1909 Bangor Pocket Guide Showcases Day To Day Life 100 Years Ago
It's funny....no matter how much time passes in any given location, the need for civic information never really changes. People always need to know where things are, what time they open and close, etc. And 100 years ago this was no different, but there was no internet to just quickly look things up on to make sure you're headed where you need to go.
I was looking at the Digital Common area of the Bangor Public Library's website, and was quickly fascinated by the 1909 Bangor Pocket Guide. From what I can tell, it was a booklet you could get that would share literally tons of relevant information about anything from all the train schedules, to finding yourself a dentist, or a family doctor.
It also had all the current fish and game laws, where hospitals and churches were located. Even locations and collection times of mailboxes! Basically, it's everything you would, in this day and age, find in two seconds with a few flips of your fingers on your smartphone screen. As opposed to back then, when phone numbers only had three digits!
If you were to download the Guide and peek through, on page 15, you'll find and ad for a "Trance Medium"...in other words, someone to tell you your future. Psychics were a big deal then too, I guess. On page 27, there's an ad for Scott & Co, Bangor's only fresh coffee roaster, where it set you back a whopping $.18 - $.35 a pound! Sounds cheap, but keep in mind, the average hourly wage in 1909 was $.22 / hr, totaling a solid $450 a year!
On page 22 I discovered a long distance phone call to Boston from Bangor was $1.25 for three minutes!
Again, considering the pay scale, one three minute call to Boston was half a day's pay! But the Guide also listed tons of other necessary info...where you could find cemeteries, public fountains, Vaudville houses, corset stores.....
Sure maybe there's a few things on their "must have" list that's not on ours anymore. I don't see women flocking downtown to get in line at the corset shop, but I still see folks getting coffee, going to the theater, going out to eat, all that stuff still happens today, all the time.
But you know how the old saying goes.....sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.