Greater Portland Visitor's Guide

DATES OF OUR LIVES 18 landmark events throughout Greater Portland leading toMaine’s Bicentennial in 2020.


On March 15, 1820, Maine became the nation’s 23rd state. A territory of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since colonial times, Maine broke away as part of The Missouri Compromise. Maine’s entering the Union as an abolitionist state allowed Missouri to also gain statehood to preserve a balance of power in Congress to forestall the Civil War. The Maine State Constitution is believed to have been created and ratified in the First Parish Church, the largest meeting hall in the state at the time.


THEMAINE LAW+ UNDERGROUND RAILROAD 1855 Almost 70 years before it went national, Portland Mayor Neal Dow wrote the first Prohibition law in the country. Widely

Many people recognize Portland Head Light, com- missioned by GeorgeWashington and built in 1791, but five additional lighthouses were built after state- hood to safely guide ships through busy Casco Bay . For one of the leading seaports, these lights

known as “The Maine Law,” the ban on liquor was largely

lining the rocky coast were needed navigational aids from the ship- building era to the Age of Sail, the Civil War, steamship travel, and Naval Operations duringWWII. While less needed today, they still provide a valuable service for the fishing industry, massive cruise ships, and recreational boaters. They are also beloved landmarks for pharologists worldwide. (More on p. 21)

driven by what Dow saw as the leading cause of societal ills. But more concerning for Dow was the seaport’s production of rum in the slave trade. The Neal

Dow House was part of the Underground Rail- road, commemorated by Portland Freedom Trail markers through downtown.

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