Portland Brick

Portland Brick

portlandbrick

PUBLISHED

Portland, ME

Past, present, and future stories from the India St neighborhood of Portland, Maine.

1. Wabanaki Land

Wabanaki Land

Eastern Promenade Trail, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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All of these spots are on Wabanaki land.

The first story of this project commemorates the longest standing human connection to Maine. Portland Brick would like to honor and acknowledge the first people of Maine, members of The Wabanaki Confederacy. Portland Brick appropriates the historical handle “On this spot” to commemorate significant moments in the life of what is now known as The India Street Neighborhood. We wanted to start the project by acknowledging its past. All of the spots in this project are on Wabanaki land. Wabanaki refers to the people of the dawn. Maine’s first name was “the dawn land”.
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2. Celebrate Becoming a U.S. Citizen, Every Year

Ghassan Hassoon

Thames St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot, every year, Ghassan Hassoon celebrates becoming a U.S. citizen #newmainer.

Ghassan Hassoon is twenty-one years old. He is studying to become a biochemist. Ghassan moved to Maine from Iraq. His first language is Arabic. On September 17th 2014 Ghassan became a U.S. citizen near the India Street Neighborhood. Since Ghassan received U.S. citizenship, the location where his ceremony took place has become significant. He goes there to remember and be inspired. He goes there when he needs to figure something out. In Ghassan’s words this spot always gives him answers and hope. He shared that it can be hard to both be in a new place and learn a new language and be from another place and watch what is happening there. Every day Ghassan feels grateful that he has, “something people would pay all they have to get”. Ghassan’s spot is at the base of India Street and Commercial Street. Coincidentally, this is the exact location where many new Mainers first set foot for hundreds of years.
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3. Abyssinian Meeting House, 1898

Abyssinian Shipwreck

Thames St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1898 the Abyssinian Meeting House tragically lost a third of its members in a shipwreck #SS Portland.

During a walking tour of Portland’s Freedom Trail with artist Daniel Minter, he shared the story of the SS Portland. He explained that many African American Portlanders were on the SS Portland when it when down. He explained how huge the impact of this loss was for the African American community based in the India Street Neighborhood. The Abyssinian Meeting House was a community.

The Abyssinian Meeting House was constructed by free blacks who came together to seek opportunity and refuge. The Meeting House became the cultural center of the community. Meetings, church services, concerts, a segregated public school, dinners and entertainment made the Abyssinian the center of political and social life which united the community throughout the 19th century. Its members and preachers included former enslaved people, leaders of the Underground Railroad movement and outspoken advocates for the abolition of slavery in the United States. The Meeting House closed in 1917 and was remodeled in 1924 as tenement apartments. Eventually the City of Portland seized the building for unpaid taxes. The building sat vacant and deteriorating, nearly forgotten, until community leaders founded the Committee to Restore the Abyssinian and purchased the building in 1998 from the City. –The Abyssinian Meeting House Facebook Page

Portland Brick honors the lives lost and the impact this loss had on the culture and leadership in the neighborhood. In meeting with board members of The Abyssinian Meeting House we learned that often white people have told or appropriated this history. Our aim as outsiders is to not replicate this pattern. It is only a partial success. If you have questions about the stories of The Abyssinian Meeting House and want to learn more please contact: info@abyme.org
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4. One of Portland's First Streets

India St

1 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1680, India Street became one of Portland's first streets.

The base of India Street was one of the first European settlements in Portland and, in fact, wasn’t Portland at that point. It was part of Falmouth. 1680 marks the construction of Fort Loyal. In the 1700 and 1800’s India Street was the commercial center of Portland. It was known as King Street. India Street was the first home to many immigrant families due to its location next to the water and eventually the rail. In the words of Julie Larry, an architect with a focus on historic preservation, “India Street was always a transitional area between residential and commercial areas and it remains so today”. Julie grew up coming to The India Street Neighborhood on Saturdays for dinner with her family at The Village Café.

http://www.portlandmaine.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/4276
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5. 1 Snowy Owl

Grand Trunk Railroad Building

1-5 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 2014, 1 snowy owl took up residence #grandtrunkrrblg #pigeonsupper.

There are some stories about One India Street, the lone historic brick building that was part of the railroad station complex at Mile 0.0 for the Grand Trunk RR which ran from that spot up to Canada.

There are some stories about One India Street, the lone historic brick building that was part of the railroad station complex at Mile 0.0 for the Grand Trunk RR which ran from that spot up to Canada.

I got a job in 1999 working for Portland Trails (Education/Outreach) when it occupied the second floor corner closest to Commercial and the water, and we were there until we outgrew the space in 2004 or later. ILAP was on the first floor. Water was beginning to come in the windows on the ocean side when it rained. PT is now at 305 Commercial, and I still work for the org. The main story I think of now is about the snow owl who took up residency last year enjoying the pigeons who were living on the third floor. –Laura Newman

Snowy owls are an uncommon sight in Southern Maine. They migrated south due to starvation. This event inspired the creation of a children’s book called A Snowy Owl Story. The book explores migration patterns in relation to food scarcity.


http://www.pressherald.com/2014/01/17/rescued_snowy_owl_called__plump___healthy_
/


http://www.islandportpress.com/a-snowy-owl-story.html
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6. Ringling Brothers

India St

2-28 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1932, the Ringling Brothers marched their elephants up India St.

In the 1900’s India Street was home to many Italian Americans. Louis Germani grew up in The India Street Neighborhood and recalled watching the circus come to town and march the elephants up the street.
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7. Swimming in Broadcove, 1632

Broadcove Shoreline

167 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1632, you would have been swimming in Broad Cove.

Over time the physical features of The India Street neighborhood have changed. In the words of tour guide Jeane Boule, “you have to imagine looking out at the water and seeing ships. You have to imagine how loud it was with the trains coming in”. What is now a main street in Portland populated with hotels and restaurants used to be under water.
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8. Eden Wondered, 2014

Eden Wondered, 2014

38-48 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 2014, Eden wondered if adolescence would ever end.

During the fall of 2014, Elise collaborated on Portland Brick with a freshman seminar class at The Maine College of Art. Students did artist residencies in the neighborhood and collected research on the neighborhood’s history. The aim of this project is also to shape new memories of the neighborhood. To open the class, students were sent on a scavenger hunt to create their own memories in the neighborhood. When they returned, they captured their experience as potential brick phrases. Eden was a freshman that semester. This was her story from the scavenger hunt.
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9. Micucci's Every Christmas

Micucci's

45 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot, every Christmas,Micucci's is packed with friends and family #torrone #panettone.

Miccuci’s is a staple of The India Street Neighborhood. It’s an Italian grocery store frequented by many Portlanders. Mrs. Micucci talked about the feeling of joy that surrounds every Christmas. Whether people are home for the holidays, visiting relatives, or picking up last minute torrone, Miccuci’s bustles with life at Christmas time.
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10. First Jewish Wedding, 1872

First Jewish Wedding

25 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1872, the first Jewish wedding in Portland took place.

Parts of the India Street Neighborhood are historically Jewish. In a conversation with Rabbi Gary at Etz Chaim, we learned that the first Jewish wedding took place in the neighborhood. It took a bit of sleuthing to figure out the exact location—the first Jewish wedding predates the two known synagogues in the neighborhood. City records dating from the 1800’s only included Christian houses of worship. To locate the first Jewish wedding, Abraham from the Portland Room at The Portland Public Library helped us look through the city records. In 1872 rabbis often lived adjacent to houses of worship. We located this spot by finding the last name of the rabbi who served at this time and the location of his home.
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11. Jordan's Meats Opened, 1962

Jordan's Meats

36-70 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1962, Jordan's Meats opened its plant #redhotdogs.

The Jordan’s Meat Factory took up an entire block of The India Street Neighborhood. Many people associate it with the iconic red hot dog. When Jordan’s closed in 2004 almost three hundred people lost their jobs. The building remained standing. A number of people shared stories of breaking into the abandoned building. In 2010 the building burned to the ground. Many people speculated about the cause of the fire due to the high property value of the site. A hotel and parking lot were built on this site.
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12. A Neighborhood was Lost

A Neighborhood was Lost

83 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1967 a neighborhood was lost. #franklinarterial.

Originally the India Street neighborhood extended beyond what is now known as the Franklin Arterial. Homes lined small streets where you now see one prominent throughway. It was argued that Portland needed a wider street system that could accommodate traffic. You can see the ghost of the old neighborhood if you walk up to Newbury Street just beyond Hampshire St. There you can see that the street suddenly ends, but you can also trace the line of where it would extend across The Arterial to the police department and court house. Many families were dislocated to make room for this urban design. Markos Miller shared this story. He is involved with The Franklin Reclamation Authority.


http://franklinstreet.us
/


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrp5FSGjME4
MIXSEE MAP GOES HERE!

13. Chad Conley 21st Birthday, 2007

Chad Conley

18 Hampshire St, Portland, ME 04101, United States

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On this spot in 2007 Chad Conley celebrated his 21st birthday #sangillos.

Chad Conley grew up in Portland. His family has lived in the neighborhood for five generations. When Chad was twenty-one he worked long hours in the kitchen across the street at Hugo’s. He had just started dating a new person and he dreamed of opening his own restaurant by the time he was 30. This brick celebrates coming of age. Chad did not know how things would go that night in 2007, but if you cut to 2016 Chad is married to Rachel, his girlfriend at the time. They have just bought a house and are expecting their first child. He also opened his own restaurant The Palace Diner when he was 29. That night in 2007 Chad entered Sangillo’s for the first time. Sangillo’s was a favorite Portland watering hole for 62 years. In 2015 the city decided to revoke Sangillo’s liquor license, stating the bar “endangered the safety of persons residing in the areas surrounding this business”. For many this was a great loss. On Valentine’s Day 2015 Sangillo’s served its last jello shots. This story commemorates Sangi’s.
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14. Jun Sing First Chinese Laundries, 1898

Jun Sing First Chinese Laundries

62 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1898 Jun Sing operated one of the first Chinese laundries #goldmountain #金山.

Like many of Portland's Chinese hand laundries, the ownership of the laundry at 60 India Street changed frequently during its short existence. Between its opening in 1898 and its closure in 1906, that laundry had three owners. Jun Sing opened it in 1898. Chin Hop owned it in 1899 and Lonn Hip owned it from 1901 through 1906. I'm not sure who the owner was in 1900. Typically the laundry's name was its Chinese owner's full name or family name plus the word laundry. Portland had about 20 Chinese hand laundries at this period. Almost all of the 19th and early 20th century Chinese immigrants came from what is now called Guangdong Province, then called Canton, and were Cantonese speakers.

The only direct connection between Portland's Chinese immigrants and India Street are the two Chinese hand laundries that were there. The laundry at 60 India Street lasted the longest. Laundries and restaurants are stereotypes, but due to racism and other factors those stereotypes are true. Almost all late 19th and early 20th Century Chinese immigrants to Portland worked at those jobs.

Maine's first known Chinese immigrant, Daniel Cough, stowed away aboard a Maine ship while it was at his home island, Amoy Island, off China's southeast coast. Ah Foo Fong, came here from Boston in 1860 to work in the Shaw's tea shop on Exchange St where he was placed to work in the shop's window. Ar Tee Lam came to Portland about that same time. He was a cigar maker and opened a tobacco store on Exchange St. I suspect that Mr. Lam came to Portland via Cuba. Mr. Lam opened Maine's first known Chinese restaurant at 1 Custom House Wharf in 1880. My research shows that, after about 1880, most Chinese coming to Maine came here after living for a while on the west coast.

Chinese people who came to the United States after the discovery of gold in California in 1848 spoke of coming to the Gold Mountain (Gam Saan). That term was originally specific to the west coast gold mine areas but is now sometimes used for the U. S. has a whole.
-Gary Libby, The Chinese and American Friendship
Association of Maine
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15. More people than you know get sober, everyday

More People Than You Know

61 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot, everyday, more people than you know get sober.

The Milestone Foundation supports people facing addiction and homelessness in Maine. Milestone operates the only homeless shelter that admits individuals under the influence of alcohol or other drugs in the state of Maine. Milestone runs a detox program and hosts regular AA and NA meetings.
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16. Fresh Milk, 1911

Fresh Milk

61 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1911, mothers could pick up free fresh milk for their babies #pasteurization.

The Portland Civic Club (now the Woodfords Club), with some funding from the Portland Board of Health, operated an infant milk station and free dispensary in the basement of this building from 1911 to 1918. The purpose was to reduce infant mortality by substituting milk from certified diaries for unregulated milk. A public health nurse, Lillian O’Donahue, ran the program, which included home visits to educate mothers in hygienic child care. -Eileen Eagan, USM professor

Eileen is a Women and Gender Studies professor at University of Southern Maine. She shared information with us about The Women’s History Trail in Portland. This is story was one of her faves.
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17. Tom Wrote the Next Great American Novel, 2020

Coffee By Design

67 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 2020 Tom wrote the next great american novel.

Tom is a regular at Coffee By Design. Every day he sits down to write his “morning pages” from The Artists Way either before or after work. Each day he writes and each day he throws away the entirety of what he has written. Tom admires creativity, but he does not consider himself an artist. Tom is Italian American. He goes to church in The India Street neighborhood at St. Peter’s. Many years ago he interviewed Italian American old timers from the neighborhood. These recordings are on cassette tapes somewhere in his home. Tom became a great connector for this project and brought Marianne and Jeff Reali into the project. Marianne and Jeff became cornerstones of Portland Brick. Mother and son, their stories also became a part of Portland Brick (story #18 and story #20).
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18. Outdoor Market, 2019

Future Wish; Outdoor Market

84 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 2019, there was an outdoor market like they have in Italy #ladolcevita.

Jeff Reali owns Reali Reality located at 129 Newbury Street. His mom grew up in the neighborhood. His father owns Amato’s. In collecting stories about the neighborhood, I asked Jeff what he wished for its future. Jeff remembers a time when people sat on their steps in the evening and talked to each other. Within an hour he came up a list of wishes. His first wish was for an outdoor market to take over one of the neighborhood streets. A trip to Italy inspired this wish. Jeff also wishes The Village Café would re-open as a pop-up. He wishes archival photographs of the neighborhood would be projected on the buildings, reminding residents and visitors of its past. Jeff is the unofficial public artist of Portland Brick. We would love to see all these projects happen.
MIXSEE MAP GOES HERE!

19. Amato's made 1,500 Sandwiches, 1930

Amato's Sandwiches

71 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1930, Amato's made 1,500 sandwiches a day. They cost 15 cents.

Looking at India Street today, it can be hard to imagine that it was once a bustling working class neighborhood. Giovanni Amato started a small sandwich cart on the nearby docks in 1902 that eventually became Amato’s sandwich shop located on India Street. In 1972, another Italian immigrant named Dominic Reali bought the business after working at the original Portland shop for seven years. Originally a single shop located on India Street, there are now over 40 Amato’s locations across New England serving sandwiches, pizza, and pasta. Amato’s inspired the creation of the Subway franchise. Amato’s sandwiches are a favorite of Maine author Stephen King.
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20. Priscilla and Loretta's Shoes, 1956

Priscilla and Loretta's Shoes

89 Newbury St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1956, Priscilla and Loretta's shoes could be heard click clacking on their way to church.

Marianne Reali grew up in The India Street Neighborhood. One grandmother lived in the same building, another lived “within shouting distance”. Marianne’s parents were very strict. She and her sister were not allowed to leave the block where they grew up. They were not allowed to walk down to the waterfront because it was dangerous. Marianne remembers getting ready for church every week and hearing Priscilla and Loretta’s fancy shoes click clacking down the street towards St. Peters. Marianne remains a strong presence in the Italian American community of Portland. She was the first female president of The Italian Heritage Center. Marianne was pivotal in shaping Portland Brick. She took me to The Italian Heritage Center to meet a bunch of old timers from the neighborhood.
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21. William Wilberforce Ruby Threw Wet Blankets, 1866

Abyssinian Meeting House

73 Newbury St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1866, William Wilberforce Ruby threw wet blankets on the roof saving the Abyssinian from burning. #secretspring #GreatFire.

COMING SOON- THIS WILL BE INSTALLED IN THE SUMMER OF 2016

What you may not know is that The Abyssinian Meeting House was a cultural center in Portland, Maine. You may not know that it was a key player in The Underground Railroad. You also may not know about the legacy and leadership of black Portlanders given Maine’s demographic data as “one of the whitest states in The Union”. The Meeting House was the cultural center of the community. Meetings, church services, concerts, a segregated public school, dinners and entertainment made the Abyssinian the center of political and social life which united the community throughout the 19th century.

You also may not know that an underground spring ran through the basement of The Meeting House:

It is one of the few wood frame public buildings from the early 19th century to survive the 1866 Portland fire. The fire destroyed some 1,500 buildings (one third of the city). The Abyssinian Meeting House was saved, largely through the efforts of William Wilberforce Ruby (1834-1906), a black fireman and son of Reuben Ruby, who reportedly protected the building by draping the roof in wet blankets.

The Abyssinian Meetinghouse is the third oldest African American Meetinghouse still standing in America.
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22. Tony Played Craps, 1942

Tony Played His First Game of Craps

62 Newbury St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1942, Tony played his first game of craps. He was twelve years old.

Tony grew up in The India Street Neighborhood. When he shared his story he was in the middle of his weekly poker game. The other poker players chuckled when Tony shared this information. One leaned over and yell/whispered, “Tony was arrested twenty times before the age of 21!” After a childhood spent in the neighborhood Tony enlisted and served in World War II. He recounted the memories of liberating a concentration camp. Tony is kind, funny, and debonair. As he explained it, he’d leave church on Sundays and b-line to play craps in a parking lot down the street.
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23. Standing in a Swamp,1775

Standing in a Swamp

99-113 Newbury St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1775, you would have been standing in a swamp.

The India Street neighborhood is now at the center of town, but we wanted to peel back architectural layers to enable people to imagine this location’s past. At one point, cattle grazed up the hill from India Street. At one point the section of the neighborhood located below the cemetery was a swamp. We used archival maps to track the shifts in the landscape underneath India Street’s now paved streets.
MIXSEE MAP GOES HERE!

24. Replanting of the Neighborhood, 1988

By a Tree

55 Federal St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 1988, Jay and George York inspired the replanting of the neighborhood. #honeylocust.

In 1988 I started my photography business in the then empty Lewis Garage on Federal Street. With my brother George York and our friend Armand Moreau we renovated and shared the end of the garage that abutted the East End Cemetery. We went to Amato’s for lunch, to Tommy’s Hardware for building supplies, and to openings at the Dean Valentas Gallery on Hampshire Street. What was missing from the neighborhood back then were trees along the streets. So we called the city to request the planting of a tree in front of our space at 55 Federal Street. While at first reluctant the city finally agreed as long as we watered and looked after it. The tree flourished and, after a couple of years, the city started planting trees up and down India Street. Portland’s chief arborist, Jeff Tarling, told me years later that it was because of the care we took of that first tree planted in front of 55 Federal Street that the city decided to plant trees on India Street and throughout the neighborhood. –Jay York
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25. Rocco Germani

Old Germani House

80 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this Spot in 1936, Rocco Germani bought a house for his family of ten. #moneyunderthemattress.

Unlike many, he hadn't deposited money in the bank. #thegreatdepression.

My family has deep roots on India Street or “Little Italy” as we knew it. My 92 year old father is still living and has vivid memories of horse drawn deliveries, what business was in each storefront, etc. My father’s family lived in this home all through the 1900’s and even the third generation lived there until my cousin who inherited the home sold it in 1999. My Grandfather donated the back portion of his house lot to St. Peter’s Church back in the 60’s so that they would have enough land for their church rectory. –Jean Russo

Rocco Germani bought his family a house for $4,500. He was able to buy his family a house for $4,500 because he hid his money under his mattress rather than depositing it in the bank before The Great Depression. This was a smart move, when Black Friday came the Germani family did not lose all their money and were able to buy the house.
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26. Harm Reduction Saves Lives, Everyday

India St Clinic

103 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot every day, harm reduction saves lives #portlandneedleexchange.

The Portland Needle Exchange reduces the spread of blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C by exchanging clean needles and supplies for used equipment at no cost. In addition, participants receive education on risk reduction, case management services, testing for HIV, Hepatitis C, STDs and referrals to drug treatment programs upon request, and access to Narcan. Narcan is a medication used to counter the effects of opioids especially in overdose.

These are the facts. What these facts do not convey is that The Needle Exchange is made possible by a team of dedicated volunteers committed to supporting our neighbors who struggle with addiction. Katie Keating is one such volunteer. She began volunteering with The Needle Exchange after her younger brother died from an overdose. Currently Portland, Maine is experiencing a heroin epidemic. This brick honors the memory of Katie’s brother Brendan John Keating and all the friends, relatives, and neighbors we have lost to addiction. It also honors the volunteers whose work is based on the radical position of fierce love and acceptance for all. On May 16th 2016 The Portland City Council voted to terminate access to these services.
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27. Free Clinic Open, 2011

India St Public Health Center

103 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 2011, The Free Clinic fought to remain open and continues to go strong today.

We had a very momentous meeting on June 27, 2011. At that time, the head of Health and Human Services for the City of Portland (Doug Gardner) informed us that Mercy Hospital had ended their funding for the Free Clinic--funding that had been in place for 18 years. Doug had made the decision that the only option for the PCFC was to close. We fought that decision and 4 years later, we are still going strong, in spite of the mandate that we were given. So, I thought a brick could be something like: On this spot, on June 27, 2011, the Portland Community Free Clinic re-affirmed its mission to provide high quality healthcare to the uninsured. –Leslie Nicoll

Storytelling often involves a kind of kismet or coincidence. In this case, the coincidence is unfortunate. On the day that this brick was installed in 2016, The Portland City Council proposed cutting funding to the clinic once again. Though residents fought this decision, city council voted to terminate funding for The India Street Clinic. One thousand patients are losing access to the exceptional care provided at the clinic. Community members spent hours testifying to The City Council about the crucial role of India Street Public Health. For many, India Street Public Health is a role model for excellent health care. One doctor who regularly volunteers there stated that he volunteers, “because the way India Street does healthcare is why I went into medicine”. Patients stated that they have received the best health care of their lives at India Street. Services will be completely terminated in 2017. We mourn the loss of India Street Public Health.
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28. A Woman Felt Safe, 2025

Future Wish

100-116 India St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 2025, a woman felt safe walking home alone.

Hi Portland Brick,

My hope for India Street - the stretch of road I walk every morning to work - is that it becomes safer and friendlier toward women. I've been harassed several times on India Street, and a block away a man once masturbated while standing on the sidewalk as I walked by. A truck full of male passengers shouted at me, "You wanna fuck?" and if it's a certain time in the evening, as I make my way back home, I'll be extra vigilant as there are several dark corners of buildings (abandoned doorways, etc.) where some men like to find refuge before making their way to the homeless shelter for the night. I realize these traits of India Street (public masturbation; drive-by sexual harassment; dark alleys and doorways) can be found virtually anywhere, but I can't help but think this street breeds a kind of hatred and disrespect toward women. The homeless shelter (which I believe is men only) is a notable aspect of the road, but there are other aspects of India that are very male-centric, such as a bait and tackle shop, a male-only barber shop, and even Amato's seems to attract mostly male customers (from what I've observed).

This is my experience of India Street. I've thought about rerouting my walk to and from work, but haven't made the leap. India is the most direct connector to Fore Street from Congress. –Anonymous

Portland Brick imagines a future where all people feel safe walking in the neighborhood.
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29. Rabbi Harry Sky Brought Jews without Borders, 2004

Etz Chaim

265-267 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 2004, Rabbi Harry Sky brought Jews Without Borders to Congregation Etz Chaim #revitalization.

Rabbi Harry Sky is someone you want to meet. He's an activist, a rebel, and in the words of his mother "a rascal". Rabbi Sky gave 50 years of service to Portland, Maine. He's the kinda person you just want to sit with and talk about the meaning of life.

Rabbi Sky’s founding principles for this group included the idea that no one who wanted to worship should be excluded, regardless of affiliation or birth. Families who no longer felt comfortable in some of the traditional congregations found a home with Jews Without Borders. Although the group formally disbanded in 2009, many of the worshippers continue to attend services at Etz Chaim. Our mission (See Mission Statement) is nearly identical to the original ideals of Jews Without Borders.

Etz Chaim holds weekly services Monday evenings and Saturday mornings.
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30. Heather Stood Up, 2009

Heather Stood Up

307 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

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On this spot in 2009, Heather stood up for what she believed in #gaymarriage.

Heather Tanguay used to attend church at The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Heather also believes all people should have the right to marry. One day at church in 2009 Heather's bishop said that gay marriage was a threat to the family. In the middle of a packed service Heather stood up and turned her back on the bishop for the entirety of his homily. She didn’t want her young son to see her accept these words. As Heather describes it no one looked at her, no one said a thing. Days and then years passed. She started to wonder if due to her short stature, no one had actually seen her stand up. Years later while canvassing to support marriage equality, she shared this story with another volunteer. The volunteer looked at her and said, “Oh you’re the one. We heard about you. We knew what you did”. Heather and her family worked on the Marriage Equality campaign in 2012. In 2012 Maine voted to allow same sex couples to marry. Heather continues to ask herself ‘when do you stand up’?
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