This week, we take a look at two historic images of the Danforth Cove neighborhood.

For those of you new to South Portland, Danforth Cove is the neighborhood along our eastern waterfront, from our border with Cape Elizabeth to Loveitt’s Field. If you went on Preble Street behind the Cookie Jar, you’d be looking at the streets on the water side of Preble Street – Drew Road, Danforth Road, and Ship Channel Drive (the Cape Elizabeth town line is at Ottawa Road).

The early history of this neighborhood mirrors that of Loveitt’s Field; the two photographs shown here clearly reflect that. This whole waterfront area of South Portland was originally open land and then developed into a summer colony.

Now site of a relatively densely-packed residential neighborhood, back around 1900 there were only summer cottages dotting the landscape. Artists would come here for inspiration and plein air painting. Many wealthy businessmen from Portland would keep their summer homes here, allowing their families to spend idyllic summers, enjoying days at the beach, barbecues and other warm weather fun.


These 1890s images provide a glimpse of how Danforth Cove, and Loveitt’s Field, looked in the winters back around the turn of the century. South Portland Historical Society photos

The snowy scenes here show how desolate the area would become in the wintertime. Once fall came around, most of the cottages would be vacated and the area became a relative ghost town. The roads were left, not rolled or plowed, as access to the cottages wasn’t necessary in the winter.

The transition to year-round residential use started in the late 1920s when much of the land was purchased by a developer, Harry E. Baker. He built and sold many of the homes that now make up Danforth Cove.

The neighborhood takes it name from an early settler, Aaron Danforth. We’ll take a closer look at Aaron and his wife, Elizabeth Cobb, in a future column.

Do you have photographs to share that show scenes from around South Portland in earlier years? Please contact South Portland Historical Society at 55 Bug Light Park, South Portland, ME 04106, by phone at 207-767-7299, or by email at [email protected] Thank you.

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

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