History won’t stop for zoning

Munjoy Hill was an undeveloped area until the Great Fire of 1866, when a tent city emerged to house burned-out refugees. Gradually, houses replaced the tents, many of them modest ones built for workers employed in the rail yards and sea port at the foot of Fore Street. The neighborhood was the home of Portland’s black community and the first stop for waves of immigrants, Irish, Italian and Jewish, who were looking for a better life.

But when people say they want to preserve the “historic character” of Munjoy Hill, they don’t mean that they want to make a place for refugees, workers and immigrants of all colors and religions. They mean they want you to get a permit before you pop some dormers in your roofline.

via the Portland Press Herald

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