Old Port

Also known as: Portland Waterfront Historic District, Old Port Exchange
Waterfront Area, Portland, Maine


Photo taken by Brian Bartlett in May 2013




Portland Waterfront (Boundary Increase); Merrill's Wharf, 252-260 Commercial St., NRHP 12000066 79-85 and 295-309 Commercial and 3 Center Sts., NRHP 84000497.

Criterion A: Commerce, Community Planning and Development, Industry Criterion C: Architecture Local significance. The Portland Waterfront Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on May 2, 1974 for its significance at the local level in the areas of architecture, commerce, transportation and community planning and development. On December 23, 1984 additional properties were added to the district and the boundary expanded at both the east and west ends of the district. The purpose of the current nomination was to again increase the boundaries to include two more buildings and a granite bulkhead on the south side of Commercial Street. The buildings are the Twitchell-Champlin Co. building erected between 1884 and 1924 as a spice mill, candy factory, and cannery, and the Armour & Company meat packing plant erected about 1900. Both buildings are located Merrill’s Wharf, an earth-filled wharf with two granite block bulkheads, built between 1830 and 1850, prior to the establishment of Commercial Street. The building and wharf are contiguous to the existing district and are of significant importance to the economic, industrial, transportation, and commercial history of the Portland waterfront. This nomination also changes and elongates the period of significance for the district from the “19th century” to a more specific “c. 1790 to 1936,” which encompasses the construction dates for contributing resources within both the expanded and existing district boundaries. Finally, in recognition of the important role that meat packing, food processing and canning facilities had on the growth of the city and the state, industry was recognized as an area of significance. NR Control Nos. 0831710002 0123732159 0123732161 0412732782

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 2, 1974
Reference number
NR name
Portland Waterfront
Architectural styles
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival; Victorian; Other architectural type; Federal
Areas of significance
Community Planning and Development; Commerce; Transportation; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Water-related; Rail-related; Business
Current function
Periods of significance
1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1800-1824; 1750-1799; 1825-1849
Significant years
1832; 1846; 1872
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 67

Update Log 

  • December 22, 2013: Updated by Brian Bartlett: Added description
  • December 22, 2013: Photo imported by Brian Bartlett
  • December 17, 2013: Updated by Brian Bartlett: Added description
  • November 13, 2013: Photo imported by Brian Bartlett