Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Portland ME Observatory.

Visiting Portland Maine this week for the first time. What a beautiful place.

Captain Lemuel Moody (1768-1846), ordered construction of this octagonal, 86-foot high tower to serve as a communication station for Portland’s bustling harbor. In 1807, ships entering the harbor could not be seen from the docks of Portland until they rounded the point of land at Spring Point Ledge. With his powerful telescope, sea captain-turned-entrepreneur Moody identified incoming vessels as far away as 30 miles. For a fee, he alerted subscribing merchants by hoisting signal flags identifying their vessels. He coined the phrase “signalizing” to describe his system.

The Observatory was built on Munjoy Hill at the eastern end of the Portland peninsula, which was a cow pasture at the time. Moody built his house and other buildings near the tower. The complex included a banquet and dance hall as well as a bowling alley. From the time it opened in 1807, the Observatory was a tourist attraction drawing local residents and travelers alike.

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