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reading photographs

posted: , by Abraham Schechter
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Seniors | Portland History

Here in the Portland Room, we sleuth information from visual sources as well as their written counterparts. Often, photographs are neither captioned nor dated, but we can delve into our arsenal of City Directories, maps, reference books, and newspaper archives to assemble background information for the images.

Rather than to do the usual “then and now,” let’s try a “now and then” for the images below. Pictured here is Congress Square (the intersection of High Street and Congress Street), a very familiar Portland crossroads- facing in a northeasterly direction.

Taken on March 10, 2010, this image provides more than directional coordinates. “Reading” this image, we recognize the Eastland Hotel (built in 1927) in its present form, Congress Square Park at center, and the Congress Square Hotel (built in 1896) in the right background. Note the contrasting 19th century storefronts at the right edge. Then look at the photo below!

Now, with your “photo reading eyes,” and an acquaintance with present-day Congress Square, have a good look at this photograph (printed on albumen paper- a photo process hint). The shops in the lower right corner (yes that was a coffee shop!) are recognizable. The row-houses in the foreground are long gone- as well as the trolley tracks. And the Eastland? Not built yet! Now, notice the construction in the background. That’s the Congress Square Hotel being extended along Forest Avenue. The extension was opened in 1910.

Made in Portland : The Café Review

posted: , by Abraham Schechter
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Seniors | News | Portland History

March is National Poetry Month, encouraging writing activities throughout the country. Among the Portland Room’s local periodical collections is the complete and ongoing run of The Café Review- now in its 21st year!


Pictured below is Steve Luttrell, founder and publishing editor of the Review. Last year, he was named the City of Portland’s Poet Laureate.  The photo was taken here in the Portland Room, as Steve kindly gave his certificate to the Archives’ collections.


Pictured here is the 20th Anniversary issue.  The Café Review continues to encourage local poetry-writing, and invites written and visual-art contibutions.

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