What Could Portlanders Be Waiting In Line For 50 Years Ago?
A picture of a long line of people waiting in the cold on a February day about 50 years ago is something you wouldn't see today, thanks to a change in Maine law.
The photo shared in the Portland Maine Encyclopedia of the 1960s, 70s, & 80s Facebook group by Richard Foley shows hundreds of people waiting in line at a former location of Portland's bureau of motor vehicles on Middle Street to get their cars registered.
Why so many people? At the time this photo was taken, registrations for all Maine vehicles expired on the last day of February. That's right. Everyone's registration expired on the same day!
So if you happened to wait until that last minute all those years ago, this is the line you found when you arrived to register your car. And you thought the lines were bad today?
It's hard to tell exactly where this is today because so much of this part of the city has changed since then. The old Grand Trunk grain elevator can be seen towering in the background which was near the current location of the Ocean Gateway Terminal.
Lucky for us the State of Maine realized that having everyone's registration expire on the same day was causing more trouble than it was worth, and changed to the current system of the end of each month depending on when you originally registered your car or plate.