George Cleeve settled in what is now the Portland area to trade c.1632. His post grew in importance, and the settlement known as Falmouth developed; in the late 17th cent. it became a commercial center. It was almost completely destroyed by the British in 1775. Maine's first newspaper, the Falmouth Gazette, was issued in Portland in 1785, and the old lighthouse, established in 1791, is still in use. The city served as state capital from 1820 to 1832. In 1866 a great fire destroyed much of Portland. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (whose house is a landmark) and Robert E. Peary lived here.
Portland is the seat of Concordia Univ., Lewis and Clark College, the Oregon Health & Science Univ., Portland State Univ., Reed College, the Univ. of Portland, Warner Pacific College, and several theological schools. Portland has museums of art, science and industry, and advertising, a planetarium, a forestry center, a zoo, Japanese and classical Chinese gardens, a symphony orchestra, and a ballet company. The state historical society is there, and the city's rose festival is an important annual event. The city is home to the Trail Blazers (National Basketball Association). The area is noted for its beautiful scenery, and the Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Hood, and Mt. St. Helens are nearby.
Founded in 1845, it was named for Portland, Maine. Its growth was rapid after 1850, when it served as a supply point for the California gold fields, and continued with the coming of the railroad (1883), the Alaska gold rush (1897–1900), and the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition (1905). Unlike many growing western U.S. cities, Portland sharply resisted urban sprawl by drawing a line around the metropolitan area and preserving open space outside it.
See C. Abbott, Portland: Planning, Politics, and Growth in a 20th-Century City (1983).
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