Pre-Civil War (before 1880)

Dublin Core


Pre-Civil War (before 1880)


The period leading up to 1866 is problematic for the markers and monuments of Portland for two major reasons. The first is that the history of Portland prior to July 5, 1866, has one common theme: Fire. The city is noted for having burned four times. The first two of these fires happened during the Indian Wars in the 1600’s and what was destroyed was little more than a small village. The third time was in 1775, when Portland was an up and coming port and it was burned by the British in retaliation for Boston’s trouble-making and the previous kidnapping of the British fleet commander by locals. This time the entire town that was built on the peninsula was burned, with few exceptions. The fourth and last major fire was July 4 and 5, 1866. The peninsula burned again, destroying most of the downtown and burning up to the base of Munjoy Hill. This history of destruction has left Portland with very little in the way of built structures that date to the colonial period and only an handful that date from before the Civil War.

The fires are not the only factor in our dearth of monuments from this period, as Jill M. Walton writes in her article on Northampton, Massachusetts: “Monuments, memorials and statues were not traditional on the American scene until after the Civil War. In fact, prior to 1865, most monuments or memorial architecture could be found only in cemeteries.” There were some monuments during this time, Boston has several famous monument sites from the Revolution, but there is no record of such monuments existing in Portland from this period


Before 1880

Collection Items

Mill Stone
Roughly one third of a mill grinding stone with a bronze plaque attached that states that the stone in from a mill located nearby in 1746.
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