Tourist Information Building – Portland ME

Description

The Independent Reporter published a story on June 11, 1936 regarding a WPA project to build a tourist information building in Portland Maine.

“Tourist Information Building To Be Built in Portland By The State

The State, in connection with W.P.A. funds, is having this building erected in Portland at the junction of St. John and Danforth Streets to be used exclusively for Tourist Information to our visitors and our State of Mainers.

This building is sponsored by the Maine Development Commission and leased to the Maine Publicity Bureau for its headquarters instead of its present location in Longfellow Square, which will be given up when the new building is completed , it is expected, about August 1st.

The building is stragetically (sic) located on Route No. 1 at the Portland end of Vaughan’s bridge which connects South Portland over Fore River and the Upper Harbor, the gateway to Portland and Northern and Eastern Maine. The Maine Publicity Bureau will then be in a position to handle all tourist traffic entering Portland from the south, representing about 80% of the entire tourist traffic that comes into Maine.

During the past few years traffic coming over Vaughan’s Bridge into Portland has gradually split, part of it going via St. John street and Park avenue and via Deering avenue over Dartmouth street to Forest avenue and the Baxter Boulevard for travel over Routes 1, 3, 11, 18, 24, 26, 100 and 302 for distribution to all sections of Maine.

Contact with those people has been missed at the Bureau’s present location in Longfellow Square now that the traveler and local business houses realize that it is no longer desirable to route traffic through congested areas. A check-up last summer showed an average of 55% going that way.

The plans of the building provide every modern facility for the handling of tourist travel and for the comfort and convenience of tourist visitors when receiving the council and advice of the Bureau’s trained travel counsellors.

Attractive landscaping will be carried out by the Portland Park Department as a part of the Western Promenade development and the land area is sufficient to provide ample parking space for a hundred or more cars.”

It is unsure what purpose the building is currently used for. When contributor Andrew Laverdiere visited the site, he could see through the windows that it is in use as an office, but there are no signs or information on the outside. Route 1 has long been supplanted by Interstate 95 as the main access to the state and the entire area was radically changed as far as the roadways are concerned when Vaughans Bridge was demolished in 1954 and replaced by the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Source notes

The Independent Reporter (a long-defunct weekly Somerset county newspaper)

Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on July 14, 2016.

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Location Info


501 Danforth St.
Portland, ME 04102

Coordinates: 43.643914, -70.276066

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