Upcoming Events

Thursday, October 13Lecture: Pirates of New England - At 6:30pm, Seth Goldstein will give an encore presentation of “Pirates of New England” in the senior room of the South Portland Community Center, 21 Nelson Road. What do you think of when you hear the word “pirates?” Most people think of sparkling blue Caribbean waters, but New England has a rich and fascinating connection to these “Brethren of the Coast.” Seth will share stories of pirates throughout the region. Some of these instances of piracy even took place right here in our backyard of Casco Bay. Prepare yourself to be introduced to a rogues gallery of sea raiders with connections to New England including Dixie Bull, Edward Low, and “Black” Sam Bellamy. Free for current Society members; $20 for non-members.

 

Saturday, October 15 – Walking tour: People’s History of the South Portland Waterfront - At 1pm, Seth Goldstein will offer a two-hour walking tour along the eastern waterfront. Goldstein will discuss the Wabanaki, virgin soil epidemics, the French and Indian Wars, enslaved Africans in South Portland and the Greater Portland area, the West Indies trade, and the shipyards of South Portland with particular emphasis on the women who worked there. The tour is free for current Society members; $25 for non-members. Pre-registration is required. To pre-register, please email the Society at sphistory04106@gmail.com or call 767-7299.    

 

Saturday, October 22 – Walking tours: Mount Pleasant Cemetery - At 11am and 1pm, Kathy DiPhilippo will offer walking tours at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. During these one-hour tours, 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 is free for current Society members; $25 for non-members. Pre-registration is required. To pre-register, please email the Society at sphistory04106@gmail.com or call 767-7299.

 

Sunday, November 13 – Sunday Chat with Russell Dole – From 11am-1pm, at the Cushing’s Point Museum at Bug Light Park, Russell Dole will be on hand to talk and sign copies of his books. Russell is a retired history teacher from Rockland who now lives in South Portland. His most recent book, "In Search of Honor, Book IV - The Twentieth Maine Regiment,” is scheduled to be published in November. In this exciting conclusion, Union soldier Benjamin Dean joins the 20th Maine Regiment which is commanded by Dean’s former college professor, Joshua Chamberlain. The two of them, along with the 20th Maine Regiment, will soon change the course of the war. Russell’s books will be available in the museum gift shop for purchase and signing at the event. This event is free.

 

Sunday, November 20 – Sunday Chat with Ron Romano – From 11am-1pm, at the Cushing’s Point Museum at Bug Light Park, Ron Romano will be on hand to talk and sign copies of his books. Active locally with Portland’s non-profit Friends of Eastern Cemetery and nationally with the Association for Gravestone Studies, 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. Ron’s books are available in the museum gift shop for purchase and signing at the event. This event is free.

 

Sunday, November 27 – Sunday Chat with Jean Flahive – From 11am-1pm, at the Cushing’s Point Museum at Bug Light Park, Jean Flahive will be on hand to talk and sign copies of her books. Jean 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,” a fictionalized tale of a day at sea about a real person, a dory fisherman, Eben York, from Chebeague Island, who rowed almost daily into Portland Harbor to sell his catch. Jean’s books are available in the museum gift shop for purchase and signing at the event. This event is free.

 

Sunday, December 4 – Recital - A Child’s Christmas in Wales – At 1pm at the Cushing’s Point Museum at Bug Light Park, Society member Jack Nordby will return for an encore performance of his recital of the Dylan Thomas classic, A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Come hear the 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. This event is free.

 

Wednesday, January 18Lecture: Maine and the West Indies Trade - At 6:30pm at the South Portland Community Center, Seth Goldstein will discuss his research on “Maine and the West Indies Trade.” Seth has spent the last several years examining the close economic ties between Maine and the plantations of the West Indies where enslaved Africans grew luxury goods such as sugar, chocolate, and coffee. Learn how the merchants of Maine contributed to the economics of enslavement by providing the food that fed the enslaved Africans and the lumber that built the plantations. In return, Mainers consumed large quantities of goods produced on plantations in places like Cuba, Martinique, and Suriname. This event is free for current members of the South Portland Historical Society; $20 for non-members.

 

Thursday, February 16– Lecture: The Lobster and Aquaculture Industries of Maine, Past and PresentAt 6:30pm at SoPo Seafood, 171 Ocean Street, South Portland, Seth Goldstein will discuss “The Lobster and Aquaculture Industries of Maine, Past and Present.” Although lobsters and oysters are highly-prized luxury foods today, historically they were the food of the poor. Learn how these foods went from being “trash” species to becoming valuable commodities. Seth will discuss how lobster-fishing techniques evolved over time as the creature was over-fished. Hear the colorful stories of the lobster industry as it expanded from a local commodity to a global icon. Historically, shellfish joined lobsters as an inexpensive food. Today oysters and other shellfish sit at the forefront of Maine’s aquaculture industry. Seth will be accompanied by a local aqua-culture expert who will discuss how the industry is changing the Maine fishery. The presentation is free for Historical Society members and $10 for nonmembers. Participants will have the opportunity to become Historical Society members before the lecture. Members gain free access to our full year of programing.

 

Thursday, March 23Lecture: The History of Willard Beach – At 6:30pm at the South Portland Community Center, Kathy DiPhilippo will present “The History of Willard Beach.”  Willard Beach is a popular destination for beachgoers today. In this illustrated lecture, Kathy DiPhilippo will show historic images and talk about the history of the beach – from its start as a fishing cove to its heyday as a destination for travelers and locals alike. Many longtime residents can still remember the old Willard Haven Hotel on the beach. Some may recall Chick Wilder, the much-beloved lifeguard and caretaker of the beach. With its location next to Fort Preble, which was an active military base for many years, Willard Beach has a lot of history to dig into. This event is free for current members of the South Portland Historical Society; $20 for non-members.

 

Wednesday April 19Lecture: Immigration in South Portland - At 6:30pm at the South Portland Community Center, Seth Goldstein will discuss “Immigration in South Portland.” Today we live on the unceded land of the Wabanaki. Since these first migrants arrived between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago, many waves of immigrants have made South Portland their home. This lecture will be a preview of the upcoming Cushing’s Point Museum exhibit on the topic of the immigrant experience in our community. Seth will use the mass gravesite of the Irish immigrants who perished in the shipwreck of the Bohemian, located in Calvary Cemetery, as the jumping off point for a discussion on Irish immigration. He will delve into the experiences of other groups of immigrants including enslaved Africans, Italians, and Jews. Seth will conclude his presentation with a discussion of recent African immigrants to our city including current mayor Deqa Dhalac, the U.S.’s first Somali-American mayor.