Maine Historical Society



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Public Program Series to Explore Greater Portland’s Landscape

February 2, 2012

 Public Program Series to Explore Greater Portland’s Landscape

Maine Historical Society and Greater Portland Landmarks are excited to announce a public program series that will explore the landscape of the greater Portland area.

The series will provide an immersion in historic and contemporary issues related to the Greater Portland landscape through case studies and rigorous discussion of specific sites and current infrastructure and development projects: new initiatives at Fort Williams Park, replacement of the Veterans and Martin’s Point bridges, reconsideration of Franklin and Spring Street corridors, and development along Portland’s waterfront.

“These programs are an important part of what MHS and GPL do: using history to help Mainers understand and engage important contemporary issues in their communities,” says MHS Executive Director Richard D’Abate. “We’re thrilled to be partnering on this initiative, both with Landmarks and with the presenters from the many projects represented.”

Greater Portland Landmarks Executive Director Hilary Bassett added: “Our goal here is to raise awareness about the complex issues that stakeholders face when we make major investments in buildings, new development, and infrastructure, and to consider how the decisions we make shape Portland.”

Programs will be held at Maine Historical Society at 489 Congress Street, Portland. Each program will include a moderator plus three speakers representing a variety of perspectives related to the topic followed by discussion with the audience. Programs include:

Public Parks: Care and Cultivation of Fort Williams Park
Moderator: Terrence DeWan, Landscape Architect
Current initiatives seek to find sustainable funding models for Fort Williams, preserve the park’s history, character, and architecture, and to define and provide appropriate visitor amenities. These include efforts to maintain the ruins of the Goddard Mansion, to establish a new arboretum, and to keep access to the park free to individual visitors.

Downtown Corridors: Franklin and Spring Streets
Moderator: Alan Stearns, Executive Director, Royal River Conservation Trust
Efforts to modernize and streamline traffic flow through Portland in the 1960s and ‘70s disrupted neighborhoods, demolished buildings, and fundamentally altered the historic feel of parts of the city. What are our options moving forward? Stakeholders will share their ideas, discuss current initiatives, and consider what future development along Franklin and Spring Streets might look like.

Gateways to Portland: Rebuilding Veterans and Martin’s Point Bridges
Moderator: Sally Oldham, Greater Portland Landmarks
Two of Portland’ most important and heavily trafficked bridges—Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Martin’s Point Bridge—are currently being rebuilt. These projects have mobilized diverse stakeholders, and raise practical issues ranging from cost to traffic efficiency, social issues like the impact on local neighbors, and conceptual issues such as how the design of a bridge or roadway heralds entry into a city.

On the Waterfront: Heritage, Re-use, and Economic Development
Moderator: Michael Brennan, Mayor, City of Portland
Development and use of the waterfront is an ongoing policy balancing act, and has significant implications for Portland’s economic development, harborside landscape, and the city’s identity and heritage. Please join us to learn about the issues that the city, developers, business and property owners, fishermen and lobstermen, preservationists, and city residents face and think about when they consider development along the waterfront.

Programs will explore how the approach to each of these projects reflects aesthetic principles, community values, economic realities, and the city’s identity and heritage. For additional details about the programs and full descriptions, please visit:

The series builds on Maine Historical Society’s ongoing efforts to consider the role that landscape plays in defining and understanding Maine, and Landmarks’ work to encourage the Greater Portland community to appreciate and preserve its built environment.

The Maine Historical Society promotes the understanding and enjoyment of Maine history.

Greater Portland Landmarks’ mission is to preserve and revitalize the architectural fabric, history, and character of Greater Portland—renewing our neighborhoods, spurring economic development, and keeping Portland one of the most livable cities in America.

For more information:

Maine Historical Society 489 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101 207–774–1822

For more information:

Maine Historical Society
489 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101

Maine Historical Society preserves and shares Maine's story to enrich life in contemporary Maine.