The title of this posting may be familiar to those with a copy of this small 6″ x 4.25″ promotional booklet published by the B&SR. For those not so, let’s delve into this interesting period piece for a moment.
Back in the day, before the Internet, television or the radio, at the dawn of telephone usage, advertisements were conveyed by word of mouth and print. While Bridgton’s local newspaper was distributed in small quantities to the big city of Portland, the B&SR wanted a longer arm, with ample advertisement space not available in a newspaper to draw business. Bridgton itself, the fairly well known summer get-away, was used as the main attraction to draw passengers.
Through whose marketing genius the booklets came about is not known, but from a historical perspective, I’m grateful the idea came to fruition. Several of the photos contained within have been reprinted (citing Jones’ “2 Feet…” only: pg 58 top, pg 66 top, all photos on pgs 92 & 93 except BR postcard, and pg 214 top). It is the latter of these images (Jones, pg 214, top) that prompted me to date this little book.
Although the reprint is much darker than that contained in the booklet, it can be noticed that the Grange Hall is absent from the background. The two story hall can be plainly seen in the photograph at the bottom of the same page, taken years later. As noted in an earlier posting, this building was built in 1902, and to be more specific, was opened on June 6th, 1902 with a social dance. Construction started at the very end of March, the same year.
Based upon this and other photos within the booklet, it can was assumed that during 1901 and very early 1902 photographs of the region were taken and compiled into a small booklet which came to be known simply as “The Bridgton.” Within the last week I was able to complete my review of the Bridgton News archives for 1902 and on April 11th an article appeared prompting all those who have an interest in obtaining a copy of “The very pretty little booklet of ‘The Bridgton,’ just issue last year by the Bridgton Railroad…” to stop by the News building for one, they having obtained many copies from the Railroad.
Although it is not known if the copy in my collection is an original from the first printing, or from a subsequent reprint, it is assumed to be an early version, as evidenced by its basic construction in comparison to the more embellished copy of later printing from Terry Smith’s personal collection. Regardless, those who have a copy within their collection or those referencing the images cited within Jones above can make note that those photographs were taken in 1901 or shortly before and the information used accordingly within your own research or modeling.