Posted by: norstarnewengland | October 6, 2009

American Guide Series

In Pittsburgh, I encountered waymarks that were from the category American Guide Series. It seemed at the time to be yet another tourist site listing, and I logged my visits like other waymarks. I took a look at the category, but since the link was broken, I put off logging my own waymarks in the category. Then, in preparing for the Maine trip, I decided to look into that category again. One thing I did differently was to google the American Guide Series for Maine and found an electronic version on Google Books. Boy were my eyes opened on this series. It was a tourist book – but it was also a whole lot more. The American Guide Series was funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s and resulted in some fine documentation of states and cities. 70 years later, I see these guides as another way to observe how an area changed. For instance, Portland Observatory, which I submitted as a waymark in this category, was closed at the time, and its future seemed uncertain. Today, the observatory has gone through several renovations and is now a favorite tourist location.

Not long ago, I wondered about a book that I had bought from a local historical society. The person at the table said that this book was a very good book to have. The book was old, at least by 40 years, so I went to my bookcase and looked at it. Sure enough – it was “American Guide Series – Massachusetts: A Guide to Its Places and People.” – I’ll be sure to post many more waymarks in this category.


There is a little tag on the pre[?]-title page that has a number, “711,” and the name, “Olde Corner Book Store, Inc., Boston, – Mass.” That was the store, also called the Globe Corner Book Store, in Downtown Crossing. Unfortunately, it was closed as a bookstore in 2002. A jewelry company occupies the spot, now. There is also handwriting on it in pencil in the form of “To — From —, but it’s too hard to discern the names.

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