1980s

Past Perfect, 1980: What’s in a Name?

William Barry was a resident of North Street back in 1980. We were really grateful when he offered to write articles about the history of the Hill for the Observer. Barry was working as a reference librarian at the Portland Public Library, a position in which he now serves at the Maine Historical Society.

His articles were among the most popular items we published. We will be featuring more of Barry’s work in the coming months. For more information about Barry check out his interview published in the Portland Press Herald back in 2012 , following the publication of his book, The Wilder Half of New England, which is a great read.

Following is a piece by Berry taken from a 1980 issue of the Munjoy Hill Observer.

Past Perfect: Some Context on The Observer

The Munjoy Hill Observer was born early in 1980, about a year after the MHNO was formed. There were four principal editors, three of whom had edited their high school newspapers and thought this would be an interesting project for the neighborhood. Barbara Vestal and Ned Chester had just opened their law office at the corner of North and Congress Street and had time on their hands because they didn’t have any clients. Mary Ellen Deschenes was the Director of Public Health for the City of Portland and lived on Fore Street. David Talbott lived on Fore Street (with Mary Ellen) and was a technical writer and was writing the great American novel.