Portland has a deep harbor sheltered by numerous islands. Ships entering the harbor are not directly visible from the wharfs, which created problems for merchants trying to prepare for the arrival of cargoes. This problem was solved in 1807 when Captain Lemuel Moody organized the construction of an observatory on Portland's Munjoy Hill, visible from both the open ocean and the wharfs. During the War of 1812, the observatory was used as
a watch tower.The 86-foot (26 m) tall observatory (7 stories) is octagonal and lighthouse-shaped, with a fieldstone base, and stands 222 feet (68 m) above sea level. The observatory's 'lantern' (cupola) included a P & J Dolland Achromatic Refracting Telescope, which could identify ships 30 miles (48 km) to sea. That telescope disappeared from the observatory in 1939. Maria gave me this nice card.