A 100-Year-Old Relic of the Past is Hidden Behind Trader Joe’s in Portland, Maine
Wherever you go in Maine, you can see ghosts of the past. Things that used to be there have left behind some small things to hint at what was there many years ago. A foundation of a house that once stood. Old signs in the middle of the woods. Old buildings that have been remodeled but retained some of their original look. It's a little bit like a piece of Maine stuck in a time when the world was different.
You'll find many of those things scattered throughout Portland and there's one right behind Trader Joe's on Marginal Way, if you know where to look.
The thing you need to look for is somewhat hidden up against the back of the Trader Joe's building and you have to do some looking through grass and weeds, and some trees to find it.
Right against the building, if you look hard enough, you'll find a big piece of metal, which looks to be buried in the ground.
That is a piece of rail used for over 100 years when this area of Portland was a railroad yard where goods were delivered to various businesses in what is now Bayside Trail.
Locomotives would switch cars here on various tracks delivering boxcars to the loading doors of these businesses.
Since it was a rail yard, there were several tracks that came to an end and you would find this device called a bumper that stops cars from derailing. It's the most visible part of the rail that runs right up against the back of Trader Joe's.
There is also a sign on Preble Street right about where the back of Trader Joe's and the old rail is that says "exempt," which is often placed at rarely used or out-of-service railroad crossings. That crossing is long gone now.
So next time you drive by Trader Joe's on the Preble Street side, look to toward the building and imagine a time when all that land was a giant railyard.