City, seat of justice of Cumberland Co, ME, situated on a peninsula, at the southwest extremity of Casco bay, facing the Atlantic, from which it presents a beautiful view. It is 50 miles southwest of Augusta, 110 northeast of Boston, and 545 miles from Washington. The harbor is one of the best in the United States, being capacious and protected by the islands at its entrance, from the severity of the northeast storms, which prevail on this coast. A lighthouse, 72 feet high, built in 1790, still in good preservation, stands on Portland Head. On an eminence, in the northeast part of the city, is an observatory, 70 feet high, which affords a fine view of the neighboring harbor and islands, and the surrounding country, to the White mountains in New Hampshire. Railroads extend from this city to Vermont, via the valley of the Androscoggin. Augusta, Portsmouth, Boston &c, and steamboats and packets ply to Boston and other ports, during the season of navigation. Cumberland and Oxford canal communicates with Sebago and Long ponds in the interior of the county. Portland has an extensive inland and coasting trade, and exports large quantities of lumber, ice and provisions, to the West Indies and elsewhere. The city is regularly laid out with wide streets, some of which are lined with beautiful shade trees and handsome dwellings. The hospitality and intelligence of the citizens, and the sea breezes by which the city is fanned, render it a pleasant resort in the warm season.
The population in 1790 was 2,240; in 1800 was 3,677; in 1810 was 7,169; in 1820 was 8,581; in 1830 was 12,601; in 1840 was 15,218 and in 1850 was 20,815.