Author Dean Lunt is the founder of Islandport Press, a book publisher and recently launched Islandport Magazine. He is also the author of Hauling by Hand.
As it is the closest U.S. state to New Brunswick, Maine is a popular tourist and shopping destination for those of us that live in the “picture province”. Houlton and Calais, the two principle border crossings are popular with day shoppers, but it is Bangor with its malls and big-box stores that attract shoppers from all over the northern and eastern parts of the U.S. and Canada.
However, Bangor wasn’t always a shopping destination. It was an important center for timber, being at the mouth of the Penobscot River and as a shipping port. Soon, as the population increased, stores of all types thrived in the downtown area and it was thought that at some point, Bangor would be the “San Francisco of the East”. While the end of the lumber era erased that bold vision, Bangor would thrive as a commercial center and Bangor Savings Bank has been in the forefront of the history of not only the city, but of the development of savings institutions in the state of Maine.
Dean Lunt has produced an admirable tribute to the rock-solid history of the bank, which also by necessity includes that of the city itself. The two have gone hand in hand for 165 years. This is a revised edition produced by Islandport Press; the first being published in 2002, for the bank’s 150th anniversary.
It is a measure of the book’s value if the reader, while having little or no interest in banking, could enjoy Mr Lunt’s telling of a bank’s history. Indeed, it is history that saves this book from being purely a promotional channel for the Bangor Savings Bank. To properly tell the bank’s history, Mr Lunt needed to go as far back as Champlain, the War of 1812, the American Revolution, and so on before he could get to the need for the creation of a savings institution. The founding fathers of the bank were prominent Bangor businessmen, whose names live on today as street names, public spaces and statues.
The history of Bangor Savings Bank takes us through depressions, wars, good times and bad, floods, fires and a few robberies too. And while many banks failed or merged with other institutions (out of necessity), Bangor Savings Bank, due to its staid conservative management, managed to stay afloat for all those years and flourishes today with branches all over Maine. Recently (October 2017) it has been reported that a $45M merger with New Hampshire institution will allow for expansion into that state.
Filled with photographs, statistics and great stories of Maine banking history past and present, Here for Generations will be enjoyed by those with a keen interest in the history of Maine, Bangor and fiscal institutions in general.
Here for Generations: The Story of a Maine Bank and its City by Dean L. Lunt