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The Observatory - 15 items.

Created by Lyman Moore Middle School students


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Item 166

Portland Observatory, ca. 1880

Portland Observatory, ca. 1880 / Maine Historical Society

Many people mistake the Portland Observatory for a lighthouse but it isn't. The Observatory is a maritime signal tower. It was built in 1807 to let various people in the city know what ships were coming into port. Lemuel Moody, the founder and builder of the Portland Observatory, was a sea captain most of his life. Because of his experience he understood the need for better communication between ships and the merchants on shore.

At times, the Observatory is still used for its original purpose, flags are raised to announce the arrival of cruise ships. But mostly, the Portland Observatory is used as a tourist attraction.

 

Item 5586

Portrait of Lemuel Moody, 1826

Portrait of Lemuel Moody, 1826 / Maine Historical Society

Lemuel Moody was the builder of the Portland Observatory. He was born in 1768 and died in 1846. Moody wanted to build the Observatory because when he was thirteen and working onboard ships, he had noticed that people didn't know when or what ships were coming into Portland harbor. He thought this was a problem so he decided to build a signal tower.

 

Item 4144

Munjoy Hill in the Forties, Portland, 1895

Munjoy Hill in the Forties, Portland, 1895 / Maine Historical Society

Lemuel Moody built more than just the Portland Observatory. He also built his house, a dance hall, Maine's first bowling alley, a stable and a banquet hall next to the Observatory.

 

Item 184

Portland Observatory, Portland, ca. 1900

Portland Observatory, Portland, ca. 1900 / Maine Historical Society

Of Lemuel's original buildings only the Portland Observatory is still standing.

 

Item 168

Portland Observatory, Munjoy Hill, ca. 1910

Portland Observatory, Munjoy Hill, ca. 1910 / Maine Historical Society

The Portland Observatory is the only maritime signal tower still standing in the entire United States of America.

 

Item 6134

Portland Observatory

Portland Observatory / Maine Historical Society

The Observatory is the highest point in Portland standing on Munjoy Hill at 138 Congress street. It's an eighty-six foot tower that stands two-hundred and forty feet above sea level. Today the one-hundred and ninety-seven year old building is open to the public.

Many people have climbed the one hundred and three steps to the top. It is worth it once you see the view of the many different parts of Portland and Mount Washington!

 

Item 181

Portland parade, ca. 1885

Portland parade, ca. 1885 / Maine Historical Society

A view from the bottom of Munjoy Hill looking up at the Observatory.

 

Item 167

Raising of the Portland Monument, 1807

Raising of the Portland Monument, 1807 / Maine Historical Society

This document lists the investors who helped build the Observatory.

Transcription

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Item 179

Portland Observatory subscriber agreement, 1807

Portland Observatory subscriber agreement, 1807 / Maine Historical Society

This agreement, dated March 20, 1807 lists the names and number of shares for each of the workers on the Portland Observatory.

Transcription

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Item 173

Notes related to the construction of the Portland Observatory

Notes related to the construction of the Portland Observatory / Maine Historical Society

These are original writings from Lemual Moody to the timber company.

Transcription

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Item 174

Signal flags, Portland, ca. 1800

Signal flags, Portland, ca. 1800 / Maine Historical Society

These flags were used to signal the arrival of different ships. Each ship had its unique flag to signal what it was bringing and where it was coming from.

Once they had been signaled that their ship was arriving the merchants on the waterfront would hire stevadores to go down to the docks and unload the ship.

Transcription

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Item 6157

Signals at the Portland Observatory

Signals at the Portland Observatory / Maine Historical Society

Each boat had an individual and unique flag signaling what its business was.

 

Item 169

Signals at the Portland Observatory

Signals at the Portland Observatory / Maine Historical Society

These are some of the signal flags used by the Portland Observatory in 1846.

 

Item 161

Portland Observatory Poster

Portland Observatory Poster / Maine Historical Society

The Portland Observatory was restored twice, once in 1936 and then in 1998-2000 due to damage caused by powder post beetles eating away at the wooden posts. The Portland Observatory ceased its flag system operation in 1923 and has been owned by the city since 1937.

 

Item 171

View of the Whig Pavilion, Mount Joy, Portland, 1837

View of the Whig Pavilion, Mount Joy, Portland, 1837 / Maine Historical Society

<b>Interviews</b>

Emily Wiederkehr, Greater Portland Landmarks - Coordinator of Education and Observatory Programs

<b>Websites</b>

Http://www.portlandlangmarks.org/portland_observatory/observatory.htm

http://www.portlandme.about.com/cs/mainehistory/a/observatory.htm

http://www.portlandmarks.org/kidsport/obsinto.html

http://www.add61.k12.me.us/~maine_studies/observwq.html

http://www.structure.de/en/structures/data/s0011647/inde.cfm

http://www.coastlinemememories.com/casco.bay.portland.area.points.interest.observatory.html/

http://www.realitytimes.com/pastjournal/observatory.html/