Maine State Pier reveals Portland’s working waterfront

Posted Sept. 06, 2012, at 4:07 p.m.
A crowd of summer people and a few locals disembark after a ferry ride to the Maine State Pier from Peaks Island on Labor Day.
A crowd of summer people and a few locals disembark after a ferry ride to the Maine State Pier from Peaks Island on Labor Day. Buy Photo
Jessica Grenz, left, of South Dakota and her sister, Julia Grenz, of Missouri, pose for self-portrait while waiting to set sail on a schooner at the Maine State Pier. The chilly evenings that have arrived with the unofficial end of summer prompted the sisters to buy souvenir sweatshirts.
Jessica Grenz, left, of South Dakota and her sister, Julia Grenz, of Missouri, pose for self-portrait while waiting to set sail on a schooner at the Maine State Pier. The chilly evenings that have arrived with the unofficial end of summer prompted the sisters to buy souvenir sweatshirts. Buy Photo
One of three schooners that tie up at the Maine State Pier heads out on an evening sail while a fisherman casts for mackerel.
One of three schooners that tie up at the Maine State Pier heads out on an evening sail while a fisherman casts for mackerel. Buy Photo
Sharks and tuna are seen on a mackerel fisherman's T-shirt as the sun goes down on Labor Day at the Maine State Pier
Sharks and tuna are seen on a mackerel fisherman's T-shirt as the sun goes down on Labor Day at the Maine State Pier Buy Photo
A sign asks fishermen to not to startle ferry passengers.
A sign asks fishermen to not to startle ferry passengers. Buy Photo
The captain of a boat buries his head in his hands as his friends give him grief after they were forced to tie up next to the Maine State Pier when the boat developed engine troubles during a Labor Day cruise on Casco Bay. Their party continued while the engine cooled down, then they headed across the river to their marina in South Portland.
The captain of a boat buries his head in his hands as his friends give him grief after they were forced to tie up next to the Maine State Pier when the boat developed engine troubles during a Labor Day cruise on Casco Bay. Their party continued while the engine cooled down, then they headed across the river to their marina in South Portland. Buy Photo
A coin-operated set of binoculars awaits those looking to visually explore Casco Bay from the end of the Maine State Pier.
A coin-operated set of binoculars awaits those looking to visually explore Casco Bay from the end of the Maine State Pier. Buy Photo
Skateboarder Ricky Vaccarro, 21, performs an &quotOllie on, 180 off," on a cement block in the middle the Maine State Pier.
Skateboarder Ricky Vaccarro, 21, performs an "Ollie on, 180 off," on a cement block in the middle the Maine State Pier. Buy Photo
A transient from Pennsylvania and a local man climb out from under the Maine State Pier on Labor Day.
A transient from Pennsylvania and a local man climb out from under the Maine State Pier on Labor Day. Buy Photo
At dusk, a fisherman lands a small catch at the end of the Maine State Pier.
At dusk, a fisherman lands a small catch at the end of the Maine State Pier. Buy Photo
A crowd of summer people walk up a ramp at the Maine State Pier after getting off the ferry from Peaks Island on Labor Day.
A crowd of summer people walk up a ramp at the Maine State Pier after getting off the ferry from Peaks Island on Labor Day. Buy Photo
Fishermen head for home at the end of the day on the Maine State Pier.
Fishermen head for home at the end of the day on the Maine State Pier. Buy Photo
A couple photographs themselves at dusk on the Maine State Pier.
A couple photographs themselves at dusk on the Maine State Pier. Buy Photo
A pay phone
A pay phone Buy Photo

PORTLAND, Maine — It’s just a 500-foot-long slab of concrete set atop old wooden pilings, but for anyone looking for public access to the city’s downtown working waterfront, it is the place to go.

From anglers to artists, tourists to transients, the public section of the Maine State Pier attracts a constant flow of visitors.

Over the years, plans to redevelop the 89-year-old pier have come and gone like the fishing boats passing by. Blueprints for a large-scale park and business complex have been put away.

For now, the old Bath Iron Works building still obstructs the view of Munjoy Hill. If you walk out to the end of the pier, where the mackerel fishermen gather, you can see Fort Gorges and the islands of Casco Bay. And across the Fore River stand the huge oil tanks of South Portland, a not-so-pretty reminder that this is still a commercial harbor.

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