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Post-War View of Water Street Augusta, Maine

Today’s featured image is a view taken from Rines Hill looking down Water Street as it passes through the center of Augusta, Maine. The photo was taken in late-1947 or ’48 as the Chevrolet truck on the left hand side of the bridge behind a bus was an “Advanced Design” model introduced in June of that year.

Augusta, must have been a beer drinking town – a Portsmouth Ale billboard is visible on this side of downtown and at the far end of the street a Ballantine Beer sign with its trade mark three rings can be seen above the buildings.

Share with us what you fine of interest in this photograph courtesy of the Maine Memory Network.

22 responses to “Post-War View of Water Street Augusta, Maine

  1. David, thanks for pointing out that Advanced Design Chevy truck. I understand they were first on sale in late June of ’47, which implies there likely ought to be a fair number of ’46 or ’47 cars on this street.
    Down where the cab-over is pulling into Water St. appears to be a postwar Ford with horizontal grille bars…and that may be a postwar Chevy parked crooked at the curb opposite it. The Pontiac seen behind the bus up front is a puzzle…it appears to have a postwar grille and more wraparound bumper, but it has the chrome strip on the side of the hood that was dropped in postwar models.

  2. Beer drinking town because in those days, it was about all you could get. Couldn’t buy a cocktail. Alcohol tightly controlled. It wasn’t until the sixties, I think, that you could buy liquor by the drink in Maine.

  3. Interesting to see an ad for Frank Jones Premium Ale of Portsmouth N.H. on the left side of both photographs shortly before it went out of business in 1950. Back in the 1880’s it was the largest ale manufacturer in the entire country and remained a giant in the business up until prohibition whereupon the company was broken apart. When prohibition ended it went back in business again but only locally in the New England area and didn’t fare too well.

  4. An addendum. Directly below the Frank Jones Ale billboard is the Augusta railway station. Built in 1913 it was the fourth and last major railroad station built in that city, but was demolished back in 1962 despite preservationists’ efforts. According to what I read, the main domed interior offered arched doorways, a waiting room with stained glass windows, and a terrazzo floor. Very impressive I would say!

  5. I read, Maine Central Bus Lines was bought by Greyhound in 1956. I’ll need Gene to determine the type of bus, ( Flxible maybe?)but the one behind it looks like GM TDM 4515. The truck making the corner behind the AD Chevy looks like a late 30’s Chevy cabover.

      • Hi Peter, close, except I can’t find any ACF buses with that grill, split front bumper or air scoops above the windshield. Gene will know.

        • Peter is VERY close, Howard. Looks like a 1940(?) ACF 37PB to me with half the grille blocked off for winter running.

          • Gene and Howard: This is interesting. I think we are both wrong. I look at Old Motor every day and almost never comment because there are clearly some people who really know more about cars than I do. In this case I was interested because I was born about 50 miles from where the picture was taken and lived on Peaks Island in Casco Bay as a child during WWII. So the picture caught my attention. As I looked various pictures of busses and read some background, it quickly became clear it was an ACF-Brill bus. Narrowing it down to sometime around WWII, I was able to find pictures that I thought showed it is a 1941 ACF-Brill 37-P. After the last comment I looked with some detail at the 1941 37-P and the 1940 37-PB and realized the grill is different on both these from the Maine Central bus shown in the picture. Looking carefully, the grill on the Maine Central bus is square, while the 37-P and 37-PB both have grills that are more fan shaped. I now think the Maine Central bus is an ACF-Brill 1938 Model 37-P, with as Gene says, the grill blocked off for winter.

  6. The FRANK JONES Portsmouth Ale was named after a famous Portsmouth individual. Frank Jones owned the Frank Jones Brewery, was a politician on both the local & national fields, a director of the Boston & Maine Railroad, and had a steamboat named after him in 1892, etc.

  7. Does anyone know what that round building in the upper righthand corner is/was.
    Curious shape, church, school? Very old methinks.

  8. A very interesting photo! Thank you David G.
    Surprisingly few new cars there. More like how I remember cities in the ’50s. Maybe it was just even then I liked older cars and looked for them, but I remember seeing lots of ten to twenty year old cars while growing up, and even a few from the ’20s.
    Not just the likely ’33 Ford pickup, a probably year or two older sedan attempting to leave the lane (parking lot?) on our right edge of the photo. It even has an added trunk on the back. Quite a few circa ’35 cars, and most of the cars appear to be late ’30s or early ’40s.
    When I first started looking at the picture, I was beginning to question the given years in the description. Then I spotted that Chevrolet box-van. My folks had several of that series trucks, and I did a lot of my learning to drive in them. I was driving ton-and-a-half versions when I was sixteen.
    A wonderful look back.
    Again, Thank You!

  9. The tower type building is actually the post office. The capital building would be behind the viewer.

    Just an FYI – right next to the capitol building is the State Museum which is a wonderful place to visit
    with an extensive “Made in Maine” exhibit including a 1904-05 Rawnsley made in Spingfield, ME. A fabulous 1909 Burrowes automobile made in Portland ME. and a number of other artifacts including “The Lion” one of the first locomotives in Maine (1846) and a 10 ton Lombard gasoline powered log hauler manufactured in Waterville, ME.

  10. In photo #2 I think from left to right the first three cars are – a 1936 LaFayette, a 1934 Pontiac and a Lincoln Zephyr.

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