2016-07-15 / Community

A Window on the Past

History of Western South Portland
By Kathryn DiPhilippo, director
South Portland Historical Society


This 1960 photo shows rooms for rent at a building at 762 Main St. We have no further information on it, however. If you know anything about this business or who operated it, we hope you’ll contact South Portland Historical Society to let us know about it. This 1960 photo shows rooms for rent at a building at 762 Main St. We have no further information on it, however. If you know anything about this business or who operated it, we hope you’ll contact South Portland Historical Society to let us know about it. At South Portland Historical Society, while we are interested in the history of our entire city, sometimes we find it hard to document the history of the areas that lie west of Cash Corner. We know that our archives are a bit lopsided with photographs and documents from South Portland east end. That can be attributed to the fact that so much of South Portland’s early settled areas tended to be on our northeast end: the most populat- ed neighborhoods in earlier years were Willard, Ferry Village and Knightville; our historic lighthouses and shipyard areas were along the northern and easterly waterfront; and Fort Preble is one of our most easterly points. One of the great sources to help us in historic research is historic maps, and yet most maps of South Portland only covered our central and eastern parts – finding a map that shows anything west of Cash Corner is rare and considered quite a find.

With that in mind, we would again like to reach out to residents who live or have lived in our westerly neighborhoods: Thornton Heights and Sunset Park (along Main Street); Meadowbrook (those streets surrounding Broadway west of Cash Corner); Crockett’s Corner (intersection of Broadway and Westbrook Street); Redbank and Long Creek, as well as anyone who has any historic photograph or other record of anything that existed on the lands around the Maine Mall before it was developed. Do you have any old photographs or documents that show people or places in your neighborhood? Do you know of anyone who used to live here and is still living, but has moved away – and would you help us find a way to contact them?

The accompanying photograph (page 5) was recently found and cataloged at our historical society. It shows the Sunset Store at what we believe to be 782 Main St. Markings on the back of the photo indicate that it was taken just opposite Dr. Lombard’s house and office on Main Street. We can tell from the signage on the building that the store sold old books and antiques. Another listing for this address shows Antonio Esposito as both the shop owner and also living in a residence in this building. We would love to learn more about it and document the existence of this business. If anyone remembers shopping here or has any additional information to share we’d love to hear from you. Please give us a call at 767-7299 or send us an email at sphistory04106@gmail.com. We could really use your help trying to document the western areas of South Portland.

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