This massacre saw Portland abandoned for decades


Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight kelp is in; tiny houses are out; and we look at the time Portland was abandoned for decades.

What we’re talking about

Kelp farm in Casco Bay is bringing seaweed back — It’s good for the environment, is easy to cook with and gosh darn it, algea taste good. Kelp, the new kale, is now pureed and sold like salsa in Greater Portland. Kathleen Pierce has the scoop on Portland’s newest startup Ocean’s Balance. — Kathleen Pierce

That time Portland was abandoned for 26 years — This week 327 years ago, the British lost a brutal battle with combined French and Native American forces for control of Fort Loyal, which once stood near what is now India Street, BDN Portland’s Troy R. Bennett reports. The fighting ended in a massacre so devastating that for more than two decades afterwards the city was abandoned: “For a while, Portland just ceased to exist.”

Home again — The mentally unstable man who Portland police reported missing earlier this month returned home sometime over the weekend and is no longer considered an endangered missing person, police said Monday. Before coming home, Benvindo Nzau, 39, had last been seen on April 20 and friends told the police that he might be attempting to walk to Canada. A police spokesman declined to say whether he had made it to the border.  

Tiny homes are out — A landowner has agreed to get rid of two tiny homes that he built on trailers in his Bayside property and pay a $1,000 fine after the city sued him over alleged code violations, the Press Herald’s Randy Billing’s reports. “When the city is able to make discretionary decisions which help large-scale developers, it would be only fair to have the same rules and predictability apply to all permit applications for small development,” Brent Alder, the landowner, said.  The city is moving to adopt regulations that would clearly ban the use of recreational vehicles as dwelling, but Adler did not admit to any code violations as part of the settlement.

Coffee with Cooks hits the deck— The Black Point Inn is about to open for the summer. Find out what executive chef Daniel Harrison Dumont has in store on this historic Prout’s Neck property with epic ocean views. Tune into the BDN Portland’s Facebook page Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. and join the conversation in real time. – Kathleen Pierce

Naming the dead — South Portland police have identified the man who burned to death in a tent in the woods alongside Interstate 295 as a Rodney Jewell, a loner with a criminal history who has been long estranged from his family in northern Maine, the Press Herald’s Kelley Bouchard reports.

Rolls-Royce hood ornament recovered — A Portland man was arrested over the weekend for allegedly stealing the hood ornament off a $1 million, 1913 Rolls-Royce once owned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s daughter, the Press Herald reports.  Police found Kevin Roenisch in possession of the hood ornament Saturday, while he allegedly was in the midst of a break-in.

Tweet of the day

From the Portland Police:

The Big Idea

A sticky situation for Maine’s largest syrup maker — The state approving a $5.7 million conservation easement might be the only thing that will save Maine’s richest source of maple sugar from being destroyed, BDN’s Michael Shepherd reports.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at, or tweet @JZBleiberg.

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