Portland Head Light & Cape Cottage Casino

Portland Head;

The Salt & Pines Project; a visit to Portland Head

In this video we take a look at the Portland Head in Cape Elizabeth, ME. Home of what is called the most photographed lighthouse in the world, The Portland Head Light. What many do not know is that Portland Head was also the home of the Cape Cottage Casino in the latter 1800’s to early 1900’s. The Casino was a world class restaurant, and hosted nightly entertainment.

While not a gambling casino, it offered a venue for entertainment for residents of Portland and the area. By taking the trolley, visitors could spend the day on the ‘Head’ swimming at the beach in the cove, taking in the theater and dining at the Casino. It was located at the end of the Cape Elizabeth branch of the Trolley line.

Like Riverton Park in Portland, the casino was financed by the railroad as a way to boost trolley ridership. The advent of the automobile spelled the end of the Cape Cottage Casino and other Trolley Parks, as they were called, all over Maine.

Also at Portland Head is the Goddard Mansion, now just a remnant of stone work, and Fort Williams. Fort Williams was a WWI era installation with several batteries manned with various guns, most notably the disappearing carriage variety, which we will look at in part 2.

The Portland Head Light was actually begun in 1895 when a group of businessmen from Portland got together and petitioned the Mass. Legislature for funds to build the structure. After much difficulty, the light was finally finished after Congress appropriated funds for its completion in 1790, and it was first lit in 1791.For more information on the Portland Head light, please go to www.portlandheadlight.com and learn more facts, and how you can help support and further restore the park at Cape Elizabeth.The music from this video is taken from the Stockton Springs album by KTEL, #62712 if you’d like to hear more of this fine Celtic group. They’re one of my favorite groups, and the music, while from Ireland, embodies the soul of the Maine coastline and its people.

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