“Railroad Bridge, Augusta,” Aug. 28, 1898. The rail lines from Portland to Augusta were completed in 1852. This view of the old Augusta railroad bridge just above the dam was taken the same day Herman Bryant took the photographs of the muster at Camp Powers. Looking upriver, this photograph shows the cotton mill at left and a log boom in the foreground. A new railroad bridge was built in 1914, and all that remains of this bridge today are the piers. Submitted photo

MANCHESTER — The Kennebec Historical Society plans to hold its September presentation, “Around the Kennebec Valley: The Herman Bryant Collection,” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at Hope Baptist Church at 726 Western Ave.

Author Gay M. Grant of South Gardiner will speak.

Fans of Grant’s book “Along the Kennebec: The Herman Bryant Collection” can see more than 200 newly released images taken by South Gardiner photographer Herman Bryant (1858–1937). Now part of the collections of the Maine State Museum, Bryant’s work documents late 19th- and early-20th-century life in the Kennebec River region during its industrial heyday, according to a news release from the society, based in Augusta.

New information about Bryant and his family reveals stories about the people and places captured in his photographs. From Augusta downriver to Bath and the coastal islands, Bryant’s lens captured the mills, factories, ice houses and other ventures that once lined the river’s banks.

Vessels of all types that once made the river the artery of the region’s life and economy can be seen, along with images of the railroads that revolutionized travel. Bryant’s portraits, photographs of homes, and even images of pets bring to life the industrious Maine people who built thriving communities.

Cay M. Grant Submitted photo

Grant is the author of three books. From 2005 to 2022 she owned The Write Way, a writing, grant-writing, and editing consulting firm specializing in nonprofit development. Grant also served in the Maine House of Representatives from 2012 to 2018.


She is chairwoman of the Maine Governmental Facilities Authority and a member of the Maine State Museum Commission and the Statehouse and Capital Park Commission. She also chairs the Cobbossee Corridor Trail Committee for the city of Gardiner.

The presentation is free to the public with donations accepted. The program will be preceded at 5 p.m. by a potluck supper and at 6 p.m. by the society’s annual meeting and election of directors.

For details about the potluck supper, contact Anne Cough at [email protected] or 207-582-2823.

Any questions about the presentation should be directed to KHS Executive Director Scott Wood at 207-622-7718.


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