A historic and thriving city, Portland is the largest city in Maine and the county seat of Cumberland county. The city’s seal fittingly depicts a phoenix rising from ashes, alluding to the Portland’s motto "I will rise again," which refers to the city's triumphant recovery from the four devastating fires in its past. The city is home to a rich history and a thriving business and cultural scene, making it the ideal place to live for the young and old alike.
The Native Americans who first inhabited it once called the Portland peninsula Machigonne, meaning Great Neck. The British then, in 1632, established the area as a trading and fishing settlement. As industry in America grew, the Portland area, then called Falmouth, became a hub for shipping and trading companies. After the citizens of Falmouth decided to form a separate town in Falmouth Neck, Portland was officially incorporated in 1786.
As of recently, the city has seen renewed interest in its fishing industry, exporting, and the redevelopment of Portland's working waterfront. These renewed interests have revitalized the city. The city of Portland also places its constant attention to the preservation of its historical landmarks. It is because of this that the city has successfully been able to incorporate the character of its past with a more current, modern urban environment. Portland is also home to a thriving Arts District.
The Arts District is centered on Congress Street, which is home to a range of museums, galleries, and theaters. The Portland Museum of Art is the largest and oldest public art institution in the state of Maine and features an impressive range of more than 17,000 pieces that date from the 18th century to the present.
The downtown Portland area also has a wonderful and diverse dining scene. The city is home to more than two hundred restaurants and caters to a variety of tastes, offering everything from local seafood to Italian delicatessens. The city also has The Portland Farmers' Market which has been in operation since 1768 and occurs every Wednesday and Saturday from early May to the end of November, as well as every Saturday indoors from early December to the end of April. A number of markets on the wharves sell fresh fish and seafood and a range of bakeries sell freshly made goods on a daily basis. There is never a shortage of great and fresh food in Portland.
Residents of Portland are served by Portland Public Schools, which operates eleven elementary schools, three middle schools, and four high schools. The city is also home to several institutes of higher education, including the Maine College of Art, the University of Maine School of Law, the University of New England, and the University of Southern Maine. Portland’s competitive and diverse education system is sure to provide for everyone, from families with children to adults seeking higher education.
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