The Brick Store Museum is proud to announce the publication of a new book using vintage postcards in the Museum Archives to explore the changing landscape in this town in the 20th Century. “The Kennebunks in Vintage Postcards,” published by Arcadia Publishing this month, features 183 postcards from the museum’s collection. The book can be purchased for $21.99 at the Museum’s Store, called the Mercantile, at 117 Main Street in Kennebunk, or online here.
Kennebunk’s proximity to three large bodies of water—the Kennebunk River, the Mousam River, and the Atlantic Ocean—fueled its development over thousands of years. Kennebunk’s waterways were home to Wabanaki hunters, settlement farmers, early lumber mills, and a booming shipbuilding business. The Maine coast soon brought tourists to Kennebunk and its beaches. By the 1930s, Kennebunk Beach and its surrounding area contained several hotels and beach cottages. Sites like the Wedding Cake House, Kennebunk Beach, Main Street, and Blowing Cave quickly reached new heights as well-known landmarks. Postcards played a part in fueling the powerhouse tourist industry that remains active to this day.
With captions written by Museum staff members Leanne Hayden and Cynthia Walker, with research assistance provided by Museum volunteer Bruce Jackson, the book explores Kennebunk’s 20th century history with images from around town. Some are recognizable, while others are visions of past structures and landscapes that no longer exist. The book is dedicated to former Kennebunk Town Historian and Museum Trustee Stephen P. Spofford, who passed away unexpectedly last year before the book was written. He was planning to help compile the book.
The 128-page paperback book surveys Kennebunk’s downtown, beaches, amusements, and rarities using postcard images found in the Museum’s collection. Books can be ordered via the Museum Mercantile for curbside pick-up or ship-to-home. The Museum is now open to the public, with its Museum Mercantile relocated to a larger space to encourage physical distancing and healthy visits to the Museum.