I am always intrigued when I find new artifacts (digital or physical) relating to the history of our home, the Francis Waldo – Daniel Dole house in Stroudwater, Portland, Maine. A wealth of information can be found in old photos of historic properties, providing the historic investigator with detailed information about the aesthetic trends of the time, architectural changes to a property, landscape design (or lack thereof), family life, etc. In 1924, the city of Portland took a photograph of all properties as part of a citywide assessment that ultimately encompassed more than 30,000 homes, businesses, etc. One of the properties I was thrilled to find had been photographed is of our beloved house:
Compare this photo with one taken in 2009 by Christy Ellingsworth:
Some of the fascinating aspects of the older photograph that contrast with the newer one include:
- the landscaping change from trees to yew bushes;
- the first floor windows in the older photo have six-over-six windows, second floor has twelve-over-twelve (all of the windows were eventually restored with the original twelve-over-twelve – glass was much more expensive in the past);
- the old barn and hen house is visible in the old photo (they were removed some time ago and replaced with a house and a new hen house)
- the canted bay window on the southwest first floor, which has been replaced with standard single hung windows;
- of note in the old photo are two adults, three children and two dogs, in what appears to be winter, based on the snow on the ground and lack of leaves.
Finding old photographs of something you appreciate is like receiving a gift from the past. I have found some other old photographs of the house, and they have always opened up further speculation and curiosity on how the previous residents lived their lives. I have happily accepted it as a purpose in my life to learn more about, and share with others, the interesting facets of the lives lived in this house.
Some other old-timey photographs I have found:
Interesting details in this photo include the numerous trees, the fence along the west side of the house, and the small enclosed entrance on the west side. The visible windows on this side of the house also appear to have six-over-six sashes.
The old barn is very prominent in this photo:
If you just happen to have any old photos of the Francis Waldo – Daniel Dole house, please send them to me!