, 6-8:30PM
  • Libbytown: Wednesday, August 1, 6-8:30PM

Meeting Place is a project aimed at increasing pride, awareness, participation, and diversity in neighborhood organizations through targeted arts workshops and neighborhood celebrations.

Winslow Pottery, Portland’s Back Cove, 1902

Each workshop will offer the chance for participants to share, in their own words, knowledge and memories of the Portland neighborhood in which they live or have spent time in. Maine Historical Society will start the conversation with historical images, maps, and details from each neighborhood, and then participants will be invited to share their own memories. We’re looking for all kinds of stories: hilarious, ridiculous, mundane, and more! And please bring photographs to share.

Scrap metal workers at William H. Perry Co. on Kennebec Street in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood, ca. 1909

Gathered stories will be linked to the neighborhoods’ larger Gateway Arts Projects–public art initiatives–through photography, block carvings, and poetry, all of which will be displayed throughout West End, Bayside, East Bayside, and Libbytown during Meeting Place’s September Celebrations.

Free parking is available behind MHS (489 Congress Street) for the workshops. Food and refreshments will be served. For more information, please call 207-774-1822.

Crowd cycles in for John Calvin Stevens + Bicycle History talk and ride

June 14, 2011. Group Bicycle Tour

Walking past Maine Historical Society on Thursday afternoon (7/14) one may have thought we had turned into a bicycle museum. A high-wheel bicycle, along with other vintage and contemporary bikes, were lined up along the iron fences surrounding the Wadsworth-Longfellow House; riders were inside the lecture hall, listening to Sam Shupe give a talk. Shupe is a recent USM graduate, who wrote his history thesis on John Calvin Stevens and the art and history of bicycling in Maine. Under the wing of State Historian Earle Shettleworth, Jr., Shupe conducted his research across Maine- including at the Maine Historical Society library. He submitted his thesis for publication to the International Cycling History Conference, where it was accepted and in May he traveled to Paris, France to join their annual conference and present the paper. This fall Shupe will begin a PhD program in history at Boston University.

In a nearly full lecture hall, Shupe presented his paper once again to a lively crowd that included history buffs, cycling enthusiasts, and John Calvin Stevens admirers. His animated lecture, “I am an Old Wheelman”: John Calvin Stevens and the Art of Bicycling in Maine 1880-1900 kept the audience entertained as he displayed fascinating photographs and illustrations of bicycles, industry and shops, cycling clubs, John Calvin Stevens on bicycles along with sketches by the famed Portland architect.

After a brief Q&A, Shupe led 40 cyclists through the streets of Portland’s West End- stopping at points to discuss the architecture of several Stevens’ designed homes that were on the route map. The group of riders was diverse in age, interests, and choice of bicycle. Taking over the streets en masse, we rode leisurely under the warm afternoon sun, swapping stories of bicycle trips across Maine and Europe, discussing Steven’s architecture, and generally enjoying ourselves. Below are photos from the afternoon’s event.

Dani Fazio, Image Services Coordinator, Maine Historical Society

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