In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Early Maine Photography

Landscape Photography

Early outdoor photographs are well-represented in the Vickery-Shettleworth Collection. A tintype of a panoramic view of Round Pond by a photographer named Goodwin shows the fishing fleet in the harbor with the village beyond. More site specific are five images that document downtown commercial buildings: the Webber and Porter Building on Main Street in Searsport, the Connor and Hathorn Building on Main Street in Pittsfield, the Stoddard House Hotel in Farmington, the Fiske Store in North Waterford, and the Lufkin and Noyes Building in West Falmouth. Local industries are depicted in an ambrotype of a large saw mill in Monmouth and a tintype of a tannery in East Bradford.

Maine’s rich architectural heritage is reflected in a daguerreotype of York’s First Parish Congregational Church of 1747 accompanied by the Bulman House. Another landmark church appears in an ambrotype of the stately Federal style Unitarian-Universalist Church of 1831-32 in Castine.

The Vickery-Shettleworth Collection includes images of four major Federal Period houses, the Foster House, built in 1800 in East Machias, the Perkins-Witherle House in Castine, the McCobb House of 1806 in Phippsburg (now the Spite House in Rockport), and the Bourne House of 1825 in Kennebunk, now known as the Wedding Cake House.

In 1855 shipbuilder George W. Bourne decided to remodel the exterior of his brick Federal style house by adding a fanciful overlay of wooden Gothic Revival carving inspired by the Cathedral of Milan. When the first of two daguerreotypes were taken, the ell and the barn had already sprouted medieval pinnacles, and the house was awaiting a similar treatment. As soon as the decoration was applied to his home, Bourne had a companion daguerreotype made to show the results of his work, thus creating a before and after pair of images.

In the rural development of Maine before the Civil War, the Greek Revival cape style house enjoyed widespread popularity. Two examples are found in an ambrotype of the William Barnes Alexander House in North Harpswell and in a tintype of the Cyrus Buck House in West Enfield. With its fine trim and side porch, the Alexander House stands in contrast to the stark simplicity of the brick Buck House.

Landscape Photography Slideshow
Landscape Photography SlideshowClick on image for full slideshow

Dotting the landscape of mid-nineteenth century Maine were large new barns, such as the one under construction in this circa 1860-70 tintype, which reflected the changing building technology and changing agricultural practices of the period. While exhibiting traditional braced frame construction with a rafter-purlin roof, the framing members are circular sawed, as are the piles of boards in the background waiting to sheath the building. From a cost standpoint, circular sawed lumber made possible the large barns required by the emerging dairy industry in the post-Civil War period.