Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Native Americans called it Machigonne. Later in its history, it was called Casco and Falmouth, but I call it Portland. On most city vehicles, you'll find a seal showing a phoenix rising out of ashes, which aligns with its motto, Resurgam, ("I will rise again"), in reference to Portland's recovery from four devastating fires. The Great Fire, as it is called, occurred on July 4, 1866, right after the end of the Civil War. As story the goes, it started on Commercial Street and was likely caused by a firecracker celebrating Independence Day. Hundreds of homes and commercial buildings were destroyed, and over 10,000 citizens of the peninsula were displaced. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described his old home town: "Desolation! Desolation! Desolation! It reminds me of Pompeii." This early morning view at high tide, looking over Back Cove towards the city, has to be my favorite view of Portland. The Hill, Cathedral, Time and Temperature Building(as it is fondly called), City Hall, among others, are all iconic pieces of the skyline. As memory recalls, I 'drove' the Boulevard many times in our Chevrolet, cream and red station wagon, sitting on Dad's lap looking off at this view.