Site of future Bath City Hall, ca. 1896

Contributed by Private Collection through Patten Free Library

Site of future Bath City Hall, ca. 1896

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The businesses, shown in this photograph of the Davenport Building and its neighbor to the south or right, all appear in the 1896 city directory, but not in the 1892 or 1897 volumes at these precise addresses. Beginning on the left: S. T. Woodward's coal business; the Western Telegraph Office; George P. Davenport's business interests that combined a ship brokerage, a real estate office, and insurance for land and sea; Franklin P. Sprague, an attorney; James W. Hughes, a tailor in an upstairs space; and the Mark W. Sewall Coal Company. This range indicates the variety of businesses that could be found in the downtown, and also those services that were required by many. On the northern fringe of the central business district was an area known as the Coal Pocket where coal was unloaded from barges in the Kennebec River and stored.
As noted by Harry Webber on the back of the framed photograph, "These buildings stood where is now 1951 Bath's City Hall -- The Bath Independent Office when I went to work for Chas. D. Clarke the publisher, paper was printed in Rockland, was over the Sewall Coal Office shown in picture."
The only individual that can be identified in this photograph is the driver of the buggy, who appears to be George Patten Davenport, the ship broker and owner of the gabled structure featured prominently in the image. It was Davenport whose will revealed after his death in 1926 that he had left the city both this property and funds to assist in the construction of a new city hall to replace the 1837 town hall. Davenport's gift was conditional on the naming of the structure after his father, Charles Davenport.
Unlike the 1927 photograph of this same site, the buildings in this 1896 photo feature the rich and deep colors popular in the second half of the nineteenth century. At the very end of the century and into the twentieth century, a new fondness and fashion for white-painted structures led to covering the more varied hues of earlier years.

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About This Item

  • Title: Site of future Bath City Hall, ca. 1896
  • Creation Date: circa 1896
  • Subject Date: circa 1896
  • Town: Bath
  • County: Sagadahoc
  • State: ME
  • Media: Photographic print
  • Dimensions: 15.5 cm x 20.1 cm
  • Local Code: Private Collection--HW
  • Collection: Private Collection
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Patten Free Library
33 Summer Street, Bath, ME 04530
(207) 443-5141

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