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For Educators


Creating Portland
History and Place in Northern New England
Joseph Conforti, ed.



Revisiting New England

University of New Hampshire Press
2005 • 388 pp. 41 illus. 6 x 9"
New England History / Urban Studies / Maine

$24.95 Paperback, 978-1-58465-449-0



Creating Portland is a benchmark publication, of a kind that many of us in the field, as well as general readers, have been craving for decades... this saga is packed with fresh information and ideas, and is a joy to read.” Portland Press Herald

The only comprehensive study of Portland’s history, culture, and people.

Portland, the largest city in Maine, has recently become one of the most popular destinations in the United States. Named one of New England’s most livable cities, Portland has grown over the past quarter century into a major regional center and international tourist mecca.

From the colonial period, Portland has been defined by its diverse array of peoples. Native American inhabitants possessed a strong sense of place rooted in spiritual beliefs, environmental practices, and tribal lore. Puritans, Quakers, and Baptists brought religious diversity to Colonial Falmouth (one of several early names for Portland). By the late eighteenth century, free blacks formed an important community. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Irish, Italian, Greek, and Jewish immigrants made their way to Portland. Today, more recent immigrants include individuals from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In addition, Portland has a thriving gay community.

Geography, history, and public policy all shaped modern Portland. The core of the city is on a peninsula with a protected harbor on Casco Bay. Across time, Portland residents have exploited geography to develop a natural resource economy. Portland has been a fur trading post, a fishing center, a lumbering and shipbuilding community, a commercial entrepot, and a tourist destination. Portland’s proximity to the sea has been the overriding factor in its development, and is a central theme of the historical essays in this volume.

A model of contemporary place studies, Creating Portland brings together essays by fourteen scholars on the history, geography, arts, literature, and built environment of Portland over the course of three centuries. Illuminating Portland within the larger context of New England regionalism, and unified by a focus on Portland as a living, changing urban center, Creating Portland is an invaluable guide to the city and a resource for scholars, students, residents, and tourists.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews:

“[A]n eclectic, informative, and often illuminating history that is pulled together by Conforti's introduction and epilogue, which highlight the continuities and recurring themes that emerge and fill in the gaps between essays . . . Rich in information and detail, and offering focused rather than wide-ranging analyses and interpretations, Creating Portland... enhance[s] our historical knowledge and understanding of... Maine communities as well as of the statewide and regional context in which those communities evolved.” —The New England Quarterly

“As Portland has become a popular destination for a weekend or permanent getaway, the essays published in Creating Portland provide insights into how and why it became so. Topics include the city's early history, its role as a commercial center, and the creation of its urban landscape.” —Boston Globe

" . . . exceedingly readable . . . fascinating . . . the sort of book one underlines and makes notes in when planning to actually go somewhere. Whether you go or not, this one is a star."Courier-Gazette (ME)

Awards/Recognition:

Certificate of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History 2006


JOSEPH CONFORTI served for ten years as the director of the graduate program in American and New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine. He is the author of five books on New England, most recently Imagining New England: Exploration of Regional Identity from the Pilgrims to the Mid-Twentieth Century (2001).






Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:51:20 -0500