The collection comprises archival artifacts such as postcards, photographs, cemetery records, scrapbooks, periodicals, maps, reports, audiovisuals (including sound recordings and books by Ruth Sargent), and Peaks Island printed material spanning from the early 20th century- up to the present. More than 4,500 scans were made.
Above: An original photograph of Forest City Landing.
Below: Some examples of Peaks Island postcards.
Processing (arrangement, description, archival rehousing), digital scanning, and web uploading was accomplished between October 2017 and January 2018, in the PPL’s Portland Room, by a production team consisting of Portland Room staff and Peaks Island volunteers. We are grateful for the supporting generosity of the Peaks Island Fund and the Casco Bay Islands Alliance in making this project possible.
Nancy, Monica, and Abraham- processing the Peaks Island collection, and building the electronic Finding Aid, in the Portland Room.
Cindy, Eric, and Sarah- digitizing the Peaks Island scrapbooks, using a special Zeutschel book scanner at the Main Library.
PPL archivist Abraham scanning, encoding, and uploading back issues of “Nor’ by East” to PPL’s Peaks Island Archives Digital Commons page.
The original archival material, now preserved and digitized, will return to the Peaks Island Branch Library, later this year. Happy Browsing!
All the archival materials are processed and rehoused in preservation enclosures, as well as digitized.
Portland’s esteemed and much-loved Fire Department celebrates its 250th anniversary this month. The City of Portland will recognize two-and-a-half centuries of the Fire Department’s service, with a special proclamation and observance at the Portland Fire Museum, on March 29th. Joining this extraordinary commemoration, the Library’s Portland Room is now exhibiting artifacts and photographs that attest to the brilliant history of the Portland Fire Department.
Above: Apr 1947 – Portland Fire Department fireman on a ladder truck; Second Parish Presbyterian Church (371 Congress Street) in background.
Below: January 1952 – Fire, at James Fruit Company, 225 Commercial Street.
Below: Portland Fire Department locations, in order: Central Fire Station, Congress Street, Woodfords Corner, and Peaks Island:
Below: Views from the Portland Room archival exhibit:
Additional artifacts, such as a leather bucket, an antique Portland fire helmet, and a hose nozzle from an East Deering firehouse, have been lent by the Portland Fire Museum for the exhibit. Below: Another ladder rescue, this time by Fireman Joseph R. Miller, on October 19, 1955.
Come on up and check out the exhibit! The Portland Room is open Mondays-Thursdays, 10am-7pm; Fridays, 10am-6pm.
___________________________ Archivist’s postscriptum:
During the processing (arrangement, description, and archival rehousing) of our large collection of photographic still film, I discovered a negative which had unusual crayon lines drawn across both sides:
A series of immersion baths in distilled water and Photo-Flo 200 wetting agent loosened the crayon marks from both the emulsion and acetate-base sides of the film, allowing me to completely remove the marks with cotton swabs:
The scanned image reveals the scene of a fire at Portland’s City Hospital (today, it’s known as the Barron Center), 1151 Brighton Avenue, on August 11, 1962, and now the visual information is preserved.
Portland Public Library’s Journaling group meets every 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 5:30, in the Portland Room. For July’s gathering we decided to meet at the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Garden, thanks to our wonderful neighbors at Maine Historical Society. (For the August 16th meeting, we’ll be back in the Portland Room, at 5:30.) One of our popular journaling prompts, to get the writing wheels turning, is something we call “write where you are.” We began the summer evening by seating ourselves in different parts of the garden, which offers plenty of nooks and perches. After 12 minutes, we gathered and read aloud what we came up with. Most of our participants sent in their choice excerpts from the exercise, and here they are:
“There are two trellises in front of the brick wall. They appear to be window frames but when one looks through them there is only the bricks. Windows to nowhere. This seems absurd just like the artist who painted ‘This is not a pipe.’ This is not a window.
Some people have windows that have nothing to see when peered out of. Others have windows that showcase spectacular views. Are they always appreciative of the view or does its ability to enthrall wane over time. The human mind enjoys variety. After a certain amount of time it is not aware of what is right in front of it. If sticky notes become ubiquitous the mind ignores them, searching for some fresh perspective to alight on.”
“The pathway of flagstone steps leads up and around through yellow day lilies and ferns. A birdbath sits at the top of the path but no birds are bathing at this moment though their song can be heard from where they perch on branches overhead.”
“A stream comes from lion’s mouth,
The stream hits the water beneath,
Every tree is different,
Dressed leaves or pods.
Some trees stretch their arms towards the sky.”
– Karen P.
“The living brick,
the wind in brick,
Tree stirred to swimming shadow
on the once-dead wall.”
“Colorless sky, unconvincing siren, sea gulls sound their own alarm. A tiny ant makes its way across the sea of bricks, passing by another ant. Writers return to their seats.”
“A stone lion always running his mouth, but forever in one place. This place, with black, iron benches forged with designs of grapes, not of wrath, but of respect for one’s solitude.”. In case someone has submitted a line referencing the lion or the grapes, and you do not wish the collaboration to fall redundant, here is another: “The garden is dressed head to toe in brick, but hidden within a concrete jungle.”
“They are red, purple
Staring up at the sky
waiting to be noticed
Planted to stay
but free to climb
They change the
Of the green landscape.”
“Writers are spread around the garden, surely pleasing Henry’s spirits! At the height of summer, the tress; verdant drapery are at their densest, and earthen aromas of boxwood waft with the breezes. All of this is situated right at the center of the city, and few have any idea this is here, along the busiest street in this state. But on scratch and scribe the writers in Hank’s back yard, scribbling with the seagulls and garden beetles.”– Abraham
(Items from the Library, about the Longfellow Garden!)