2013-03-08 / Community

Then and Now – Knightville

By Kathryn DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society

In the accompanying two photographs, we see a glimpse of Knightville around 1967 and again today. The buildings themselves haven’t changed that much in the five decades that separate the photos, but the occupants sure have.

In the circa 1967 photograph, we see the old Chevron station that used to operate in Legion Square, on the corner of Ocean and E street. Of course, that Chevron station was fairly new in the 1967 photo; that corner was previously home to Thomas Devine’s pharmacy, an old-fashioned drug store with a soda fountain in an attractive, stately building. Like many of the old homes that used to exist on Ocean Street, the pharmacy was torn down to make way for new development.

Another interesting piece of this old photo is the large billboard seen above the gas station, advertising the “new bordered ScotTowels.” One of the hot topics of today is the recent introduction of a bill in the Maine Legislature that has many Maine residents concerned; if that bill were to pass, the fear is that it would open the door to billboards once again. The law banning billboards was passed in 1977 and they were gradually removed over the following few years. South Portland had many billboards in this time period – many on Main Street and Broadway, as well as in Mill Creek and Knightville.


The Knightville area of South Portland hasn’t changed much, except for one detail – billboards were allowed in the 1960s, when the top photo was taken. (Courtesy photos) The Knightville area of South Portland hasn’t changed much, except for one detail – billboards were allowed in the 1960s, when the top photo was taken. (Courtesy photos) On the left side of the photo, Smaha’s Legion Square Market was there in the 1960s and it is still there today. Although it is now under new ownership, the store remains one of the few locally owned shops that is still going strong after all these years.

Return to top