2013-05-03 / Community

Museum features Pleasantdale neighborhood

A Window on the Past
By Kathryn DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society


This historical photo shows the Pleasantdale neighborhood. The museum is now open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there is no charge for admission, thanks to the many generous people and businesses in our community who support our historical society, and the wonderful volunteers who you will find at the museum. For more information, call 767-7299 or visit http://www.sphistory.org/. (Courtesy photo) This historical photo shows the Pleasantdale neighborhood. The museum is now open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there is no charge for admission, thanks to the many generous people and businesses in our community who support our historical society, and the wonderful volunteers who you will find at the museum. For more information, call 767-7299 or visit http://www.sphistory.org/. (Courtesy photo) One of the really cool things that makes South Portland special is the strong identity of each of its neighborhoods. There is a clear historic reason for these strong identities and that is due to the early “villages” that existed throughout our community.

If you had lived in South Portland in the late 1800s, there was no South Portland Post Office. Instead, you would have found a post office substation located in your own neighborhood – probably run by your neighborhood grocer or pharmacist. The post office name would be the name of the neighborhood, so although you may have lived in Cape Elizabeth or South Portland (depending on the year), you would have a mailing address of a place like “Willard, ME” or “Knightville, ME.”

The Pleasantdale neighborhood covers the area between Anthoine Street and Evans Street, and from Highland Avenue on the south end to Turner’s Island in the north. Because the railroad ran across Broadway at Evans Street, our community’s first post office was located in the railroad depot building there and the neighborhood was first known as Cape Elizabeth Depot. By the end of the 1800s, the Cape Elizabeth Depot and Turner’s Island areas had merged and become known as Pleasantdale, and the Pleasantdale post office was located right at the intersection of Broadway and Evans.

In the accompanying aerial photograph provided to the society courtesy of Portland Pipe Line, we see a view of the Pleasantdale area in 1941. The large field in the middle was just being developed into the tank farm. Some of the important pieces I see are Nutter Road running left to right at the bottom of the photo with Evans Street running bottom to top on the left side – on Evans Street, the old Evans Street School can clearly be seen, and following up to where Evans meets Broadway, you can see the large brick Reynolds School about two blocks to the right. Continuing on to the right of Reynolds School, you can see the greenhouses of Minott’s Florist between Hill Street and Broadway. Beyond Pleasantdale is the large expanse of Forest City Cemetery.

Our thanks to the businesses that have sponsored the Pleasantdale exhibit: Flynn & Company Real Estate, Town & Country Federal Credit Union, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance and Duval’s Service Center.

Return to top