The Portland Observatory was used for observing ships entering the harbor and watching for vessels in distress. Captain Lemuel Moody, who lived on the property with his family, charged a fee for displaying the flags of merchants whose vessels were approaching the harbor. This signal allowed the owner time to make arrangements for the necessary dock space, as well as finding men to unload, or load, the cargo. By 1848, there were over 100 shipowners and captains whose flags were flown at the Observatory.
Please post your comment below to share with others. If you'd like to privately share a comment or correction with MMN staff, please use this form.