Portland History : the Guptill Building, on Commercial Street

Processing and preserving our archival collections is a constant discovery. Here is one of countless occasions at which artifacts bring us to an enhanced appreciation of what we see around us. (After reading through this entry, you might enjoy simply scrolling back up and down again- to notice similarites and changes to this historic Old Port building on Commercial Street.

Here is 175 – 181 Commercial Street, as it appeared circa 1910. Guptill was in the ship stores business, as you can detect by the wares in the windows and on the sidewalk. Just to the right hand side- out of the picture- would be Moulton Street. This original photograph is an albumen contact print.

Fast-forward to 1972, as the Guptill Building appears again. This time the image is from our in-process Portland Press Herald Still-Film Negative Collection. The building was among the initial renovation projects that transformed the waterfront district into the popular Old Port Exchange. Here is the caption from the Evening Express of May 20, 1972: “Old Building Sold – Charlton Smith, second from left, president of Greater Portland Landmarks, hands the deed for the Guptill Building at Commercial and Moulton Streets, background, to Franklin L. Brooks, treasurer of the Ralph D. Brooks and Sons insurance agency. George W. Crockett, left, realtor for the sale; D.W. Christopherson, second right, architect for the renovation; and Ralph D. Brooks Jr., president of the firm, look on.”

Here is the same storefront as seen in the ca.1910 photograph, but this time it was taken this morning- on January 10, 2012. Moulton Street is at right.

Once more, the Guptill Building- and a full view- taken on January 10, 2012. Recognize the place now?

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