Portland is at the heart of the largest metropolitan area in both Maine and Northern New England. The city is centered on a hook-shaped peninsula jutting into Casco Bay, located about 108 miles (172 km) northeast of Boston in the southwestern corner of the state.
Having one of the finest harbors on the Eastern Seaboard, it is closer to Europe than any other US port. It was first settled in 1632, though permanent settlement did not begin until 1716. Few buildings pre-date 1866, when a major fire destroyed much of the city. Portland is noted as the birthplace of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and as the home of the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ, one of the world's largest.