Bird’s Eye View Map Gallery


Portland (1866)

Map Title

Birds Eye View of Portland, Me. Taken Two Days After the Great Fire of July 4th 1866.


G. Bowker


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Publication Date





G. Bowker (from a photograph by Black & Case)


J. Mayer & Co.


B.B. Russell & Co., John Hankerson


34 x 46 cm


Maine Historical Society

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Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Population of City/Town at Time of Publication


Description of City/Town

On the 4th of July, 1866, a carelessly thrown cracker set fire to a boat-builder’s shop on Commercial street, whence the flames were soon communicated to Brown’s Sugar House; whence it swept on diagonally through the city spreading like a fan as it went….The morning saw fifteen hundred buildings laid in ashes, fifty-eight streets and courts reduced to a wilderness of chimneys, amid which the most familiar inhabitant lost himself; ten thousand people made homeless, and ten millions of property destroyed. Villages of tents and barracks sprung up on Munjoy….In rebuilding, old streets were widened and straightened, and new ones opened; and, after a lapse of ten years, the waste places were almost wholly rebuilt, far more roomy, convenient, and handsome than before. Meantime, the increase of the business facilities of the city went on. In the same period, various manufacturers sprang up within the city or in its vicinity, as the rolling of railroad iron, the making of carriages, shoes, matches, stoneware, and drainpipes….In 1870, Lake Sebago water was introduced by aqueduct all through the city, and the sewerage rendered more complete. Broad and regular streets, handsome and substantial business blocks, elegant and commodious dwellings, good drainage, well-lighted streets, pure water, excellent air, convenient conveyance in and out of the city, by horse and steam cars,—numerous shade trees, unsurpassed views of sea and shore, good schools, well-attended churches, and a moral, industrious, enterprising and courteous people—these render Portland one of the most desirable cities for a home and business.

A Gazetteer of the State of Maine, George J. Varney, 1881, 1886

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Portland, Cumberland County, Maine, Bird's eye, View, Map


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