The Cape Elizabeth Depot was located near the intersection of Broadway and Evans streets. Passengers could wait for the train’s arrival in comfort inside the depot building. (Courtesy photo)

Historical society ornament fundraiser

South Portland Historical Society is pleased to announce the sixth in its series of holiday ornaments. Society board member Chuck Igo conceived of and has spearheaded this effort to create a brass ornament series which would create lasting keepsakes of South Portland landmarks.

The first ornament in the series depicted Bug Light. Other ornaments have included Red’s Dairy Freeze, the fish shacks at Fishermen’s Point with Portland Head Light in the background, the World War II Liberty shipyards and Spring Point Ledge Light with Fort Gorges.

For the 2019 ornament, the sixth in our series, we took inspiration from our 2019 trains and trolleys exhibit in the museum. The brass ornament depicts the passenger train station that was known as Cape Elizabeth Depot. The actual location of the building was next to the railroad tracks that cross Broadway at the intersection of Evans Street. The building footprint is now generally in the area where Domino’s Pizza now sits.

The railroad tracks are still in limited use today by the Hale family’s business, Turner’s Island LLC. About three weeks ago, I was stopped at that intersection myself when an engine with some train cars were heading across the street toward Casco Bay Steel. Passenger service on that line, however, has long been discontinued. The railroad tracks were first installed by the Portland, Saco & Portsmouth Railroad. Construction began in 1841, back when our community was known as Cape Elizabeth, and the line opened in 1842. The passenger depot building at that spot was built sometime after the rail line started to be used; the attendant covering that station also served as a telegraph operator. Regular train service was offered between Portland and Portsmouth (with connections to Boston) by both the Boston & Maine and the Eastern Railroad. Passenger service at that location was discontinued in 1898, however, the telegraph equipment moved to a different location, and the building was sold and moved.

The Cape Elizabeth Depot ornaments depict the same image that is in the classic historic photograph. Each ornament is cast in a durable metal with a beautiful brass finish, and comes in a protective cloth bag. It also includes a card that lets a gift recipient know that proceeds from the sale of each ornament go directly to the South Portland Historical Society and its museum.

Priced at $20 each, the ornaments are available for purchase at the society’s museum gift shop at Bug Light Park, open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through December. They are also for sale at Drillen Hardware, Broadway Variety and Embers Stove Shop; all of these stores have graciously agreed to offer them for sale and will collect the proceeds on behalf of the society.

Purchases made at any of the three off-site locations must be made by cash or check. To use a credit card, the ornament must be purchased directly from the museum. To have an ornament shipped, we can do that through the museum, as well. There is an additional cost of $5 to ship an ornament, which includes postage and a special shipping box. We can process orders by phone. Give us a call at (207) 767-7299.

Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo is executive director for the South Portland Historical Society.

The Cape Elizabeth Depot ornaments are available for purchase at the South Portland Historical Society Museum at Bug Light Park, and also at Drillen Hardware, Broadway Variet and Embers Stove Shop. (Courtesy photo)

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