All newspapers and booklets depend on advertising to help pay for the publishing, and they have for many years. I believe that the contents of the newspaper depend upon the amount of advertising sold. This has always been the practice. I like to know what the local stores are selling, but there is another important thing that advertising does. It saves history.
I recently wrote about J.R.Prescott's books, with the wonderful illustrations of summer cottages that he rented and scenery showing the natural beauty of Camden. I was given another beautiful booklet, printed by George W. Morris, Portland, Maine. It is titled Camden by the Sea and Mountains. It was printed in 1899, with very clear photographs of buildings, lakes, harbor and mountains. It is also filled with full pages of great descriptions of our town.
All the advertisements in the back of the booklet, give us history of the stores in town of long ago:
Camden Tailoring Co, managed by R. B. Bucklin, was located on Washington Street, (where you could have a fine business suit made for $10). Later I remember, it was a hardware store, Castro Walsh Sewing Factory, a pizza place and now, I believe it is another restaurant.
In 1942, Ralph Bucklin had a shop near the Post Office and went into the Rexall Drug Store every morning as he walked to work, to have a cherry coke for breakfast.
At the time I thought it was an odd breakfast, but now it I think must have been his “caffeine jump start “ just as most people have coffee. He probably needed it, as he also had his own dance orchestra, and probably played until late hours, but had to open his shop around 8:30 a.m. This book has to say about him:
“The tailoring Company has in short time since its establishment, become an institution in Camden. He not only clothes the backs of men, but insists in wearing out the shoes of both men and women, for when he appears as leader of the well-known ‘Bucklin's Orchestra, all who have feet irresistibly to put them into vigorous use.”
The Mountain View Hotel on Bay View Street was owned by F. O. Martin, later it was Hotel Edwards, and then Camden Harbour Inn. It has been enlarged several times.
French & Brawn has been in the same location on the corner of Elm and Mechanic streets for many years with the same fine reputation for great quality food. In 1899, it was Carleton, Pascal & Company selling groceries, crockery and china and had a lamp department. Ownership has changed many times, known as Carleton, French & Co., and now French & Brawn, owned by Todd Anderson.
The booklet has this to say about the steamer M.& M.,which I had never heard about:
“The steamer M.&M.,which plys between Camden and Bangor, under the command of Captain Bennett, is a great convenience to the traveling public. She is a staunch little craft and was thoroughly overhauled and equipped with new engines about a year ago. It was said at the time that Captain Bennett, who is the sole owner, wasted money by putting into her more powerful engines than were necessary for her size, but his foresight has been amply vindicated by the unfailing regularity at her arrival and departure on schedule time, in spite of wind or weather, until it is said that the housewives at her up-river landings are wont to regulate their clocks by her passing certain points of view from their houses. The hour of her arrival at Camden is shortly after noon and that her departure about one hour later, so that her patrons, other than residents of Camden, can appease their hunger upon the bountiful midday meal served at the Bay View House.”
Where the Town Office is today has been occupied by several businesses, among which were Prince's Furniture Store, Western Auto and even the post Office before our present one was built in 1914. The booklet has this to say about the business first located there:
“Those furnishing cottages at Camden are by no means obliged to send to one of the large cities for anything required in that line, which either taste or comfort may desire. Messrs. Curtis & Spear carry at all times a very large stock of furniture, carpets and house furnishing goods generally. The handsome Store, under the Opera House, gives the corner upon which it is situated quite a metropolitan appearance.”
The Rockland and Vinalhaven Steamboat Co., ran from Tillson's Wharf in Rockland. The steamers Gov. Bodwell and Vinalhaven made alternate trips, touching Hurricane Island, Vinalhaven and Isle au Haut. One of the sights of Vinalhaven was the granite quarries. It was here that the largest block of granite in the world was quarried. Located there also, were the largest packers of dried fish on the Maine Coast; shredded cod was sent to all parts of the world.
In Camden, a glimpse of Penobscot Bay is seen at every turn. At this time Columbus Buswell had a carriage road to his Summit House on top of Mt. Battie. Twenty-seven lighthouses could be seen from there. The top of Mount Battie and the Summit House were purchased by some summer residents. They remodeled the Summit House and it became the Mt. Battie House, used for a hotel. After a few years, they found it was not profitable and tore it down. Many of the rocks around the foundation were used to build the Tower, designed by Parker Morse Hooper as a memorial to the veterans in World War I.
This is only a sample of the information of Camden about 120 years ago.
Barbara F. Dyer has lived in Camden all of her life, so far.
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