Stroudwater is a neighborhood in the City of Portland west of the railroad tracks to the Westbrook border. It has several locations central to its identity as an area with a special historical significance.
A small park off Congress Street on the banks of the Fore River proclaims “Historic Stroudwater” with a sign noting
Village founded in 1657
by Col. Thomas Westbrook
of Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Site of the mastyard & shipyard
The Cumberland and Oxford Canal, opened in 1832. Beginning at Sebago Lake, it linked inland lakes with waterfronts in Portland and South Portland. Its route traveled through Stroudwater, emptying into the Fore River, navigable to the ports downstream. The memorial plaque in the park reads:
Maine Historic Civil Engineering Landmark
American Society of Civil Engineers
Cumberland & Oxford Canal
1830 – 1872
The Tate House Museum includes the 1755 Tate House and other nearby buildings. According to the museum “The house was constructed for Captain George Tate (1700-1794) and his family who had arrived in the Colonies around 1750. Tate served as the Senior Mast Agent for the British Royal Navy, overseeing the cutting and shipping of white pines from Maine to England.” The Tate House (right) adjoins the 1835 Martin Hawes House (center).
The outstanding architectural features of the Tate House, now a National Historic Landmark, are the clerestory gambrel roof and the fine interior paneling. The clerestory gambrel form is one of only two known examples of this once fairly common northern New England type, the other being the much less splendid Burnham Tavern of 1770 in Machias. The austere, unpainted exterior of the Tate House belies the quite lavish interior trim and typifies the pioneer conditions under which the building was built.*
The museum declares “. . . the impressive period furnishings, beautiful grounds and herb gardens, and unique architecture of Tate House offer an insightful glimpse at the 18th century and life in Colonial Maine.”
According to the Maine Historical Society’s Maine Memory Network,
A stone dam was built in the 1840s at Stroudwater on the western outskirts of Portland. It was built for a mill, but was low enough for alewives to go over in the spring.
In the late 19th century, the dam was raised to widen the stream to create more ice for the burgeoning ice industry.
The National Register of Historic Places has recognized the Stroudwater Historic District, the residential area at confluence of Stroudwater and Fore Rivers, as one of those places.
Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District. “Stroudwater River Watershed Survey.” (accessed July 21, 2014)
*Maine. Historic Preservation Commission. Augusta, Me. Text from National Register of Historic Places: http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/nrhp/text/70000072.PDF
Maine Historical Society. Maine Memory Network. “Stroudwater Dam, Portland, ca. 1900.” https://www.mainememory.net/artifact/25620 (accessed July 21, 2014)
The Tate House Museum. http://www.tatehouse.org/(accessed July 21, 2014)