Most Inconvenient Storm

Text by Candace Kanes

Images from Maine Historical Society

The ice storm of January 28, 1886, wreaked havoc with trees in Portland and other Maine cities and towns, with electric lines and street railroads, with pedestrians, and with communications.

The Portland Daily Press wrote, "When the citizens looked out of their windows yesterday morning, the trees presented a beautiful spectacle, the branches laden with ice; but it proved a sad spectacle in its results."

As branches snapped off the noted elms along Portland's streets and the oaks at Deering Park, a Portland photography firm, Heath & Smith, took photos of the scene, especially on the city's west end.

The photographs were printed on heavy card stock and sold as reminders of the beauty and devastation.

On the back was printed, "Views on the Streets of Portland, after the great Ice Storm of Jan. 28, 1886, showing in wonderful beauty the destruction of the Forest City's Famous Trees."

Heath & Smith took a number of the photos in this exhibit, which serve as a reminder of winter's potential power.

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