Members of Friends of the Eastern Promenade and the Maine Historical Society gathered to celebrate the 180th birthday of James Phinney Baxter on Wednesday, March 23. Friends of Eastern Promenade President Diane Davison and Maine Historical Society Executive Director Richard D'Abate welcomed guests to the reception, held in the Society's Shettleworth Lecture Hall. Maine State Historian Earle Shettleworth Jr. gave a presentation about Baxter's impressive career and significant contributions to Portland.
Baxter, who served as mayor of Portland for six terms, led efforts to develop the boulevard around the Back Cove, create a master plan for the Eastern Promenade and build the original Baxter Library. Baxter also built a number of architecturally important buildings and was a well-respected businessman, historian and philanthropist. His son, Percival Baxter, grew up to become governor of Maine.
Party-goers sang "Happy Birthday," enjoyed a birthday cake and toasted "Portland's benefactor" with sparkling cider. Eric Baxter, the great-great-grandson of James Phinney Baxter, attended the celebration.
CTN's Community Update covered the event: