Posts Tagged With: Portland Head Light

The Nina and the Pinta Arrive in South Portland

History at the helm Replicas of Christopher Columbus’ Nina and Pinta sailing ships arrive in South Portland, where visitors are welcome to come aboard…

U.S. Mint releases medal marking 9/11 attacks Officials from New York and the United States Mint unveiled the 9/11 National Medal on Monday just three months before the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The one-ounce silver medal’s heads side features Lady Liberty with the inscription “always remember 2001-2011,” while the reverse side portrays an eagle against the backdrop of cascading water. The medal, which went on sale Monday, is available at an introductory rate of $56.95 through August 18, after which the price will go up to $66.95…

Preserving History At Salem Maritime National Historic Site Creaking on the tides under the weight of its three masts and 55 miles of rigging, the Friendship is a floating reminder of a time when the upstart United States laid a commercial claim to the high seas. From tiny Salem, Massachusetts, up the coast from another Massachusetts seaport that soon would become known as the whaling capital of the world, ships set out to navigate the globe and return home with spices, water buffalo hides, silks, and porcelains.

Tractor festival set for this weekend
A few years ago, Mike Pratt attended a Maine Antique Tractor Club festival and caught a dose of “classic tractor fever.” Since 2000 he’s accumulated nine Cockshutt tractors and a few others. Pratt, now vice president of the club, is ready to talk tractors as…

Still in the dark about Ram Island Ledge Light Nine months after a Windham surgeon bought the property at auction, his plans are still unclear…

Park ranger takes care of stuff postcards don’t show Maine at Work: On the upside, the Fort Williams Park job involves talking with visitors from around the world…

Summer Antique Shopping with Smarts& In Comfort
Now that the outdoor antique and collectible shopping season is in full swing, with dozens of garage sales, flea markets and the very best in outdoor antique shows populating acres of land each weekend, antiquers are flocking to these sales. Michelle Staley, who has been an antique buyer and dealer for more than 30 years, offers some tips and tricks she has picked up over the years that might make your trip to these shows a little more productive and a lot more comfortable… Read “Summer Antique Shopping with Smarts & In Comfort”

Rockland Historical Society receives grant to scan historic photographs The Rockland Historical Society received a $5000 grant from the Knox County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to scan and catalog over 2000 historical photographs. The project will take one year. The scans will enable the historical

Corinth celebrates 200th birthday Tuesday’s celebration kicked off with a barbecue chicken dinner prepared by the Corinth Fire Dept. followed by an opening ceremony with Corinth Historical Society quilt presentation, a poem by Donald Clark and speeches by representives for Maine’s…

Priceless map collection on display in Dennysville The entire collection of maps is a reflection of that history, he said. “This historical society is not a musty, dusty collection. History is living.” The maps show what was important to the settlers of two centuries ago, he said — the water…

Beacon calendar June 23 Presentation on history of Mount Waldo Granite Co., by Stephen Haynes, curator of Maine Granite Industry Historical Museum, 7 pm June 23, Frankfort Elementary School Gym. Group discussion follows. Light refreshments available

Surry Historical Society to hold annual meeting The Surry Historical Society will hold its annual meeting at 7 pm Monday, June 27, at the Old Town Hall on Route 172 in Surry. The featured speakers will be residents of Surry with “Local Yokel Yarns.” There will also be a short

From the Maine Historical Society:

Online Exhibit: Great Bangor Floods, Great Student Work

The end of the school year is a perfect moment to celebrate the newest contributions that students have made to Maine Memory Network. This spring, 7th graders at Cohen Middle School in Bangor researched the historic 1902 and 1976 Penobscot River floods. This exhibit shares what they learned, and recognizes the integral role the river plays in the life of the community–for better and for worse. View the exhibit.

Dressing Up, Fitting In, Standing Out:

Adornment & Identity in Maine

June 24, 2011-May 27, 2012

Opening Party: Thursday, June 23, 5-7pm

MHS members are invited to preview and celebrate the opening of our new museum exhibit this Thursday evening, June 23, from 5-7pm. The exhibit opens to the public on Friday.

Dressing Up offers a fascinating look at how Mainers have “dressed up” for a variety of occasions over nearly 300 years. The exhibit features a broad selection of adornments from the MHS collection, many never before displayed, including hats, jewelry, shoes, hair combs, walking sticks, and several complete costumes. Objects are accompanied and illuminated by photographs, paintings, journal entries, and more.

According to exhibit curator Candace Kanes, Dressing Up explores the choices we make to look our best. “Every hat or shoe, buckle or brooch tells a story about who we are, who we want to be, and how we want others to see us. And every social occasion makes its own demands, whether we are trying to fit in or stand out.”

Learn more about Dressing Up.

Coming Soon

Monday, July 4, 12pm

A Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence

Speaker: Former State Rep. Herb Adams

Learn more.

New Program Added!

Thursday, July 14, 4pm

Illustrated talk at MHS + West End Bicycle Tour!

“I Am An Old Wheelman”: John Calvin Stevens and the Art of Bicycling in Maine 1880-1900

Presenter and Ride Leader: Sam Shupe

Join us to learn about this significant yet largely unknown aspect of John Calvin Stevens’ life. During the last decades of the 19th century, the prominent architect was a passionate cyclist who was instrumental in creating and sustaining bicycle culture in Portland. This illustrated talk at MHS will be followed by a leisurely bike tour of several Stevens-related sites in Portland’s West End. Learn more.

Categories: antiques, articles, breaking news, collectibles, events, grants, headlines, historic preservation, historical societies, history, lighthouses, Maine, Maine Historical Society, Maine things to do, museum news, preservation, restoration, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fort Williams, Maine

Unearthing Fort Williams’ past

Officials contemplate the feasibility of restoring historic Battery Blair.

By Ann S. Kim
Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH — in the 1970s, a sewer project helped transform Fort Williams into a park. Soil dug from another part of town was used to build the roads and playing fields, fill the foundations of demolished buildings and cover the gun batteries along the shoreline.


I read this headline the other day with much joy, having one of those “It’s about freakin’ time” moments. Fort Williams has been one of my favorite historical sites in Maine for years now, and I’ve done some research on it preparing for a video and book release on the subject. It’s a shame to see all of the military aspects covered over by all of the fill as it hides a specific treasure, and a valuable piece of Maine history from the public. While it’s nice that people can go and walk their dogs and fly a kite, it’s also important that we remember who we are and where we came from. Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth is just one of these hidden treasures that exhibit a strong sense of the importance that Maine once held.

Of course, there are other Batteries just as important as Battery Blair, as well as buildings and facilities beyond the gun emplacements, but Battery Blair held the big boys, the 12″ Rodman’s on disappearing carriages. These guns were a fascinating weapon as their bulk could be hidden, and when needed for firing simply raised to their height, fired and then lowered below the parapet walls, partly by the force of recoil, for reloading. This arrangement allowed for the ground level types of coast defenses that hid the profile of theretofore standard masonry defense works such as we see at Fort Popham and Fort Knox. These installations were much harder, and in some cases impossible to detect from the sea.

There is much to tell of this historical landmark, and I for one am glad they are starting to consider restoring it to what it should be. Exposing the original construction of these batteries and returning much of the park to its original luster will go a long way towards pulling tourists to the area for day trips. I wish them luck and hope they are able to get this project off to a flying start, with little red tape to bar their progress. As I get more of my Maine forts book and video done, I’ll post progress and information here for you to read up on. Till then, happy history!


Here’s a couple of items from the Maine Historical Society:

Book Event
Thursday, April 22, 7pm

Making Haste From Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World: A New History
Nick Bunker, Author and Journalist

Join us to celebrate the publication of this probing new history of the Mayflower.  Using a wealth of previously untapped or neglected evidence-from archives in England, Ireland, and the United States, including the Maine Historical Society-British author Nick Bunker gives a vivid, strikingly original account of the Mayflower project. From the rural kingdom of James I to industrial Holland and the beaver ponds of Maine, Bunker will share a rich narrative that combines religion, politics, money, science, and the sea.  Nick Bunker, formerly an investment banker, has worked as an investigative reporter for the Liverpool Echo and as a writer for the Financial Times.

Family Book Event
Saturday, April 24, 1pm

Shipwrecks, Science, and Sanctuaries: Exploring Sunken Cities Beneath the Sea
Mary Cerullo, Author

Cerullo’s recent book Shipwrecks: Exploring Sunken Cities Beneath the Sea profiles two shipwrecks and the artificial reefs created by them. One of those is the S.S. Portland, an elegant steamer that sank in a winter storm in Massachusetts in 1898 with nearly 200 crew and passengers as it was returning to Maine from Boston. In this talk, the author explores the exciting discoveries of underwater explorers and how their work helps us understand the past. Mary Cerullo is the author of 14 non-fiction children’s books, and has been teaching and writing about the ocean and natural history for over 30 years. She currently works for the environmental advocacy organization, Friends of Casco Bay, in South Portland.


I found this article interesting as it relates the beginning of an effort to get an historic property listed as an officially recognized historic site.

New status sought for old racetrack

Bid for recognition in Machias linked to DOT plans to flood the site


By Sharon Kiley Mack
BDN Staff


MACHIAS, Maine — Using photographs, fair programs and other documentation, Washington County Manager Betsy Fitzgerald is attempting to have a former horse-racing track declared an official historic site.

She is working with the Machias Historical Society on the project, which will be submitted to the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

Categories: events, historic buildings, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine, Maine Historical Society, preservation, restoration, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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 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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