I often try to re-create Portland's first downtown along the river in all its cast-iron splendor. The city's architecture, unique to the entire region in its scope and scale, was the earliest manifestation of Portland's singular essence of place outside of its natural setting.
The exhibit features fixtures from many of Portland's vanished architectural treasures: the Abington, Smith and Watson, Cooks and first Sherlock buildings, including a golden griffin from the Kamm Block, and an iron wolves head from the Ladd Block, which was torn down overnight in 1965 in a shameful episode after its ownership learned that the PDC recommended the building be preserved.
is not only a story of loss, but of revival. A slide show on a wide-screen monitor features photographs of many of Portland's surviving cast-iron buildings in dilapidated condition before restorations completed over the last forty years. The transformations are stunning and hint at what can be accomplished in the future.