Events downtown

Jul 04

Old Port 4th of July Historic Walking Tour
Location: Monument Sqaure, Portland, Maine 04101, US
11:00 am - 1:30 pm
Event website

Did you know that Portland’s Great Fire of 1866 started on the 4th of July? It was the first Independence Day celebrated after the end of the American Civil War and was America’s biggest fire until the Great Chicago Fire five years later. This 2 1/2 hour, 2-mile, tour will discuss how the fire happened, how it spread, and how the people of Portland pulled themselves up by their bootstraps time and time again. We will also see some of Portland’s beautiful architecture, historical landmarks, monuments, and discuss how prohibition started in the Old Port, to include Portland’s famous “Rum Riot,” as well as discuss so much more Old Port history from 1632! Moreover, your Tour Guide, Leigh Rush Olson, will talk about some of the best places to sample Portland’s amazing craft beer, point out some of her favorite Old Port restaurants, discover the Old Port’s night life, and where to catch the fireworks. Come experience this memorable 4th of July Historic Walking Tour with over 50 historic stops!


Leigh Rush Olson, Founder and Tour Guide of Old Port Historic Tours (pictured in event photo), is standing behind the US flag that was approved by US Senator Susan Collins to be flown over the US capital on the 4th of July during the Obama Administration to honor Leigh’s grandfather, Jacob Rush, who served in the American Revolution, as well as her cousin, Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer the Declaration of Independence.


Your Tour Guide and founder of Old Port Historic Tours, Leigh Rush Olson, has a BA in History from CUNY Brooklyn College, is a Daughter of the American Revolution serving 2 terms as Maine State American History Chairwoman, and is a certified Portland History Docent with the Maine Historical Society in collaboration with Portland Landmarks. You’re in good hands!

Advanced tickets required at $45 per person. Kids 12 and under are free with paying adult.

Here are just some of the topics you will hear about and places you will visit outside on an Old Port Historic Walking Tour with Leigh…

*Monument Square

*Lobsterman’s Park

*Portland City Hall

*Old Port real estate history

*Numerous landmarks, monuments, and architecture on the National Registry of Historic Places

*US Custom House

*Boothby Square

*Commercial Street Waterfront

*Wharf Street

*Fishing industry

*Prohibition and how it all began in the Old Port

*Tommy’s Park and the history of its murals

*Post Office Park

*Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Home

*Revolutionary Generation

*Civil War history

*First Parish Church

*Lincoln Park

*Several Underground Railroad stops

*Portland’s tallest and oldest buildings

*Exchange Street galleries and boutiques

*Leigh’s favorite places to point out for craft beer bars, breweries, and restaurants – including Leigh’s favorite breakfast locations and where to get the best lobster rolls… BIG lobster rolls 🦞🦞🦞

*History of Portland’s fires including the biggest that shocked the nation

*Famous/legendary people of the area

*Night life – stand-up comedy, concerts, theatrical performances, etc

*History of the Kotzschmar Organ- one of the grandest and most celebrated pipe organs in the world

*Local Maine Artists

*Old Port’s finest Mansard roofs

* The Old Port’s popular donut shops – HiFi Donuts, Eighty 8 Donuts, and The Holy Donut

*Best things to do in the Kennebunks if Portland isn’t enough!

AND Much, Much, More, but Leigh doesn’t want to give it all away!

Where to meet: Monument Square – located directly across the street from the Portland Public Library on Congress Street.