LEWISTON — A piece of  Lewiston’s history was almost lost to a Buckfield dump.

Byron Bassett, a Sumner artist, frequents the Buckfield/Sumner Transfer Station’s Swap Shop in Buckfield, where the adventurous and thrifty root through discarded items, hoping to find treasure.

Bassett frequently looks for frames for his sketches, and material for his homemade costumes.

Bassett said he has found many treasures at the dump, including an old Sumner postmaster’s station he eventually returned to the Sumner Post Office and an old Singer sewing machine made in a German factory destroyed by the Russians in World War II.

“You never know what you’re going to find at the dump,” Bassett said. “Some of the stuff, people don’t realize what they have when they throw it away.”

Late this September, Bassett, looking for a picture frame for his latest sketch of a dog, saw a dusty, antique picture frame in the cluster of recently discarded items.

“I left it at first, and two minutes later, a woman said, ‘It’s gonna go,’” Bassett said.

He circled back, grabbed the frame and brought it home with his haul.

“It’s kind of like a rescue,” he said. “It’s like recycling and reusing. But every now and then you find these pieces, and you think ‘I can’t touch that.’ This needs to go to the right place.”

Back in his studio, Bassett cleaned a layer of dust from the photograph and discovered the faded bronze frame held a collage dating to 1895, depicting the campus of Central Maine General Hospital in Lewiston and bordered by 14 black-and-white portraits of men identified as staff.

“My mind was blown. I literally just had surgery there a month and a half before — hernia surgery,” Bassett said, referring to the hospital that was renamed Central Maine Medical Center in 1977.

He said he knew where the frame should go: Back to its original home.

“I was meant to find this thing and bring it back to them,” Bassett said.

On Dec. 3, he handed it to Jeff Brickman, CEO of CMMC, after first reaching out to the medical center on Facebook and being put in touch with Kate Carlisle, the director of public relations and community affairs.

“I think it might find a home upstairs in our little museum, but we have to take a look at it and think about where we’re going with it, and what might be the best place to show it off,” Carlisle said.

Part of the process will be determining who is pictured and what part of the old campus is photographed. Carlisle said the photo will be cleaned and have a new glass front before being hung.

The photo’s likely home will be above the main lobby in a small museum, alongside other hospital artifacts, including an original iron lung and various surgical instruments.

“It was seconds away from being lost forever,” Bassett said. “That’s the beauty of being at the right place at the right time.”

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Kate Carlisle, director of public relations and community affairs for Central Maine Healthcare in Lewiston, looks over an 1895 photo collage of staff at Central Maine General Hospital in Lewiston. Artist Byron Bassett of Sumner, right, found the framed collage at the Buckfield/Sumner Transfer Station’s Swap Shop in Buckfield in September. He presented it Dec. 3 to Central Maine Medical Center, which was called Central Maine General Hospital until 1977. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

An 1895 photo collage of staff members of Central Maine General Hospital in Lewiston was found by artist Byron Bassett of Sumner at the Buckfield/Sumner Transfer Station’s Swap Shop in Buckfield in September. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Jeff Brickman, right, president and CEO of Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, checks out an 1895 photo collage of Central Maine General Hospital staff members Monday. Artist Bryon Bassett of Sumner, left, found it at the Buckfield/Sumner Transfer Station’s Swap Shop in September and presented it Dec. 3 to the medical center, which was renamed in 1977. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Jeff Brickman, right, president and CEO of Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, holds an 1895 photo collage of Central Maine General Hospital staff members while talking with artist Bryon Bassett of Sumner. Bassett found the framed collage at the Buckfield/Sumner Transfer Station’s Swap Shop in September and presented it to Brickman on Dec. 3. CMGH was renamed CMMC in 1977. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

An 1895 photo collage of staff of Central Maine General Hospital on Main Street in Lewiston includes the hospital, which was renamed Central Maine Medical Center in 1977. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)