Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Conway Corner

Last week thousands drove by this spot on their way to and from the Fryeburg Fair.

With their minds on fried dough and ox pulls most of them probably missed the incredible diversity of the truly Presidential plantings. Don’t worry, this is not a political post. If you look carefully at the scene, you can see a set of granite stone steps that once led to the Presidential Inn, just north across the street from the Conway Public Library.

But it’s the sticks not the stones that we are focusing on here. Over the years, we have led a number of educational walking tours for local schools and adult groups that in part have looked at the historic uses of trees and bushes by Native Americans and early settlers. These trees and bushes provided jams, teas, naval stores, canoes, cordage, carvings, firewood, fence posts, syrups, tonics and elixirs.  

We also explore the history, continuity and change of the built environment as well. Our online database has a number of photos of the Presidential Inn during its heyday.

Thanks to our collection of maps, photos and other archival materials the history of the area can be re-imagined. A particularly interesting resource are our Sanborn Insurance maps that include an incredible amount of detail.

The map's key reveals the secrets seen on the map. For example, the yellow color indicates the building was made of wood.

To the west of the Presidential Inn was the Conway House Hotel. Today, it's a cellar hole in an empty lot.

This is how the 4 corners appeared on an 1896 Bird's Eye View of Conway.

And here is the building from an 1860 map.

The building just west of the Library has been a medical office for many years.

A great resource for understanding this building is a painting on display at the Library.

Now we come full circle to the Library and it's ongoing roof restoration work that will provide many more years protection for this wonderful historic building.

If you would like to learn about the 4 corners, contact us at the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room.

No comments:

Post a Comment