History and museums
The West End is a downtown neighborhood in Portland, Maine. It is located on the western side of Portland's peninsula primarily on Bramhall Hill and is noted for its architecture and history. The neighborhood is home to a large number of historic homes and parks and, in 2010, it was called "one of the best preserved Victorian neighborhoods in the country". The Western Promenade, a park laid out in 1836, overlooks the Libbytown and Stroudwater neighborhoods of Portland and beyond. Other historic structures include 68 High Street, The Gothic House, Brown House, Butler House, Ingraham House, Morrill Mansion and the Minott House.
The West End is known for ethnic and socioeconomic diversity; in 1994, it was called one of Portland's 'gay-friendly' neighborhoods.
Reiche Community School, a public school located on Brackett Street, serves the West End's K-5 school-age students. It also houses a branch library, swimming pool, and community center. Waynflete School, a private school located on Spring Street, is also located in the neighborhood. Learning Works, formally known as Portland West, is located on Brackett Street in the West End. Founded as a community group fighting the gentrification of the West End in 1967, Learning Works is now a social services agency which provides educational opportunities to at-risk teenagers, immigrants, refugees and low income families.
Mercy Hospital was established in 1918 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and the Sisters of Mercy. Maine Medical Center, Maine's largest hospital and Portland's largest employer, is located on the Western Promenade. It was founded in 1874.
The West End News is a local weekly newspaper which includes news and information pertaining to the neighborhood and the city at-large.
In 1869, the Bramhall Reservoir gate and fence was built around Brackett, Vaughan and Chadwick Streets, to hold water pumped from Sebago Lake by the Portland Water Company. It held 8 million gallons. The reservoir was used until 1964, when it was flattened and the land was leased to nearby Maine Medical Center for parking.
Five city parks are located in the neighborhood, including Clark Street Park, Harbor View Park, Tate-Tyng Playground and McIntyre Park, and the Western Promenade with a view of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. The Western Cemetery, Portland's primary cemetery from 1829–1852, is located in the neighborhood.
McIntyre Park on Taylor Street was redeveloped beginning in October 2011. Funded by a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development at a cost of $83,000, the park upgraded its basketball court, seating area, swings and other playground equipment.