The historic fishing shacks at Fisherman’s Point in South Portland have been repainted. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster

The fishing shacks in South Portland, which predate the city itself, have been repainted and repaired as part of an ongoing effort to preserve the historic landmarks.

The Fisherman’s Point shacks as seen this week. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster

“Maintenance of the fishing shacks is essential, and the goal of maintenance should be to preserve their continued existence,” Kathy DiPhilippo, executive director of the South Portland Historical Society, said this week. “We see no loss of historic value if the shacks are maintained.”

The city funded the recent repainting job and some repairs.

The shacks’ location on Fisherman’s Point, which juts out from the south end of Willard Beach into Simonton Cove, subjects them to weather-related damage and their use as storage sheds brings normal wear and tear, resulting in the need for regular maintenance.

The historical society also is prepared if the shacks sustain greater damage or even are washed away in a storm. Last year it worked with SMRT Architects and Engineers to create architectural drawings and 360-degree photo documentation to ensure the shacks could be restored or re-created.

The Willard Beach neighborhood and Simonton Cove have a long fishing history, DiPhilippo said.


“In the 1870s and the 1880s, there were anywhere from 10 to 15 fishing schooners that were based out of Simonton Cove,” she said. “It was a working beach.”

Fishing shacks at Willard Beach in the 1930s. The two on the left remain standing today. Contributed / Portland Maine History 1786 to Present Facebook Page

The fishing shacks were originally built along the shore, but after a resident bought land along the beach in the early 1880s, DiPhilippo said, most fishermen moved their shacks to Fisherman’s Point. After the city acquired the point in the early 1900s, the fishermen were allowed to keep using the shacks by paying a fee to the city each year.

After a few years, most of the shacks were lost to either vandalism or storms. Five remained standing until the February storm of 1978.

“The three shacks that remain are our last tie to that long history of Willard being a fishing community,” DiPhilippo said.

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