Kennebunk, ME. 1895.
1895 (dated) 17 x 23.5 in (43.18 x 59.69 cm)
This is an extremely rare 1895 George E. Norris bird's-eye view of Kennebunk, Maine – one of Maine's most historic seaside towns. The view is oriented to the west with north to the right. Summer Street appears prominently in the foreground, which transitions to Fletcher as it exits town. Many mansions and stately homes line Summer Street. Most of these mansions of which were constructed for prosperous sea captains and at least 17 of still stand within the Kennebunk historic district and are identifiable on this view.
Kennebunk was settled in 1621. Like many coastal Maine towns, it leveraged the partially navigable Kennebunk River and rich supplies of timber to prosper as a trading, shipbuilding, and shipping center throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries. Also in the 19th century, the nearby Mossam River proved perfect for powering mills, thus attracting manufacturing and industry. When the Boston-Maine Railroad connected to Kennebunk in 1872, – appearing here at the bottom left – the town became a popular resort for affluent summer visitors from Boston and New York.
This view was drawn by George E. Norris of Brockport, Maine. It may have been printed by Lucian Rinaldo Burleigh, like most of Norris's latter views, but his imprint is lacking, so this is mere speculation. This view is rare, with only 2 other examples known, one at the Library of Congress, and a second at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk.
George E. Norris (1855 – 1926) was an American hotelier, publisher, and bird's-eye view artist based in Brockton, Massachusetts during the latter part of the 19th century. Norris began publishing views in partnership with Albert F. Poole, an established view maker who, at the time, was renting a house in Brockton from Norris' mother. His first views, most of which were signed by Poole, were published in 1883. In 1884 Norris partnered with Henry Wellge, publishing out of Brockton as Norris and Wellge, and later out of Milwaukee as Norris, Wellge and Co. Noris began drawing views independently around 1887. Most of these were printed by Lucien Burleigh of Troy New York. In total, Norris produced about 135 individual city views. In 1897 he left the view business to open a hotel, the Hotel Norris, in Brockton. Meeting some success in this field, in acquired the Hotel Grayson, also in Brockton, in 1912. He ran this until his death of cerebral hemorrhage in 1926.
Good. Some minor discoloration, primarily to margins.
OCLC 62722020. Reps, John, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America (University of Missouri, Columbia, 1984), #1217. Library of Congress, Map Division, G3734.K42A3 1895 .N6.