Some of the earliest photographs of Amesbury's landscape taken in the late 1800s will be featured Saturday in an exhibit to benefit Union Congregational Church on Point Shore.
"A Walk Down Main Street: Amesbury Before Automobiles" will feature about 30 photos collected by Amesbury resident Jay Williamson, curator of the Cushing House Museum in Newburyport.
The photos Williamson collected are mostly in stereo view format, which can be viewed in three-dimensional format with the help of a viewer.
This is much like the view-master that most adults would remember from their childhood. The view-master would show seven pictures on a paper disk in 3-D.
"It was the pastime before television," Williamson said. "People would look at different scenes and from local scenes to scenes of White Mountains."
Stereo view photographs were popular in a narrow time from 1860 to 1880 and capture Amesbury at the height of the carriage industry.
Williamson said photographers were asked to take pictures of Amesbury "because there were going to be people available to purchase them."
The photos will not be shown in 3-D format but instead as a regular photo during the slide show.
During the presentation, Williamson will speak about each of the photographs while local historian Steve Klomps provides some of the "play-by-play commentary."
"It's something we figured would be interesting because it's Main Street," Klomps said.
View of Main Street goes from the Chain Bridge to Market Square long before cars traveled on them.
Klomps said some of the photos are still recognizable, while others are completely different than today.
"Some show areas that are no longer there," Klomps added.
The idea for the slide show was Williamson's as a way to thank the people of Point Shore and help them in their efforts to preserve Union Congregational Church.
"The people of Amesbury have been so good over the years in opening up their gardens and homes for the benefit of the (Historical Society of Old Newbury)," Williamson said.
Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Union Congregational Church Restoration & Preservation Alliance Fund for the preservation of the 1835 meetinghouse.
IF YOU GO
What: A Walk Down Main Street: Amesbury Before Automobiles
When: Saturday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m.
Where: Union Congregational Church, 350 Main St., Amesbury
Cost: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors.