Port of Portland | Working waterfront and future developments

Portlander

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Started a new thread due to recommendations from markhb and Cosakita 18 that is devoted to the Port of Portland, its working waterfront and any current or future developments. Included is a bird's eye view of the harbor from the 1930's because I enjoy sharing Portland's history.
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matt.greeson

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Did these train lines go all the way down Commercial? When were they paved over? Before or after the million dollar bridge?
 

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They went for the entire length of Commercial Street and past the Grand Trunk wharves and terminated at the Portland Company. The tracks were "concreted" over during the reconstruction of Commercial during the eighties.
 

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This vintage shot from above shows the tracks connecting to the piers along with switching yards on the south side of Fore Street. The waterfront was not an attractive place for many decades and pleasure craft, tourists and especially women avoided the area with the exception of visiting a few mainstays like the Casco Bay Lines, Boone's, old DiMillo's and the Harbor Fish Market.
 
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Photo from the 70's showing train cars unloading at the Porteous warehouse at 305 Commercial Street now known as Baxter Place. Head on a swivel was paramount while driving or walking on Commercial Street prior to its much needed makeover!
 
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markhb

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I have no amazing photos, but I do have a few notes / memories as someone who learned to drive with the tracks in the street!
  • Not only did the tracks run the full length of Commercial St., they were the primary junction between the Maine Central / Boston & Maine (the railroad we have now) and the Grand Trunk (down by Ocean Gateway). When the state remade Commercial St., the railroads insisted they pay to upgrade Danville Junction in Auburn to take over that function.
  • When all the large brick buildings on the land side of Commercial were still active warehouses, semis would back directly into the loading docs facing the street, perpendicular to the traffic! As my mother would say, it would have been ridiculous to try to put in traffic lights or even lane stripes in that era, because one had to dodge trains, trucks, the tracks, you name it. Come to think of it, it probably operated like an urban version of a logging road.
  • I don't know if I remember them or not, but the two roads that bridged the rail yard were Park St. and High St. The yard itself became Rufus Deering and is now becoming Hobson's Landing.
  • When I was at Auto Europe and we were renovating 39 Commercial, we always called it the Galt Block but that photo above is the first evidence I've seen that that company owned it. It had been derelict for well over a decade when AE bought it.
My dad trained here prior to heading off to Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island in 1957.
The New England Feeds grain elevator! I remember that very well; it was the last operating elevator on the waterfront after the Grand Trunk complex (visible in the first photo) burned. I'm always surprised that it doesn't stand out more in artial photos, though. The elevator itself was always a favorite haunt of the seagulls, especially when there was a spill.
 

DanielPWM19

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Started a new thread due to recommendations from markhb and Cosakita 18 that is devoted to the Port of Portland, its working waterfront and any current or future developments. Included is a bird's eye view of the harbor from the 1930's because I enjoy embracing Portland's history.View attachment 27553
Always thought the old electric station in the middle of the harbor could have made for a cool destination. Something "iconic" and unique.
 

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"Urban version of a logging road" is a perfect description of Commercial Street from the previous era Mark! And Daniel, the old electric station might have been a great spot for a restaurant along with breakout rooms for small conventions and weddings though parking would be limited.
 
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