Portland, Maine is currently in the midst of a redevelopment that is reshaping the city and the way it is viewed throughout the country. One of the neighborhoods that is experiencing that shift is the India Street area, formerly known as Portland's 'Little Italy.' From immigration in the 19th century through to urban renewal in the 1960s, the area was the first destination and primary home for generations of Portland's Italians.
The cultural study that is presented in "Built on Family: The Little Italy of Portland, Maine," establishes the historical importance of the neighborhood as the home of families who came to shape the Portland of the later 20th Century, and whose stores, businesses, and families are still active in the city today.
"Built on Family" covers the physical neighborhood, the importance of the local Church, the immigration patterns, home life, and the establishment of businesses. It traces how family and kinship were present in all activities - a trait brought over from Italy and not distinct from other Italian settlements in the United States.
With personal interviews conducted by the author intermingled with census research and photos, the book uses humorous and touching stories to bring historical data to life.