In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Bath's Historic Downtown

Bath Savings Institution and Hyde Block

Text by Alex Anderson, Justin Collander, Dylan Crowell, Matt Nelson, and Lauren Quimby
7th grade students at Bath Middle School
With images from the Patten Free Library

The Hyde Block, currently known as Bath Savings Institution at 105-109 Front Street, was built in 1871. The date is on the front of the 3 1/2 story building. The Bath Savings Institution building was first built in an Italianate style. After it was renovated in 1910, it became more of a Second Empire building. In 1975, a brick extension was added to the east side. The current building is made of brick on a granite foundation and is notable for its granite pillars, mansard roof, and elaborate dormers.

Front Street at Arch Street, Bath, ca. 1892
Front Street at Arch Street, Bath, ca. 1892

Item Contributed by
Patten Free Library

Before the Hyde Block was built in 1871, the site at Broad and Front Streets was occupied by a 2 ½ story wooden building housing the Zina Hyde Chandlery. The purpose of the chandlery was to sell equipment for ships, such as rope, windlasses, anchors, and canvas. The Zina Hyde Chandlery changed into Hyde and Swanton company, which later became Swanton & Jameson, all at the same address. Swanton & Jameson Co. was founded by John Bosworth Swanton and John Campbell Jameson, both of whom worked for Zina Hyde. In 1910, Swanton & Jameson left the building and Bath Savings moved in.

In addition to Zina Hyde, John Swanton and John Jameson, architect Francis Fassett was another key person connected to the Hyde Block. He designed Hyde Block. Francis Fassett also built the Sagadohoc County Courthouse. Henry Swanton was the president of Bath Savings for many years. He also served as a trustee.

William Lawrence Plaque
William Lawrence Plaque

Two of the last key people with a connection to Bath Savings Institution are Daniel Wilkinson and William Lawrence. Daniel Wilkinson was the last person to get the death penalty in Maine. William Lawrence was the only police officer in the City of Bath to ever be shot and killed on duty. According to the almanac in the September 5, 1883 issue of Bath Daily Times, people said that they heard gun shots a little after 11:00pm. Officer Lawrence was doing night patrol and spotted Daniel Wilkinson after attempting to break into the chandlery. After Daniel Wilkinson's death sentence, the law stating No Capital Punishment in Maine was made. Daniel's partner was sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole.

Swanton Infantry Election Papers, Bath, 1863
Swanton Infantry Election Papers, Bath, 1863

Item Contributed by
Patten Free Library

Bath Savings Institution is a full-service bank. The bank has been around for more than 150 years. It has never been successfully robbed. That is one of the reasons why people go there. David C. Magoun, one of Bath's mayors, was the first president of Bath Saving Institution and kept the business running well. Bath Saving's Institution contributes to Bath's history in many ways. It's the oldest bank in Bath still running, having been in business since 1852. The bank holds a lot of peoples money. It allows them to apply for loans, as well as deposit and withdraw money. Bath Savings Institution has several connections to the City of Bath. It sponsors many youth sport teams. They are also a bank for all the citizens in Bath that want them to be their bank. They allow people to have loans to buy homes to live in and to support the economy.