4th of July in Stonington in 1968 was a grand affair, complete with majorettes. PHOTO BY WILLIAM K. PAGE COURTESY OF KINGMAN GALLERY

Photographer Bill Page’s images bring alive another time

DEER ISLE — When Tinker Crouch was a teenager, she went to dances held every Saturday night at the Legion Hall in Deer Isle. She remembers waltzing, doing the foxtrot and an Irish reel called Lady of the Lake.

“Everybody went, from 12-year-olds to grandparents,” said Crouch, who was then a Gross. “Skinner Williams was constable. He was huge. There was plenty of alcohol being shared out in the parking lot, but anyone who was too drunk to come in didn’t get in.”

Using one of his Nikons, the late Bill Page captured the Legion Hall dances and other aspects of island life decades ago. Men dressed up in shirts and ties swirling with their smartly turned out partners to the tunes of the Merry Mariners is among the images in “Mid-Century Deer Isle, Images 1950 to 1970” at Kingman Gallery. The show runs through July 1.

Page captured all parts of island life from recreation to work, including this 1963 scene at Billings shipyard.

The first show of the season, the images highlighted are for sale, but those that don’t sell will remain on view at the gallery located at 117 Center District Crossroad.

Bill’s daughter, Anne, founded the gallery that showcases Maine fine art photography. She says her father’s images will bring back fond memories for local residents, but they also serve as a window into another time.

“I think it will be great fun for locals to reminisce but also will give newcomers a sense of what island life was like 60 years ago,” she said. “They are wonderful scenes of a bygone era.”

From New Jersey, Bill spent summers on Deer Isle. In the off-season, he directed the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey. The institute has many treatment and care centers that provide medical, social, psychological and vocational services for those suffering physical impairment from a congenital condition, accident or disease.

Come summer, far away from work, Bill delighted in documenting everyday goings-on in Deer Isle.

He was a “good photographer and a curious man,” his daughter said. “My father would often carry two cameras, both 35 mm Nikons, one for color slides, one for black-and-white prints.”

Bill shot parades, landscapes, portraits and people at work: seining, herding sheep and cutting giant granite slabs.

“He loved this island,” Anne said. “The people on the island loved my father and my mother [Alice].”

In one shot, scores of hair-netted women are deftly canning sardines working on the assembly line at the Stonington Packing Co. on Seabreeze Avenue in Stonington.

Canning sardines in 1959 was women’s work at the former Stonington Packing Co. on Seabreeze Avenue.

“If you’re over 65 on this island, there’s not a chance that you didn’t work in this cannery,” Anne said.

There’s also a 1968 color image of Stonington’s Main Street where crowds watch the town’s marching band and majorettes strut down toward the waterfront.

John Farrell, who had a photo shop in Deer Isle village, would process and print Page’s black and white photos. Page would send his rolls of color film to Kodak.

The Kingman Gallery, which is in its fifth season, only shows the work of professional Maine photographers. These artists create well-composed images, which are “beautifully printed” and framed.

Belfast fine art photographer Lynn Karlin is among the artists whose work is regularly featured at Kingman Gallery

Karlin’s credentials include photographing the images for three award-winning gardening and lifestyle books. Karlin is also the creator of the popular “The Pedestal Series” in which farmers market vegetables are arranged on pedestals to show their vibrant colors and sculptural beauty.

From July 3 through Aug. 5, Kingman Gallery will highlight Gaylen Morgan’s seascapes of Morgan Bay in East Blue Hill.

An exhibit of Terrell Lester’s photographs of the American West, Mexico and unseen images of Maine is slated for Aug. 7-Oct. 8. Gallery hours are: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more info, call (207) 712-7014, email [email protected] and visit www.kingmangallery.com.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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