What's in a Picture?
The Great Portland Flood of 1893.
At 5:30 a.m. on August 6, 1893, Mrs. A.M. Jones and Edna Hutchins noticed a leak at the Portland Water Company’s four-year-old reservoir on Munjoy Hill’s North Street. Within half an hour the eastern wall broke, sending a twenty-foot wave carrying twenty million gallons of water tumbling down the hill towards Casco Bay. The cascade of water swept away two houses and a barn and flooded the Irish-American neighborhood, killing four people. The disaster site attracted an estimated 25,000 people in the following weeks forcing trolleys to send extra cars up the hill to accommodate gawkers as well as several amateur photographers. A newspaper described the post-catastrophe scene saying, “In every direction could be seen the camera fiend in active search for a choice position or with his head covered in photographic regalia.” —Will Bleakley
Photograph Collections of Maine Maritime Museum, courtesy of Maine Memory Network