Monday, March 17, 2008

EVENT: The Night Portland Burned

The final talk in the Spirits Alive winter lecture series is on March 29th!

WHEN: Saturday, March 29th at 10am
WHERE: One Longfellow Square (at the corner of State and Congress Streets)
WHAT: Earle G.Shettleworth, Jr., State Historic Preservation Commission Director will be presenting, "The Day Portland Burned: July 4, 1866."

This illustrated lecture is free and open to the public. A brief Q&A will follow. Beverages will be available for purchase. Donations to Spirits Alive are always appreciated.

Notable for being the worst urban fire of its time in the United States, The Great Fire struck just as Portland was recovering from its active role in the Civil War. Within 24 hours, the center of the peninsula lay in ruins with 10,000 people left homeless. It was estimated that there was over $12 million in damage. Even the Eastern Cemetery was affected as the inferno swept up Munjoy Hill.

True to its motto "Resurgam", the city quickly rebounded by constructing a Grand Victorian business district and establishing new residential neighborhoods on the east and west ends of the peninsula. The lecture traces the dramatic destruction and rebirth of a great American city.

A Portland native, Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. attended Deering High School, Colby College and Boston University. At the age of thirteen he became interested in historic preservation through the destruction of Portland's Union Station in 1961. In 1971 he was appointed by Governor Curtis to serve on the board of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, for which he became architectural historian in 1973 and director in 1976. Shettleworth has lectured and written extensively on Maine history and architecture, his most recent publication being Portland in the Arcadia postcard series. He currently serves as chair of the Capitol Planning Commission, the Blaine House Commission, and the State House and Capitol Park Commission.

In March 2004, Governor Baldacci appointed Mr. Shettleworth as State Historian.

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