YouTube video shows transformation of downtown Bangor, 1996 vs. 2013

Bangor resident Steve Gray — who most recently was part of the “This Must Be For You” downtown Small Business Saturday event — put together a video this weekend highlighting just how far downtown Bangor has come in the past 20 years. Gray put the video together with his own photos taken at Bangor’s Festival of Light parade on Dec. 7, as well as with photos by Justin Russell and video by Mike Ogilvie.

Using for narration an editorial written in 1996 by former Bangor Daily News writer Tom Hennessey that lamented the desertion of downtown, Gray presents images that contrast sharply with the portrait of a depressing ghost town that Hennessey presents. In 1996 downtown was deserted, and the parade attracted a tiny handful of spectators; in 2013 several thousand people crowded Bangor’s streets to enjoy the parade and the tree-lighting.

1480549_688395787858509_1828859483_nBangor City Councilor Ben Sprague initially found the op-ed while searching through old BDN articles, and forwarded it along to Gray with the idea for the video.

“He explained his vision of having someone record the voice over — it ended up being Ben’s dad, Jonathan Sprague — and then overlay it with images from today,” said Gray, by day a self-employed photographer and graphic designer. “The timing was perfect as it was the week before the Festival of Lights parade, so I ventured down to that and captured some photos… It’s been so touching and interesting seeing people share the video along with their memories of how vacant and sad downtown used to be, and how happy they are to now be a part of its resurgence.”

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Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, a UMaine graduate, a proud Bangorian and a writer an editor for Bangor Metro Magazine, the Weekly and the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food to all the cool things going on in the Greater Bangor community. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra. She's interested in everything -- especially if it happens in Maine. Albums for review are accepted digitally only; please no CDs.