Walking tour of Kennebunkport Village in 1901

My favorite photographic collections at the Kennebunkport Historical Society are the ones that include pictures from all over Kennebunkport taken around the same time. This collection transports us to Kennebunkport Village in 1901.

Let’s follow the year-old trolley tracks into Dock Square, (picture #1) past the equine iron drinking fountain. The street approaching the bridge feels grand to old-timers. It was widened by six feet in 1897 when the new swivel bridge was installed.

Watch out for the bicycle rider in front of Norton’s Confectionary! (Picture #2) The first Norton House hotel and restaurant burned to the ground eight years ago. Reuel W. Norton built this Norton House the following year in the same location. Here he advertises, “The best cigars that money can buy. “Fruit, confectionaries, ice cream, and sodas are served at an elegant soda fountain. Dainty tables line the riverside porch connected to an expanded canoe landing.”

One can just get a glimpse of David Clark’s shipyard behind the Village and Spouting Rock Carriage ready to transport tourists from Dock Square to Cape Arundel. (picture #3).

From our perch atop South Congregational Church Steeple (picture #4) we look over Burleigh S. Thompson’s Stable wharf to see Fred Tuck’s brand-new Colonial Inn standing alone near the bridge still without its iconic red tower. Tuck wouldn’t build Welch’s dry goods store next door until 1904. Coal sheds in Lower Village, at Perkins Wharf, and at Arundel Wharf can be seen in the background.

Back on solid ground we can see that Maine Street is still unpaved. (picture #5) Notice the steeple of the old Methodist Church rising above the treetops beyond the Smith Bradbury House. Let’s get a closer look.

The Methodist Church (picture #6) is situated between Mill Floss (that would become Mast Cove Gallery) and the District of Kennebunk Customs House.

The Customs House wasn’t doing much business in 1901 (picture #7) but it was still located in the brick building on Maine Street that now houses The Louis T. Graves Library.

Time to hurry back to the shipyard near South Congregational Church. (picture #8) The 188 ft Schooner Savannah, the last vessel built by David Clark, is almost ready to launch on this day in early October 1901. She will be commanded by part owner, Captain William H. Gould. Captain John W. Deering and George Parsons also own shares of the schooner. Miss Louise Parsons will christen her. Once launched, she will be towed to Portland to be rigged. Her first voyage will be to Savannah Georgia to pick up a load of lumber for part-owner, John W. Deering.

Picture #9 is a Sanborn Insurance Map of our 1901 walking Tour.

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