Evan H. Gerrish's canoe shops in Bangor, Maine

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by Benson Gray, May 18, 2017.

  1. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    It had always surprised me that Evan H. Gerrish had been able to jump from the woods near Moosehead lake directly to a prime commercial address in the heart of downtown Bangor, Maine in the early 1880s. However, this location was well covered by the Sanborn Insurance maps so they can provide some insights into how his business changed over the years.


    His first Maine Register listing was in 1881 under the "Fishing Tackle" heading as "GERRISH E. H., 18 Broad. Manufacturer Fine Rods, Canvas Canoes, Paddles &c." His heading had been expanded to "Fishing Tackle and Canoe Manfr." in the 1884 edition. The Sanborn Insurance map from this year shows a three story building at 16 to 22 Broad Street and identifies it as being used as a "Sail Loft, Ship Stores & Chandl'y" with three attached buildings used as offices, slate and coal storage. Another search through the 1884 Maine Register shows a broad variety of businesses sharing that building as described below.


    Ship Brokers: Cram Gilman, Broad.
    Coal: Hincks & Co., 20 and 22 Broad.
    Contractors, Railroad and Telegraph: Barnes & Snow, 20 Broad.
    Fishing Tackle and Canoe Manufacturer: E. H. Gerrish, 18 Broad.
    Hay and Straw / Lumber, Commission: Cram Gilman & Co., 18 Broad.
    Horse Dealers / Carriages: G. W. & W. L. Whitney, 20 Broad.
    Lumber, Commission: Issac M. Bragg, 18 Broad.
    Sail Makers: Berry & Smith, Broad.
    Slate: H. A. Merrill, 20 Broad.
    Ship Stores and Chandlery: Hincks & Nealley, 20 and 22 Broad.
    Wood and Charcoal: Charles L. Snow, 20 Broad.

    Bangor_1889_Sanborn.jpg Bangor_1895_Sanborn-canoe.jpg

    The Maine Register and Sanborn map from 1889 shows that Gerrish had moved several blocks to the second floor of a building on the corner of Exchange and Hancock Streets where he was over a saloon and a dining room. He had vacated that space by 1895 and moved up Hancock Street to the first floor of a building that he shared with a blacksmith in the basement and storage on the second floor.


    The 1901 map shows that this shop had become part of a boot factory and he had moved back down to the second floor over the saloon on the corner of Hancock and Exchange streets. This map also shows that he had a competitor on the third floor of an office building at 104 Exchange Street named C. B. Thatcher.


    The 1906 map shows that the saloon on the first floor had been replaced by a barber, a Chinese laundry, and some offices but he was simply identified as a carpenter on the second floor. Both his building and Thatcher's across the street were now flagged as high fire risks with green shading.

    It is amazing that he built so many canoes in such small spaces.

    Last edited: May 19, 2017
    Dan Miller, MGC and Tnic like this.

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