How Portland, Maine’s Canco Road Got Its Odd Name
A road in Portland, Maine, has an unusual name that makes sense when you know its history.
Canco Road is a 3/4 mile-long road that runs between Washington Avenue and Read Street. It's an industrial area where you'll find Americold Logistics, Central Maine Power's Portland offices, Portland Public Works, Portland Recreation Facilities, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the First Baptist Church of Portland.
Canco Road is not named after anything on that road. Its name comes from a business that was nearby on Read Street.
The American Can Company went into business in 1901, and had a canning facility near the corner of Canco and Read Streets. When Canco Road was built, they named it after the American CAN COmpany, which I assume was named that because it's where the road leads. Just like how Portland Road, which most of us know as Route 1, runs between Saco and Portland.
At the height of its success, American Can Company had 47 canning facilities across the country, including two here in Maine. Portland and Lubec both employed local workers at each of the canneries.
The Lubec plant closed in 1972, and the entire company went out of business in 1986. Both of the facilities have since been demolished.
Here's where the building was:
And here's what it looks like today:
85 years is a good run for any business in Maine. The only trace of what was there remains in the name of the street that intersects near where the American Can Company used to be. Now you know the history of the naming of Canco Road.
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