During the mid-nineteenth century, several ambitious projects constituted a complete rethinking of how Portland's waterfront could support commercial growth. Taking advantage of the port's year round ice-free harbor and the city's strong trade relations with Canada, the Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad, later the Grand Trunk Railroad, transformed the eastern end of the waterfront at the base of Munjoy Hill into an all season transportation hub linking Portland to Montreal and central Canada.
This large complex of rail facilities  was connected to the wharves via tracks running down the center of Commercial Street up until the 1980's when they were over-paved. The passenger station, roundhouse, railroad, and freight sheds are shown in this enlarged detail from the 1876 bird's eye view . The Portland Company built its machine shops alongside this compound to produce rolling stock for the railroad. [see #58 on detail on left.]
Richard D. Kelly, Jr.
Plan of Parks and Open Spaces, Portland, Maine, 1999
Reduced facsimile from Bold Vision, T. Holtwijk and E.G. Shettleworth, Jr., editors
Portland: Greater Portland Landmarks, 1999
Steamships bound for Liverpool and other transatlantic ports docked at the Ocean Steamers Wharf. Looking down from the Observatory on Munjoy Hill  the impressive scale of this transportation hub is captured in its entirety, reinforcing the importance of the city during the industrial revolution. While much of the Grand Trunk complex has been demolished, most of the Portland Company's structures still remain today under the management of the Sprague Corporation.
From Observatory, looking South. Portland, Maine.
Brooklyn, N.Y., The Albertype Co.
Postcard, 9 x 14 cm
Courtesy of Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.