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Maritime Month Series: “A Visual History of Camden Harbor” Zoom Event With Ken Gross

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 @ 6:00 pm 7:00 pm

“The Library’s Maritime Month comes at just the right time,” said one old salt, “right after ski season but before varnishing season.”

For Maritime Month in April, 2021, the Library will again host a series of speakers and slide talks in the online Zoom format, as well as a “virtual gallery” of vintage photographs from the library’s Walsh History Center Collection.
Click here to view the gallery.

Ken Gross, director of the History Center at the library, will give a slide talk derived from the library’s collection. The presentation, “A Visual History of Camden Harbor,” will employ the earliest charts available as well as photographs from the earliest days of photography, showing the sequence of changes to Camden Harbor as it accommodated the evolving series of industries in Camden. Click below to watch the recording from April 6.

From fishing to shipbuilding, from lime burning to anchor building, the harbor was an essential resource to the economics of Camden, from colonial days to the present. The harbor was always an entry ramp to the freeway of the day — the high seas. With a boat it was easier to get to all of the islands in Penobscot Bay than it was to take a wagon to Hope; and a boat holds a lot more cargo, whether it was fish, firewood, salt, limestone, granite, lumber, or bushels of corn.


Maritime Month is generously supported by Camden Riverhouse Hotel & Inn.


The British published an exquisite series of charts (the monumental Atlantic Neptune series) on the eve of the American Revolution in 1776. The officer in charge of the survey flotilla was Lt. Henry Mowatt — yes, the very same Henry Mowatt who burned Portland to the ground in 1775 and successfully defended Castine from American attack in 1779. He knew Penobscot Bay as well as any local sailor.

Real photo postcard shows east side of Camden Harbor, Sea Street, and Sherman’s Point. Photo taken from an elevated location, presumably steeple of Baptist Street Church. A ship’s skeleton is on the ways at the Bean Shipyard. The Eastern Steamboat Wharf possesses its architectural turrets, which indicates the the photo dates before 1924 when the original wharf burnt. Several people stand on the edge of the pier in the lower left corner of the photo. Small sailboats occupy the harbor. (From the Barbara Dyer Postcard Collection.)

The steamers SouthportWestport, and Minehola (Mineola) picking up passengers in Camden in 1913. The three steamers are part of the Eastern Steamship Company.
55 Main Street
Camden, ME 04843 United States
207-236-3440