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Lesson Plan: Portland Observatory - Maps

This Exhibit Contains 5 Items


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Item 4168

Plan of Falmouth Neck, 1690

Plan of Falmouth Neck, 1690 / Maine Historical Society

This map shows Falmouth Neck drawn as it looked in 1690. In 1786 Falmouth Neck separated from Falmouth (which included present day Cape Elizabeth, Westbrook, South Portland, Portland and Falmouth) and was renamed Portland.

Take a close look at the map and answer the following questions.
What is shown on the map?
Do you recognize anything?
Who do you think lived on the peninsula in 1690?
How big do you think the population was?
Why do you think people would want to settle on Falmouth Neck?
What buildings were important to the community?
How do you think a map like this was made?

Look at the streets - they are named: Queen Street, Thames Street, Broad Street and the Fore Street.
How do you think the street names were chosen?
What are some of the street names in your community?
What significance do those names have to your town and it's history?

 

Item 6893

A new and correct plan of Portland, 1823

A new and correct plan of Portland, 1823 / Maine Historical Society

This map shows Portland as it looked in 1823. Included in the area mapped is what was then Cape Elizabeth and is now South Portland. Are there other areas of town that you recognize whose names have changed? Which areas and what are the new names?
There are several ropewalks drawn on this map. What is a ropewalk? Where are they located?
There are a large number of new streets that appear on this map, have any of the streets retained the names they were given in the 1690 map? Which ones?
Find the Observatory on the map. What other buildings are near the Observatory? What are the street names around the Observatory?

 

Item 4175

Plan of the City of Portland, 1837

Plan of the City of Portland, 1837 / Maine Historical Society

This map shows Portland in 1837. Compare this map with the 1823 map. Find the Observatory on the map. What other buildings are near the Observatory? There are more streets around the Observatory, why do you think that is?
Look at the west end of town and compare that with the 1823 map. It appears as though streets have disappeared off the map. What do you think really happened? Hint: Look at the title of these maps.

 

Item 4171

Great fire of Portland 1866

Great fire of Portland 1866 / Maine Historical Society

This map from 1866 has a mylar overlay illustrating the path of the "Great Fire" through the city of Portland. Nearly one third of the city's population was left homeless as a result of the fire.
Look closely at the waterfront area on the map. Compare this map to the earlier ones you have looked at, what is different about Portland?
Find the Portland Observatory on the map. How close did the fire come to the Observatory? Look elsewhere on the Maine Memory Network for more photos of the 1866 fire.

 

Item 4174

Map of Portland  and vicinity, 1900

Map of Portland and vicinity, 1900 / Maine Historical Society

This map of Portland is from 1900. Many of the neighborhoods shown on this map had existed for many years, but had been separate towns or communities. Stroudwater, for example, still has many houses dating from before the American Revolution. Other areas, like the one around Baxter Boulevard, developed new neighborhoods at the beginning of the 20th century. In all these cases, the city limits of Portland expanded to accomodate them. Bridges connected the peninsula to these areas, while technology, such as the horse-dawn and electric trolleys, encouraged people to build homes off the peninsula.
How has the topography of the peninsula changed through the years? Find the Observatory. Compare this map with the earlier maps. What has changed on Munjoy Hill? What is the same? How has the waterfront changed? How has it stayed the same? Why do you think the population was moving off the peninsula?

 

 

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