Portland Harbor

Through the quirks of American copyright law, this 1954 (or earlier) postcard of Portland Harbor appears to be in the public domain. The front of the postcard labels the location as <i>Breakwater Light, Portland Harbor at night, Portland Harbor, Maine</i>. The back side of the card identified the publisher as Tichnor Bros. Incorporated, Boston, Massachusetts and it was identified further as being card or print number 64499. While Tichnor Brothers published a number of postal cards, I could not find any additional information about the publication date. A postmark dates it to at least 1954.

I love how different this post card is from most of the touring cards that I’ve seen. It is a drawing rather than a photograph of the Maine coastline and it is at night.

Under a full moon, the lights from the lighthouse-keeper’s house and the lighthouse itself glow a spooky orange color – the original lighthouse did have a red light. The sky has a virtual watercolor wash of blues, greens and shades of yellow giving the picture an overall feeling like the drawing is foretelling of some evil thing about to happen.

The lighthouse at Portland Harbor was officially called Breakwater Light but many called this small lighthouse “Bug Light.”

Breakwater Light was originally built in 1855. Through storms, ownership changes and a myriad of other events, the original lighthouse was replaces with the one which can be found in Portland Harbor today. It looks quite similar to the actual lighthouse shown in this drawing but the house and other buildings were not replaced.

Though not shown in the 1954 drawing, during World War II, there were two shipyards next to the lighthouse. Liberty Ships, cargo ships used to ferry war materials to England and Russia, were built at those locations. England and Russia needed cargo ships to replace those that were being destroyed by German U-boats. In all, there were 2,710 Liberty Ships build between 1941 and 1945.

Portland Harbor

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