Portland is located in Middlesex County, on the east bank of the Connecticut River. During its history, the town changed its name several times. Founded initially as East Middletown, then renamed Conway, and then Chatham. It was incorporated in 1841 and named after Portland, England. The town was famous for its brownstone quarries, which was a very popular building material. The great majority of buildings in the state were built with the brownstone quarried in Portland. The second biggest industry local members were involved in was shipbuilding. At the beginning of the 20th century, brownstones lost their popularity. Floods in 1936 caused the collapse of the industry, and soon shipbuilding unfortunately declined as well.