Portland’s esteemed and much-loved Fire Department celebrates its 250th anniversary this month. The City of Portland will recognize two-and-a-half centuries of the Fire Department’s service, with a special proclamation and observance at the Portland Fire Museum, on March 29th. Joining this extraordinary commemoration, the Library’s Portland Room is now exhibiting artifacts and photographs that attest to the brilliant history of the Portland Fire Department.
Above: Apr 1947 – Portland Fire Department fireman on a ladder truck; Second Parish Presbyterian Church (371 Congress Street) in background.
Below: January 1952 – Fire, at James Fruit Company, 225 Commercial Street.
Below: Portland Fire Department locations, in order: Central Fire Station, Congress Street, Woodfords Corner, and Peaks Island:
Below: Views from the Portland Room archival exhibit:
Additional artifacts, such as a leather bucket, an antique Portland fire helmet, and a hose nozzle from an East Deering firehouse, have been lent by the Portland Fire Museum for the exhibit. Below: Another ladder rescue, this time by Fireman Joseph R. Miller, on October 19, 1955.
Come on up and check out the exhibit! The Portland Room is open Mondays-Thursdays, 10am-7pm; Fridays, 10am-6pm.
___________________________ Archivist’s postscriptum:
During the processing (arrangement, description, and archival rehousing) of our large collection of photographic still film, I discovered a negative which had unusual crayon lines drawn across both sides:
A series of immersion baths in distilled water and Photo-Flo 200 wetting agent loosened the crayon marks from both the emulsion and acetate-base sides of the film, allowing me to completely remove the marks with cotton swabs:
The scanned image reveals the scene of a fire at Portland’s City Hospital (today, it’s known as the Barron Center), 1151 Brighton Avenue, on August 11, 1962, and now the visual information is preserved.
We dug around and found that every month has dozens of celebrations that we never heard of. So we chose March as an example: March 1st is National Pig Day, March 21st is National Credit Card Reduction day!…and so on and so on…come check it out at the Burbank Branch.
The 1968 Project aims to highlight some of the historic events of the year. From protests and famous battles to chart-topping popular hits and box office smashing film, 1968 was a huge historical year with reverberations that we still feel today. The 1968 Project looks to grab snippets of these events on a monthly basis and list them here with links for further exploration.
Because we’re getting a late start, this post gives you a “twofer” containing highlights from both January and February 1968.
The Herman Miller furniture manufacturer introduced the world to the Panton Chair designed by Verner Panton.
January 8th Otis Redding‘s single, (Sittin’On) The Dock of the Bay was released, less than one month after he perished in a plane crash.
AT&T (The American Telephone and Telegraph Company), announced plans to create a universal emergency telephone number, that could be dialed from any phone in the country. After much analysis, it was discovered that the number least likely to be misdialed was 9-1-1.
January 13th Johnny Cash performed his historic Folsom Prison concert. This was not Cash’s first performance at the penitentiary, but it was the first to be recorded.
At about 5:30 in the morning the North Vietnamese Army began shelling a U.S. Marine base. On this day, the North Vietnamese Army destroyed 98% of the base’s ammunition. This battle lasted 77 days and cost 274 American lives. It is known as the Battle of Khe Sahn.
On January 30th, the North Vietnamese Army began its coordinated surprise attack on more than 100 cities and outposts in South Vietnam. It was known as the Tet Offensive as it began the day before the Vietnamese holiday of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year.
At 3:40 in the morning roughly 1,000 guerillas took over the former imperial capital of Hue. More than 2,000 residents were executed over the course of three weeks and another 6,000 were killed in the bombing and shelling of the city by Americans. This counterattack destroyed 18,000 of Hue’s 20,000 houses.
Saigon’s police chief, Brigadier General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, displayed captured Viet Cong officer, Nguyen Van Lem, to a group of reporters. At this moment, the police chief pulled out his revolver and executed the prisoner at point blank range. This moment was captured by photographer Eddie Adams. This photograph (which will not be shown here), became an iconic symbol of the war.
On this day, at the age of 43, Neal Cassady died in a hospital in Mexico after being found in a coma by the side of the road.
February 6th The Beatles along with Mike Love, Mia Farrow, Donovan and others travel to India to visit Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
In early February protests began against racial segregation at a local bowling alley. Over several days, student protesters gathered on the campus of South Carolina State College. In the evening a bonfire was lit and as police and firefighters tried to put out the flames, officers of the South Carolina Highway Patrol fired into the crowd of African American students. Twenty-seven people were injured and Harry Ezekial Smith (19), Samuel Hammond Jr. (18), and Delano Middleton (17) were killed. This is known as the OrangeburgMassacre.
On this day, the 25th Golden Globe Awards were held. In the Heat of the Night won the award for Best Picture – Drama and The Graduate won the award for Best Picture – Comedy.
“There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?”
24-year-old Robert Crumb and his wife Dana sold initial copies of the underground comix title Zap Comix in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco.
February 27th Frankie Lymon, 25, singer of “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” died of a heroin overdose.
The 10th Annual Grammy Awards were held and The Beatles and their producer George Martin were the big winners. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band won Album of the Year, Best Album Cover, Best Contemporary Album and Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical. Released in 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s revolutionized the recording process.
The 1968 Project will be back at the end of March for more 1968 history!