Bird’s Eye View of the City of Bangor Penobscot County, Maine. 1875. Augustus Koch, artist.

Bird’s Eye View of the City of Bangor Penobscot County, Maine. 1875.

Chicago: Published by J.J. Stoner, 1875. Charles Shober & Co., Prop’s Chicago Lith. Co. Tinted lithograph, 24.875” x 30.25” plus margins.

A lovely example of this scarce Maine bird’s eye view, one of the largest and most interesting of any Maine town and similar in format and scale to Bird’s Eye View of the City of Portland, Maine, produced by the same publisher and lithographer the following year (1876).

This expansive and lively view of Bangor shows the city from the south situated on the western side of the Penobscot River, with a portion of the town of Brewer on the eastern side. Both the river and the city streets are depicted as scenes of great activity. Bangor was the leading lumber port in the world in the 1870s and its chief industry is on full display here. A multitude of log rafts can be seen along the waterfront at the center right, with many more logs stacked on wharves on both the Bangor and Brewer sides. Further down-river numerous ships are huddled along the shore or moving along, including the well-known steamers Katahdin and City of Richmond. Other ships can be seen docked along Kenduskeag Stream, which flows into the river on the left, with various mills and other signs of the lumber industry further upstream. The city streets are busy with people walking, on horseback, and driving horse-drawn carriages and carts. A plethora of buildings are meticulously represented, both in town and on the outskirts. A key at the bottom identifies fifty-seven public and commercial buildings.

Bird’s eye view publisher Joseph John Stoner (1829–1917), a native of Highspire, Pennsylvania, was apprenticed to a chair-ornamenter in Harrisburg, before migrating to Cincinnati, where he worked as a map and book agent in the 1860s. By 1865 Stoner had resettled in Madison Wisconsin, eventually becoming a sales agent for city view artist Albert Ruger, with whom he formed a partnership, Ruger & Stoner, in 1869. Stoner worked both in partnership with Ruger and independently into the 1890s, publishing at least 314 views with his imprint on them, and likely a good many lacking his imprint as well, making him one of the most prolific town and city view publishers of the 19th century.

Charles Shober (ca. 1820–1906) was born in Germany, immigrated to America, and is known to have been working as a lithographer with Charles Reen in Philadelphia by 1856. The two moved to Chicago in 1857 and established the firm of Reen & Shober, but soon thereafter Shober entered into partnership with August Roth. The company, operating as Charles Shober and later Charles Shober & Co., produced some of the finest lithography in Chicago, specializing in advertising posters and sheet-music covers until their building was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Afterwards, Shober and Edward Carqueville assumed management of the rebuilt Chicago Lithographic Company, operating as Chicago Lithographing Company, Shober & Company, Proprietors until 1877, when the firm became known as Shober & Carqueville. Specializing in advertising posters and trade cards, the company also became one of the leading producers of circus and theatrical posters in the country and was the largest lithographic firm in Chicago for the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

A scarce and very appealing view, showing Bangor in its heyday as a lumber port, when it came to be known as “the Queen City of the east.”

REFERENCES: Reps 1178; Podmaniczky, Christine B. and Earle Shettleworth. Through a Bird’s Eye: Nineteenth-Century Views of Maine, p. 34; Last, Jay. The Color Explosion : Nineteenth-Century American Lithography (Santa Ana, CA, 2005), pp. 146-47.

CONDITION: Good, small repaired tear just into image at center-top, light stains to margins.

Item #6393


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