View Full Version : this should have happened!

11-13-2006, 10:24 AM
our population could have been over 100,000 if this had happened

12-16-05 It?s a Wonderful South Portland

During the holiday season, it?s hard to resist watching It?s a Wonderful Life for the 10th (or 20th) time. The delightful movie with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed always puts me in the holiday spirit, and this year, it also brought to mind how life could have been so different if South Portland had indeed headed down a different path 100 years ago.

In a news story from December 16, 1905, the residents of South Portland were anxiously awaiting a vote by their neighbors in Portland. The vote was to take place on December 19th and with a majority vote in favor, Portland would have annexed South Portland; the voters in South Portland had already approved the annexation in 1904.

Portland had already increased its size dramatically in 1899, with the annex of the city of Deering and its 11,000 acres. If Portland were to annex South Portland, it would have added another 8,000 acres to its mass. The voters of Portland were not enthusiastic about consolidating with our city, however. South Portland had only separated from Cape Elizabeth ten years earlier, then adopted the city form of government in 1898, and the growing city was much in need of improvements to its sewer system and other infrastructure. The Portland paper reported that South Portland had ?no fire engines, no macadamized streets, few brick or cement sidewalks and only a miniature police department.?

I must digress. It?s fun to imagine a South Portland with no paved streets, isn?t it? Those were the days when kids would enjoy sliding down Brown?s Hill, right down the middle of Broadway. It must have been a fun ride and if it were really icy, I bet the sleds might have made it all the way to Evans Street! Any residents who might have some oral history about sledding on South Portland?s streets, let me know?

Back to the proposed annexation, the voters of Portland rejected the idea and we set about to building ourselves a great city on our own. To name some of our highlights, we have beautiful parks, lighthouses, a great police and fire department, an excellent school system, and a Community Center that provides the most wonderful services to residents of all ages. Maybe our biggest asset is the people of this fine city. It certainly is a wonderful life here in South Portland!


11-13-2006, 04:08 PM
Wow, its been a long time since I've written anything on these boards (2 months) but anyway, I think Portlanders were not only concerned about having to pay for upgrades in South Portland, but were also reluctant to give up local control of their government. Yeah, it would have been a pain in the ass to pay for those improvements at first but in the long run the larger tax base would have helped. Not to mention that this would have created less administration, since Maine has some of the highest administration costs in the country. Komrade Baldacci supposedly wants trim the excess administration in this state for his second term, but my grandfather rising from the dead has a greater chance of occurring. :roll:

11-13-2006, 05:50 PM
Interesting article there. I still think it's an idea worth looking into.

11-14-2006, 11:10 AM
back in the day cities could annex whatever they wanted to...nwo the laws, especially in new england, are so harsh that it is virtually impossible to annex any incorporated area, so we are, quite literally, locked in. however, if south portland and portland wanted to mutually agree to merge, that could work, but it would probably result in a new name for the resulting city, so south portland didnt feel swallowed up. nowadays i bet portland would want so po but so po is too countryish to want to join the "city folks." Most major cities hit the 100,000 mark between the late 1800s and early 1900s...portland would have been in that category if only this had happened.