Wednesday, September 20, 6:30pm: Holly K. Hurd, executive director of the Tate House, will lecture on “The Colonial Mast Trade” in the Casco Bay room of the South Portland Community Center, 21 Nelson Road.
Before the American Revolution the harvesting of white pine trees was an important part of the local economy. These large tree trunks were destined to become masts for the British king’s navy. Suitable trees were marked with three hatchet strokes forming “the King’s broad arrow,” indicating that they were now his property. The acquisition of these masts was so significant that the crown’s senior mast agent became one of the most powerful individuals in the province of Maine. The house built for mast agent George Tate reflects his important position. Today the Tate House is the oldest building in Portland and is operated as a house museum.
On Saturday, October 7th, at 1pm, Seth Goldstein will offer his “People’s History of the South Portland Waterfront” tour. The tour focuses on regional Indigenous history, African enslavement and Seth’s research on the “West Indies Trade.” The rain date for this tour is October 14. The tour will meet at the Old Settler’s Cemetery on the campus of SMCC.
Wednesday, October 18, 6:30pm: Historian, author and former professor at USM, Michael Connolly, will present his research on Irish immigration in Greater Portland. The presentation will be held in the Casco Bay room of the South Portland Community Center, 21 Nelson Road. This lecture is related to our current exhibit at the Cushing’s Point Museum: “Immigration in South Portland, Past and Present.” The Irish, fleeing a potato blight in their homeland, arrived in large numbers in greater Portland starting in the 1840s. When they arrived the Irish in Maine worked as laborers building canals, train tracks and working as longshoremen unloading ships on the waterfront. The Irish faced persecution due to their Catholic religion, language and culture that was different from the Protestant English.
On Saturday, October 21, at 11pm, Kathy DiPhilippo will offer tours at Mount Pleasant Cemetery on Meeting House Hill. Kathy will talk about South Portland’s history and the many well-known South Portlanders who are buried in this cemetery that dates back to 1734. The tour will take place at 11am with an additional tour at 1pm if demand requires. The rain date for this tour is October 28.
Sunday, November 12th, 11am-1pm
Chat with Jean Flahive and Michael Connolly
Jean Flahive is the author of many books, some of which include Billy Boy, Railroad to the Moon, and a children’s book, The Old Mainer and the Sea. Michael Connolly is the author of Seated by the Sea: The Maritime History of Portland, Maine, and its Irish Longshoremen and his recently published historical fiction Murky Overhead.
Sunday, November 26, 11am-1pm
Chat with Paul Ledman
Paul’s newest book, Portland Maine: Connections Across Time,” is an intriguing work that connects Portland history to contemporary global events. The book is packed with maps and photographs that help the reader understand the many connections between historic Portland and national and global trends. Paul is also the author Walking Through History: Portland, Maine on Foot.
Wednesday, November 29, 6:30pm: SPHS board president Larry Legere will present a lecture on the historic Casco Bay liners in the Casco Bay room of the South Portland Community Center. Larry’s father, Edward James Legere, was a Casco Bay Lines captain who sailed the last steam-powered ship in the fleet. Larry will share his personal photographs and remembrances of his father’s time as a captain.
Sunday, December 3rd, 1pm
Jack Norby recites
“A Child’s Christmas in Wales”
Society member Jack Nordby will return for an encore performance of his recital of the Dylan Thomas classic, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” at the historical society’s museum at Bug Light Park. A Child's Christmas in Wales is a much-loved, almost lyrical tale of childhood Christmas memories. This 25-minute star of Thomas' work is best heard aloud for the "music" in the words.
Sunday December 10th
Chat with Ron Romano
Ron is the author of four cemetery-themed books. Ron recently published Billboard Monuments of Maine and Curious Gravestones in Northern New England. The two books offer a fascinating look at the unique billboard style headstones of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.