Friday, July 07, 2006

Greater Portland Landmarks’ Walking Tour Season Begins
Greater Portland Landmarks’ popular walking tour season began on July 1. Three tours that will be offered regularly until September 30th are the Old Port Walking Tour, Portland’s Golden Age (1800-1860) Tour, and the Eastern Cemetery Tour. A special tour, titled Homes of Portland’s Premier Architects, will be offered on two Saturdays: August 19 and October 7.

The Old Port Walking Tour, offered Monday through Saturday, leaves at 10:30 a.m. from the Greater Portland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at 245 Commercial Street. This tour provides a look at the events and people who shaped Portland and left their imprint on its streetscapes and architecture. The history of the Old Port is traced from its earliest days as a bustling seaport to its revival as a vibrant retail and commercial center.

The Homes of Portland’s Golden Age (1800-1860) will leave each Friday at 10:30 a.m. from the Portland Museum of Art at 7 Congress Square. Elegant Federal mansions, Greek Revival residences and Italianate homes found in the Spring Street Historic District are featured on this tour. The tour offers a more personal side of Portland’s history and focuses on the architectural development in this historic area that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

The Eastern Cemetery tour will explore the oldest burial ground on the Portland peninsula. Leaving each Thursday at 10:30 a.m. from the Portland Observatory on 138 Congress Street, this tour focuses on the Eastern Cemetery that was established in 1668 and is the resting place of early settlers and other famous Portlanders. Among those buried there are Commodore Edward Preble, Lemuel Moody and the two young captains of the Boxer and the Enterprise who died during the War of 1812. Interesting and beautiful headstone art that reflects changing attitudes toward death over the years will also be discussed.

Regularly scheduled walking tours are lead by volunteer docents trained by Greater Portland Landmarks. Tickets are available for purchase at the location where each tour begins, or at the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 245 Commercial Street, or at the Portland Downtown District kiosk in Tommy’s Park. Tickets are $7 for adults and children under 16 are free when accompanied by an adult. Reservations are not needed. Special group tours can be arranged in advance by contacting Bjorn Swenson at Greater Portland Landmarks 774-5561, ext. 104.

The Homes of Portland’s Premier Architects tour explores Portland’s expansion in the 19th and early 20th century in which architects became master artists in their own right. This special tour features the historic West End and residences that George Burnham, Frederick Tompson, Charles Alexander, Francis Fassett and John Calvin Stevens designed for their families. Advance registration is required for this tour – call 774-5561 ext 105 for reservations. The price is $15 – a discount is available for Greater Portland Landmarks members. For more information about any of the events, contact Greater Portland Landmarks at 774-5561 or visit


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