Bayside historic photo negatives transferred to Penobscot Marine Museum

Jan 18, 2013

The Bayside Historical Preservation Society has transfered ownership of its collection of Eastern Illustrating glass plate negatives of Bayside to the Penobscot Marine Museum. The idea grew out of this past summer's collaboration between Bayside Historical Preservation Society and the Penobscot Marine Museum for their exhibit about Summer Folk on Penobscot Bay. The museum's website and easily searchable online database allows the visitor to view the entire photographic collection of the Museum. These images of Bayside, which are so evocative of an earlier time, will be scanned and added to the database over the winter and spring.

The collection originally came from Janet Collett Pattee who first came to Bayside as a six-month old baby in 1919. Her father, Eugene Collett, also visited Bayside as an infant. Eugene Collett's father Job Collett built the family's first home at the top of Ruggles Park in the 1860s. Two of his friends also built cottages forming the three-some on Broadway between Main and Griffin streets.

Janet's daughter, Penny Matthew, recalls the family story "that Job and two friends had the 'parts' of the cottages sent on a boat from Bangor. Then put them together in Bayside."

As Janet herself recalled in an oral history taken by Gina Cressey in 1997, "[my grandfather] was about 27 when he came... and then my father came when he was three months old, and I came at six months, my daughter at six months and then my granddaughters came when one was nine months and one was two months. Now there is a little great-grandson coming and he will be almost two. There's just been a tradition in the family that this was always the place to go in the summer, and in the earlier days we all came and spent the entire summer."

"Then as I was growing up, I had house parties down here, and we'd go skating up on the reservoir, and the big thing, walk to Belfast to the movies. It seems to me that there were all sorts of this to do. There might be eight or ten of us, and usually our scout mistress — Lowell Parker's wife's sister — they'd come down [from Brewer], she and her husband [would chaperon]."

The Preservation Society will receive from the Penobscot Marine Museum archival prints of these negatives. These photographs will be used to augment displays in the cottage museum, Shady Grove, and at the Community Hall.

Penobscot Marine Museum photography archivist Kevin Johnson was absolutely thrilled with the arrival of the "new" negatives last month.

"I have become obsessed with reuniting the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Co." says Johnson, "and this group of Bayside negatives is a major step in that direction."

The negatives will be scanned and added to the museum's online database in the coming months and will soon be available to anyone with access to the internet.

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