Development of Sagadahoc County through the Eastern Eye was a collaborative project coordinated by Liz Fitzsimmons. The Penobscot Marine Museum is grateful to the following individuals and organizations in Sagadahoc County for contributing information and memories for the captions:
Friends of the Bath Historical Society and Patten Free Library (Bath); Sam Crosby, Georgetown Historical Society and Susan Taylor (Georgetown and Five Islands); Thomas Totman (Phippsburg, Parker Head, Popham Beach, Sebasco); Thomas Totman, Thomas Hinkle, and Lynda Wyman (Small Point); Jay Robbins (Richmond); Ralph Williams and Ed Mendes, Topsham Historical Society (Topsham); Debbie Locke (Woolwich)
Harbor View Hotel in Bath, circa 1910
The Penobscot Marine Museum's photography collections include nearly 50,000 glass plate negatives of images for "real photo" postcards produced by the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company of Belfast, Maine. The company, founded by Herman Cassens in 1909, employed photographers who traveled by company vehicle through the New England states and parts of New York State each summer, taking pictures of towns and cities, vacation spots and tourist attractions, working waterfronts and local industries, and other subjects postcard recipients might enjoy seeing. The cards were printed by the millions in Belfast into the 1950s.
While old postcards often evoke nostalgia, they are also important historical records. Sagadahoc County through the Eastern Eye is one of a series of county exhibits developed from the Penobscot Marine Museum's collection that tell stories about a place's past. Outreach to local residents and community historians yielded personal recollections, family connections, and disappearing history, which have enriched the photo captions.
Sagadahoc Country through the Eastern Eye features photographs that reveal the character and pulse of its communities in the early decades of the 20th century. The mighty Kennebec River shaped livelihoods, industries, and transportation. Smaller villages, such as Five Islands, Small Point, and Sebasco, had their own post offices and identities. Bath thrived on manufacturing and commerce, and Topsham was known for papermaking and its agricultural fair. Hotels, boarding houses, summer colonies, and camps drew seasonal visitors.
The Kennebec River was busy, with steamboats carrying people and goods and cargo vessels shipping out lumber, granite, and ice. Ferries transported horses and wagons, automobiles, passengers, and trains across the Kennebec. Vessels, from fishing boats and clipper ships to yachts and destroyers, took shape on its banks.
The images in the exhibit are a small sample of Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company photographs that collectively tell a big story about life in Sagadahoc County a century ago.
The albums group the photos by town. Villages are included in the towns they are part of, Fosters Point with Bath; Five Islands with Georgetown; Parker Head, Popham Beach, Sebasco, and Small Point with Phippsburg; Days Ferry with Woolwich.
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