Saturday, April 27, 2013

Legally Built

  Frederick Wheeler Hinckley was an attorney in Portland.  Mr. Hinckley became wealthy through his work.  Mr. Hinckley also had an odd hobby, he designed houses, he also built some of them.  He started a development in the 1920's called Sylvan Site in South Portland.  He had built his own home, Clyfdale on Sawyer Street, and turned his acreage into the development.
  The photographs in this piece are by Walter Fenley are were hand tinted, they're very nice.
Bungalow, 970 Sawyer Street, South Portland c1920s - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
Colonial Revival built in the 1920's - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
This house was owned by Dr. Waldo T. Skillin a Portland physician.  The Skillin School on Wescott Street in South Portland is named for him.  Coincidentally when I worked for the South Portland School Dept. my office was located in a building next to Skillin School.  Small world.
House with a cross gabled roof, 5 Adelbert Street, South Portland c1920s - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via


Friday, April 26, 2013

Le Petit Pont - The Swinging Bridge

The Brunswick-Topsham Footbridge in 1895 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
  Built to accommodate workers for the Cabot Mill in Brunswick that came to work from Topsham.  Topsham, a neighboring town, had some of the tenements owned by Cabot.  Most of the workers were French-Canadian and walked to work because wages weren't very high.
  Similar bridges are in Skowhegan which crosses to Kennebec to the section of Skowhegan that used to be the Town of Bloomfield.  There is the "Two-cent Bridge" between Waterville and Winslow.  I'm sure I have listed them all.  The Two-cent name of that bridge came from the toll charged for using that bridge.  My wife an I have walked across these bridges plus the one in Bangor over the Kenduskeag Stream, it's a pleasant walk on any of them.
The fall of the river seen from Le Petit Pont in 1895 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
The 1936 flood covers the footbridge. - click to enlarge
Photo: Pejepscot Historical Society via


Thursday, April 25, 2013

The game of summer - baseball

Portland v. Houlton in Houlton c1895 - click to enlarge
Photo: Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum via
  Baseball has been around in Maine for a long long time, even longer than the age of the above photo.  The fields have changed over time, but there are still nine men on the field for each side.
  Even I can remember when almost each town had a team, the Lebanon team used to play three of four games a week at Goodall Field in Sanford.  We used to have a great time at those games.  Now most of those teams are history as are many of the fields.  Kids don't go outdoors as much and form "teams" of four or five on a side - we used to play with four of us, each had our own score and we just rotated positions - it worked.
Bowdoin College Team c1896 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
  In the photo above there is one interesting thing.  The young man in suit and tie (left, top) was the team manager Percival Baxter.  Mr. Baxter became many things including Governor of Maine and the man who gave us Baxter State Park.
Cabot Mill Team in 1930 playing in Brunswick - click to enlarge
Photo: Pejepscot Historical Society via
  Many companies or mills in Maine sponsored a team; they may have played against town teams or games with other companies.  Now with no mills those are history too.
  Now there is Little League and Senior Little League (World Series in Bangor, Maine), American Legion teams and college teams in Maine for those who care to play or watch; but it seems the neighbor kids playing everyday outdoors are rarely seen.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Summer Camp

  I went to camp one summer for a week, maybe more than once.  Camp was supposed to make the "rustic life" fun so you could appreciate "more luxurious life".
  Well since we lived in an old farmhouse without running water or inside "facilities", what rustic life was I supposed to have fun in, hell I was having fun already.  No, camp for me was, in reality, a vacation for my mother - she needed one.
The truck for Camp Winnebago in Fayette, Maine in 1940.
Photo: Camp Winnebago via
  The truck/bus was used to pick the boys up and return them to the train station.  It was also used for day trips to the ocean or other locations.  The truck was retired in the 1960's.
Camp Technology for MIT students.
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
  This camp run by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was to expose students to subjects other than math and science.  I imagine it was a memorable break and it was "rustic".
Girls play basketball in Naples c1930
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
I can not imagine how much fun camping must have been for girls.  All those activities in a skirt or dress.  No wonder most camps were single sex things.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

....and there was music

Chandlers Band, Portland Maine 1898
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
  A long time ago, before even Wilbur or I were born, there was no radio.  People still liked to listen to music.  As a result most towns of any size had a band.  The band in the top photo might have been the best dressed and have "professional" musicians, but other bands throughout Maine went over just as well.
  I wonder why they just didn't embed a small chip in the newspaper.  (that's a joke)
So we'll take a look at some other bands that were popular:
The Union Brass Band, Ferry Village Cape Elizabeth 1873
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
  Note the year on this photo.  Yes, Ferry Village is in South Portland, now, but South Portland didn't split from Cape Elizabeth until 1875.
  Anyway this was a very popular band in that part of the town, I even used to live in Ferry Village but not when the band was playing.
Gem Theater Orchestra, Peaks Island, 1910
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
  The old Gem Theater was a going concern on Peaks Island until about 1915 when things changed for one reason or another.  After 1915 there was no orchestra and the building became a roller skating rink.
Fifth Infantry Band, Fort Williams, Cape Elizabeth c1923
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
  I am not sure this photo was taken on Fort Williams, but I don't think it was, even the parade grounds weren't that large, this may have been a part of a larger parade in Portland or some other town.
  I took my first enlistment oath at Fort Williams about 55 years ago, by then it was just a processing station.  In the present time it's home to some organizational offices and a day care.  Fort Williams Park is also the home of Portland Head Light.

Monday, April 22, 2013

La Saint-Jean in Lewiston-Auburn

  Pope Pius X made Saint John the Baptist the Patron Saint of the French in North America in 1908.  The textile and shoe mills in Maine, and New England, drew masses of French-Canadian workers.  Several cities Lewiston, Biddeford, Saco, Auburn, Sanford and Westbrook had large numbers of French Speaking people, the Franco population in Lewiston reached over 60 percent of the total population of the city.  The Franco-American people still celebrate La St-Jean Day each June.
La Grande Hermine, the ship that brought Cartier to America is celebrated with
this replica in 1897. - click to enlarge
Photo: Franco-American Collection via
Alfred Auger dressed as Ste Jean Baptiste in 1897.
The boy from Minot became an entertainer in Atlantic City, New York and Boston
as an adult.  St. John is often characterized as a child. - click to enlarge
Photo: Franco-American Collection via
Franco-American military men, there were many, march in the American Legion Parade in 1941. - click to enlarge
Photo: Franco-American Collection via

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sanatorium - Fresh air in Hebron

Front gate, Western Maine Sanatorium 1928 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
Tuberculosis, or "consumption" was a deadly disease in the early part of the last century.  It was thought that fresh air helped in the cure of TB along with the drugs that were available at the time.
The State of Maine built Sanatoriums for places to send people for fresh air, we'll take a short peek at the one in the southern Oxford County Town of Hebron.
  People would stay at the Sanatoriums for long periods of time, my guess is to mostly keep them out of contact with others to slow the spread of TB.  There were schools and religious services, parades on the Fourth of July, and parties at Christmas, but mostly there was fresh air.
The Children's Cottage at Hebron 1928 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
The Fourth of July Parade 1929 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via