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?
The weather outside today may not be quite as frightful as in this image, there are a few visual hints that reveal the location as Commercial Street. Taken in 1956 by a Portland Press Herald photographer, here is a snow-caked Canadian National train. In the background, at right, a section of the Grand Trunk Railroad grain conveyor is visible.
In our continuing series of cultural snapshots of Portland’s colorful history, this week offers a few archival images that accentuate the presence of Scandinavians here in the city. For centuries, there have been communities of Norwegians, Danes, and Swedes in the Portland area- settling here in Maine from northern Europe. The following photographs, from the Portland Press Herald Still-Film Negative Collection, which is now part of the Portland Public Library Archives, demonstrate some of the Scandinavian traditions and institutions that continue today. The archival collection is in-process, though here are a few discoveries.
This image is from 1960, with a great example of traditional Scandinavian dress.
Portland’s Bayside was the early center of Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish communities. There were churches on Mayo Street (Saint Ansgar), Elm Street (First Lutheran), and Wilmot Street (Scandinavian Baptist), in close proximity and maintaining their native languages. Here is a wedding in 1937.
From 1953, with Danish Christmas cookies forming a tower- called Kransekaker.
Portland’s famous Nissen Bakery (at left) on Washington Avenue, in its 90-year presence on Munjoy Hill, was founded in 1900 by Jürgen Jepsen Nissen- who immigrated from Denmark.