Maine Irish Heritage Trail
South Portland Site Number 2
by Matthew Jude Barker
60 Ocean Street
South Portland, Maine
Perhaps the best-known Irish site in South Portland is the Griffin Club, a restaurant and bar located at 60 Ocean Street, across from the Bridgeway Restaurant. The club originated as the "Dugout," and was situated further up Ocean Street.
Edward M. "Eddie" Griffin (1927-1993) was born in Portland, the son of Edward and Nora Greeley Griffin, Irish immigrants. He graduated from South Portland High School, saw active service in the Army during the Korean War, and was employed for nineteen years with the Canadian National Railroad. In 1966, he purchased the Champ restaurant at 95 Ocean Street which had been in operation since 1936. Eddie renamed it the Dugout Sports Grill and the place became a popular hang-out, especially for sports fans who could often meet famous basketball and baseball players (including many Celtics and Red Sox players) and boxers at the place. Griffin became a well-known sports promoter in Maine.
In 1974, Eddie purchased 60-62 Ocean Street, one half being a restaurant (the Log Cabin Restaurant for many years). Here he operated Eddie Griffin's Dugout and The Griffin Club until his death in January 1993. Griffin had suffered for many months with terminal cancer and the previous fall a "live wake," in which over eight hundred people attended, was held for the man who had done so much for sports in the area. For the next fifteen years his widow Marjorie Pender Griffin operated the club until she sold it to a longtime employee and bartender. Irish and sports memorabilia can still be found within its walls. From circa 1920 until 1942, local Irishmen Lawrence J. McCabe and Edmond W. McLaughlin owned grocery stores at 62 Ocean Street with various business partners.
Acknowledgements by Matthew Jude Barker
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