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Listen My Children: 1900

Listen My Children: 1900

Portland, Maine, circa 1900. "Longfellow's birthplace." The home where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in 1807, when Portland was part of Massachusetts. Off to the right, in front of the Block Shop: Two Shortfellows. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

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161 Fore Street

If that's the correct address, then a Residence Inn sits on this spot now. What a shame that the city didn't hold onto this piece of history.

About to Fade Away

The "Block Shop" was probably a source of rigging blocks for sailing ships, a business already in eclipse in 1900. The ship-rigged weathervane is appropriate. Not only did such ships require over 100 blocks to handle control lines, but to the people buying them, it mattered which way the wind was blowing.

Another neat detail in this photo is the corner piece of the sidewalk, which seems to be a single piece of stone with the storm drain carved into it rather than a poured concrete thing such as would be used today. New England was always well endowed with stone, especially hard-to-work granite.

Anecdotal evidence

The house, which faced the harbor, stood on Fore Street, then a fashionable part of Portland.

In later years the house where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born was a tenement occupied by Irish families.

During that period, it is said a Portland schoolteacher asked her class, "Can you tell me where the poet Longfellow was born?"

A small boy answered, "Yes'm, in Patsy Connor's bedroom."

The house was torn down in 1955.

Source: Maine Memory Network

Antenna

I am not sure of its exact location but there seems to be an antenna on a roof top near the telephone pole on the right If so, what in early 1900's would it hope to receive?

[Airwaves. - Dave]

Blowin in the Wind

I like the ship weather vane.

Watch Your Step

I hope there is another entrance to the place next door because that first step at the door we see is a doozy.

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