The big history news in town right now is the publication of this wonderful, detailed history of Fort Halifax by Professor Dan Tortora of Colby College. The product of over 2,000 hours of research and assistance by Winslow residents, it is a true gift to locals and anyone interested in Fort Halifax and colonial forts in general.
Available for purchase in paper and digital formats on Amazon HERE.
I believe Prof. Tortora said it's also available at Bull Moose Music locally.
A couple of new developments. First, I have reorganized the first 100 scanned images into a categorical format. You will now find a landing-point Photographs page with links to various albums arranged by topic. Right now, the sub-pages are also visible in the drop-down menu, but I'm not sure whether to continue that approach, especially if the list of categories grows to a cumbersome length. However, I am finding that, back when photography was more challenging and more expensive, people tended to takes pictures of a limited number of categories. Floods were very popular subjects. I myself have a strange compulsion to whip out my iPhone when the river is roaring and take pictures that never quite seem to capture the awe-inspiring force of the Kennebec in flood. Schools, teams, class pictures, and major construction projects are also popular topics.
I am having to recreate all the captions, so many of the photos don't have them yet. The captions consist of little more than the file number I am assigning to images as I scan them and transfer them to correspondingly numbered acid-free folders, and a few words describing the image content so I can quickly sense what's in them when looking at huge lists of jpegs on the computer file directory. It will, for now, be beyond the scope of the captions, and my abilities, to develop extensive histories or descriptions for each photo. Hopefully, interested and knowledgeable individuals will, over time, be drawn to the site and the effort and participate in research and investigation of some of the images. Perhaps school classes, with the assistance of the many grants available from Maine Historical Society for such projects, may take on the challenge. Many of the images, with proper documentation, are wonderful for submission to the Maine Memory Network, where, I remind you, we have catalogued and submitted 37 images that are online.
Secondly, I have finally begun scanning in earnest again. I've scanned about 30 images in the past two days and hope to continue spending a little time each evening (from 30 minutes to an hour) digitizing a few more images. The original scans, which are being archived to DVD-Rs, are TIFF files of 40mb file size on average - per MMN guidelines. What you see on this site are compressed JPEGs of around 1mb each. The images on MMN are JPEGs, but are probably about 6-7mb files with much higher resolution than this site.
In the weeks ahead, I will begin uploading some of the new 2013 scans to this site. Stand by. There's some very interesting stuff, beginning with images of Bay Street in the 1920s and the relocation of the Sebasticook auto bridge in 1959, kindly contributed by Mr. Jean Roy. Here's a teaser:
While our highest resolution photographs, with the most documentation, are hosted on the Maine Memory Network, an unbeatable searchable database on historic Maine images and documents, we have a great many materials and resources that are not fit for the format or requirements of the MMN site. Yet, many are still of value and interest, even if we have no documentation about them. Also, I hope that if they are posted online, those with information or knowledge will be inspired to contact me, or Jack Nivison, so that we can obtain and preserve that information.
Thus, I longed for a way to host a Town history website locally, with complete freedom to post on it whatever we saw fit (which is likely to be everything we can get our hands on. This Weebly site was originally intended to be a temporary way of posting the first 100 scanned images so that committee members could view them and chime in if they knew information about them, or if they wanted to take on the task of researching and documenting any images.
During 2012, I was waiting for the development of the new Town of Winslow website. The hosting of the site was to be moved to servers, shared I believe with Waterville. It was also to feature a new interactive interface, allowing department personnel to update and edit the site. So I waited to see what it would be like before further developing Winslow History's online presence. I was given access and a short introduction by our librarian, Pam Bonney, a few months ago. Only this week did I finally get enough free time to check it out.
The first obstacle was that Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox was required to get the full functionality of the editing interface. I just purchased a refurbished MacBook with a one terabyte hard drive to, amongst other things, facilitate my interest in the scanning of Winslow's old photographs. So IE was out, and I downloaded Firefox. Well, the site development tools seemed a bit limited for my full intentions, and frankly, Weebly has a lot more features and ability to post photos and documents in various ways, do multiple images uploads, and create albums, hyperlinks, connections to social media, and many more tricks. It also has very robust technical support and user forums.
For all these reasons, I have decided to keep the hosting on Weebly. Having finally arrived at that decision, I can move ahead with further development of the site, uploading of information, etc. Today I uploaded survey plans and documents I'd had sitting on my hard drive for a long time. I am excited to continue with more photographs soon. Those I intend to start organizing by topic. Watch for many more additions in upcoming months. And soon, perhaps, we'll have a little meeting at the library to highlight what's been accomplished, talk about goals, and identify people interested in helping out with goals.
How can you direct $5,000 of a bank's money to a local historical project? Easy.
Bangor Savings Bank's annual Community Matters More competition is currently under way. For five minutes of your time you can help bring up to $5,000 to Winslow to help develop historical resources for locals and tourists at Fort Halifax Park.
The online ballot is accessible here:
The project is the first one on the list under the Central Region. Vote for "Arnold Expedition Historical Society - Fort Halifax Park Project".
View the Fort Halifax Park Master Plan to see what the money will help with.
No, we haven't fallen off the face of the Earth. We have fulfilled the grant from Maine Historical Society and currently have 37 items online at Maine Memory Network. Over the summer, we've been on a bit of a hiatus. There is much to do and enjoy outdoors during the Maine summer. Expect to see more scans going online once the cold days of fall and winter shut down kayaking and end lawn mowing obligations.
In other news, individuals from other places have contacted us occasionally for information or to make contributions of historical materials. And we have had some talks with representatives of the Waterville Historical Society about avenues for digitization of their records.
At last our hard work is paying off and our first submissions to Maine Memory Network are coming online. We now have five images online and many more are to come. You can view them here.
Today, I have been scanning more images. I'm up to number 61. Once I remember how to use the software after a bit of a hiatus, I am able to scan, name, and file about one image every 4.5 minutes. As you can see, I also added a blog feature here for news and announcements like this.
Also, added some links to books and materials I have so far identified that pertain to Winslow and Kennebec River History.
I met with Jack Nivison last week and we discussed the digitization project, Maine Memory Network, and reviewed the voluminous and impressive histories Jack has compiled. He has a lot of knowledge of the subject matter of the photos being scanned and will be helping with the MMN cataloging process. We plan to scan his histories and get them online.
Our first meeting of the year is scheduled for Monday, February 6, from 6 PM to 8 PM at the Winslow Public Library. For the meeting, I hope as many of you as possible can come, and especially anyone with time to help, and also any of the school librarians and teachers in the history, social studies, or other relevant departments. Even if the teachers do not have time (I'd think not - my wfe teaches - I know) they might like to hear what is happening and where we're headed and offer suggestions.
Tell friends and/or bring them along.
An RSVP either way would be helpful so I have an idea who is and is not coming.
I have set a meeting on Monday, February 6, from 6 PM to 8 PM at the Winslow Public Library, to discuss the current status of the image digitization project and to enlist the help of interested persons to research and catalog images for display on the Maine Historical Society's Maine Memory Network. I will describe the submission process and the various opportunities for participation, which range from very limited to very expansive, depending on each person's level of interest and time availability.
If conversation leads us in that direction, we may also discuss the past, present, and future objectives of the Historical Committee.