In 1888, the original building at this site burned and a new three story building was erected named “Dirigo Hall.” The first building served as a general store owned by various merchants.
Valorus A. Simmons originally owned a store on the north side of St. George River in the village of Searsmont. In circa 1905 his store burned, and he moved across the river into the first floor and walk-out basement of Dirigo Hall. At one time, Mr. Simmons had a partner, Mr. Paine, but it appears that Mr. Paine left the partnership after a short time. For a period of time, the store also housed the village Post Office. One of the employees, Henry Buck, would make calls on customers on his route down Woodsman Mill Road into Montville with his horse and buggy. The next day he delivered the groceries with his two horse team and buckboard wagon. Another long time employee, Fred Miller, served as a clerk. The store closed sometime around 1938.
The new Dirigo Hall housed a large general store on the ground floor and utilized the lower floor for cold storage where perishables were kept. A dance hall was popular on the second floor, and the third floor served as the Mason’s Hall. Mr. Simmons was married to Etta (Groves), and they raised a daughter, Alice, in Searsmont.
In later years, this beautiful building became a chicken house and fell into disrepair. During the Searsmont Community Betterment Program of the 1970’s, this building was razed.
Contributed by: Karen Withee, Searsmont Historical Society