Waldo County Through Eastern’s Eye
When R. Herman Cassens founded the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company of Belfast in 1909, he unknowingly set the stage for not only this exhibit, but for a unique legacy to the entire state of Maine and other New England states. Cassens’ vision was to photograph small towns and rural areas, and he sent his crews to out of the way places, where they were instructed to consult with the local residents about what to photograph. It must have been an exciting day when the Eastern Illustrating photographer toting bulky box cameras showed up in his Maxwell in tiny places such as Monroe, Burnham, and Prospect.
The end result of Casssen’ approach to creating post cards for sale—and at one time his successful company was the largest real photo post card business in the United States—was an enduring look at aspects of life that probably went largely unnoticed by nearly everyone. Barns, fences, small boats, swimming holes, churches, schools, social events, baseball games, post offices, churches, factories--all were documented. The extraordinary feature of the collection is that it is so very ordinary in content. The saying that “all history is local” was never more applicable than it is to this collection. People are fascinated by these photos because they depict such common scenes and events. The views are different—but not so very much.
This exhibit was created with the help of the many different historical societies and historians of Waldo County and their input is greatly appreciated. Connecting with the local community is part of the Penobscot Marine Museum’s mission. Become a member today and help us preserve and share our history.
Untitled, North Church, Belfast, Maine
Following a split in the congregation of the First Church, the North Church was built in 1831 on Market Street, between High and Church streets. The architect was Col. B. S. Dean of Thomaston. During the summer of 1889 An extension to the church edifice, containing a large lecture room and parlor was completed. At that time eight stained glass windows were substituted for the old ones.
In 1921, the Congregationalists sold their church to the Frank D. Hazeltine Post 43 of the American Legion and reunited with the Unitarians at the First Church. Following the sale, the addition was “daintily appointed” and used by the Belfast Business Professional Women’s Club throughout the 1930s as their meeting room. The American Legion still owns the building.
Contributed by: Megan Pinette, Belfast Historical Society
Mayor Hanson Res, Belfast, Maine ca. 1910
In 1892, Edgar F. Hanson built his lavish mansion, Colonia Villa, on Northport Avenue, opposite what is now City Park. He was a newspaper and magazine publisher, general manager of Dana Sarsaparilla, and ten-term mayor. The plans for the house were drawn up by George Barber & Co., a mail order architectural firm specializing in homes for the rural wealthy. It reportedly cost $40,000, a large sum for the time. The house changed hands several times in the early years of the 20th century and succumbed to a fire in 1923. The house lot remained vacant until 1930, when it was purchased by two Belfast restaurateurs who opened The Bluebird Terrace cafe, catering to tourists motoring into town on Route 1. The building is now owned by the Waldo County Shrine Club.
Contributed By: Megan Pinette, Belfast Historical Society
Untitled, Colonial Theatre, Belfast, Maine
Rising like the phoenix from the ashes, the Colonial Theatre was rebuilt in 1924 following the fire which destroyed the original theater built in 1912. In addition to showing movies, popular entertainments included stage shows, lectures, boxing matches, bathing beauty contests and “get rich quick nights.”
Next door to the theater, Central Maine Power opened a storefront office and advertised itself with a large electric sign. One could pay bills, buy a new all-electric appliance, or take a class in how to use the new equipment. The gas pump on the other side belonged to a Ford dealership and was one of twenty-eight filling stations in the downtown.
Contributed by: Megan Pinette, Belfast Historical Society
R.R. Station, Brooks, Maine
Passenger rail service first came to Brooks on November 1, 1870. Regular service ran from Belfast to Burnham and in 1874, the total number of passengers carried was17,244. The station in the photograph is the second station at Brooks. This Queen Anne style structure was built in 1892 by the Maine Central Railroad. Of note, between 1921 and 1925 an average of 60 tons of potatoes per year were shipped from Brooks. In 1916, the train brought to this station the Honorable Warren G. Harding, U.S. Senator, the only U.S. President to come to Brooks. In addition to potatoes and a president, this station was also the arriving place for the circus animals that came by train.
The building to the left of the station was the Yankee Blade Company building, which published a newspaper. The station was situated across the road from the A.C. Chase Company store (not seen in this photo), which coincidentally was the first station building that had been moved. Depot Square, as that area was known, was the busiest place in town with two round trips daily with passengers, freight and mail.
Point to point passenger service ended March 9, 1960 on the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad. The station was staffed by a Station Agent until the 1980s. A well-known railroad historian and author, Mr. Linwood Moody, was Station Agent in the 1950s and 1960s. The station serves as the base of operations for the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railway. The station is currently owned by Brooks Preservation Society and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Brooks Preservation Society leases the railroad from the State DOT and operates railroad excursions from May through October.
Help from: Betty Littlefield, Belfast Historical Society
Joey Feero, Brooks Preservation Society
View at Burnham, Maine
Burnham is on the outermost northern boundary of Waldo County. It is eight miles in length north to south, and the same east and west. An agricultural town, Burnham was originally called Twenty-five Mile Pond Plantation and was incorporated in 1824. The village has had a tannery; lumber, shingle and stave mills; a shoe factory; and a brickyard. In 1871 the town had an inn called “The Rail Road House,” as Burnham Station was a stop for the B & A Railroad. One of the most recent businesses was the Ethan Allen Furniture Company, whose furniture has gone around the world.
Contributed by: Isabel Marsh Meresh, Waldo County Historian
Mt. Waldo Granite Company, Frankfort, ME
This is the second incarnation of the Mt. Waldo Granite Company which sat on the shore of the Penobscot River on what is now Rt. 1A. The Mt. Waldo quarry officially opened in 1853 and in 1880, the business Mt. Waldo Granite Works was incorporated. Their specialty was cutting paving stones. Oxen were the first means of hauling granite from the quarry to the wharf on the Penobscot River and they were eventually replaced by a railway. The wharf had 300 feet of deep water frontage and two derricks of 20 ton capacity each loaded massive blocks onto waiting schooners which could carry as much as 1300 tons. Schooners were used exclusively until 1911 and then large barges used. Eventually the railroad arrived in Frankfort from Stockton and allowed a quicker and better method of transporting granite.
In the spring of 1916, the Mt. Waldo Granite Works filed for bankruptcy and in 1923 a fire destroyed the buildings and cutting sheds. In 1930, the property was purchased an Italian immigrant, Bruno Grenci and his partner Thomas Ellis. After 20 years of inactivity, Mt. Waldo again came to life, returning Frankfort to the busy era it had once been with the opening of the Mt. Waldo Granite Company. A new railway was laid, a steel derrick was built at the wharf and a large steel stone shed was constructed as seen in this photograph. The plant employed close to 100 men. During WWII, quarry operations were difficult and the company was forced to close from 1942-1945 due to a lack of steel for saws and the buildings in this photographed were dismantled and shipped to South Portland for the war effort. New buildings were built in 1945 and the business continued until 1966. The granite shed briefly became “Mohammed’s Mountain Marina” and then the “Bargain Palace”, a discount used clothing outlet before being razed in 1966 and the site is now a state park.
Help From: Robert Drew, Frankfort Historian
Freedom Lumber Co., Freedom, Maine
The mill yard buildings on the left belonged to the Freedom Lumber Company, which had purchased the mill (not seen in this photo) in 1907. The mill was originally built in 1834 by John True to be used as a grist mill. It was sold in 1845 to Edmond Fuller and stayed in the Fuller family until 1894 when it was sold to Ralph Wiggin and Frank Banton who turned it into a wood turning mill. After 1918 the mill began to turn mop, dowel, and novelty handles from lumber like the piles seen in this photo, which was taken around 1948. Behind the lumber piles is the Freedom Academy. The old Freedom Academy, one of the veteran schools of Maine, was incorporated by an act of the Maine State Legislature on February 19, 1836. The original building was destroyed by fire on January 25, 1947 and was replaced by the building seen here which was designed by Norman Elliot and opened in 1948. The new academy was a modern, self-contained building. Behind the trees you can see the steeple of the Freedom Congregational Church.
Help From: Viola Greely, Freedom Historical Society
The Town Hall was built in 1894 for $4,000 on the site of the former First Baptist Meeting House and has served many purposes over the years. The Masonic Lodge next to it was built in 1905. In 1904, the State of Maine passed a law requiring consolidation of high schools in jurisdictions like Islesboro. The town took advantage of the newly constructed Masonic Hall in 1905 to house the high school for 40 students. In 1906, the students moved next door to the Town Hall. There were six girls in the first graduating class in 1908, three of whom were Erma, Marie and Marion Coombs. In 1971, the building was obtained by the Islesboro Historical Society for its sole use. The Society had been organized in 1964 partially to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Islesboro’s first settler, Shubael Williams, who owned 500 acres of land in the Bounty Cove area.
Contributed by: Lang Smith, Islesboro Historian
Front View and Grounds, Drexel Cottage, Islesboro, Maine
“Gripsholm,” originally known as “Coombs Bluff,” was built for George W.C. Drexel of Philadelphia in 1903-04 on a 160 acre site overlooking Sabbathday Harbor. The reason given by the Camden Herald for not building in Dark Harbor was that Drexel was asked by summer residents from New York to move his large coal-burning yacht from the harbor so that they could avoid inhaling the smoke. In a huff, he moved the yacht to the more acceptable climate of Ryder’s Cove, where he acquired acreage from the Herbert family. At 6,000 square feet, it replaced the Shattuck house as the largest summer cottage. The cottage is now home to a Hollywood movie star whose character names have included Vinnie Barbarino, Danny Zuko, Tony Manero and Vincent Vega.
Contributed by: Lang Smith, Islesboro Historian
Lake George, Liberty, Maine
Liberty, Maine was settled in the 1790s and was incorporated in 1827. Viewed from Haystack Mountain toward the present day Pinnacle Road (Route 220 South), the St. George River begins at the dam under Pinnacle Road. The Channel runs from the dam up to Little Lake St. George. Beyond this is Lake St. George with two of its islands, Millstone and Green Islands, visible. An old legend states that the lake was called “Andia Ta-Rock-Te” by the local Indians, though the meaning of the word has been lost.
The farmhouse on the right of Pinnacle Road was originally the home of Timothy Copp. This is now gone and the fields have grown up. This was one of the earliest homes in Liberty. The first and third homes on the left remain the same. The middle home was lost to fire in 2001. The point of land just beyond the Channel and the shore beyond it have dozens of homes now. Most were built as summer camps and many have been turned into year round homes. There have been camps on shore and on the islands since at least the beginning of the 1900s. The small buildings at the bottom of Haystack Mountain at the dam and along the Channel were boat houses. This view is now obscured by trees.
Contributed by: Gail Philppi, Liberty Historical Society
Penobscot Indian Camp—Indian Basket Makers--Lincolnville, Maine
In 1930, as the effects of the Depression began to be felt, Penobscots Leo and Florence Shay of Indian Island at Old Town set up a tent on a vacant lot at Lincolnville Beach with their three young sons. With jobs getting scarcer there was one thing the family could do to earn money and that was make baskets. Growing in the marsh behind the row of shops at the Beach, barely a hundred yards from their camp, they found a large stand of sweetgrass, the aromatic plant used in Penobscot baskets. The Shays had found their summer home, perfectly located on the side of busy coastal Route One and with a key basket ingredient nearby. Leo and the sons harvested and prepared the ash splints that formed the body of the baskets, while the sweetgrass they harvested was braided by tribeswomen back at Indian Island. Florence used it as decorative accents as she wove each basket. For most of the next thirty years the Shays returned every year to set up their Indian Camp basket tent.
In the photo Florence is working on a basket in the entrance to their sales tent; the family lived in the rear tent. In the 1960s their grandson, Bob Anderson, bought the business and continued to operate the popular Indian basket tent for another thirty years, finally moving the business a mile north to Ducktrap. The Lincolnville Post Office occupies the site today.
Florence Nicolar Shay was an outspoken advocate for Penobscot tribal rights, testifying on tribal issues before the state legislature and in 1942 publishing her History of the Penobscot Tribe of Indians. She was the subject of a 2006 book, Florence Nicolar Shay: Penobscot Basketmaker and Tribal Advocate.
Contributed by: Diane O’Brien, Lincolnville Historical Society
View Lincolnville Ctr., Maine
This photo of N.D. Ross' store in Lincolnville Center depicts a small town on the brink of change. The car, probably a 1910-1912 Ford, is parked next to a granite hitching post. Next to and behind the car a white horse, harnessed to some sort of wagon or cart, stands patiently waiting for its owner to come out. Next to the store is the California House, a landmark in the Center since the 1840s when it was built. Both it and the store are still standing on Main Street (Routes 173 and 52). The third building, appearing next to the California House, was actually on Belfast Road (Route 52) and used as a community building, for Sunday school and other functions. It is no longer standing. Other details in the photo include the wagon wheel tracks in the dirt road, the board sidewalk at the left and in front of the store, and the utility lines leading to the store. Since electricity didn't come to the Center until much later, after N.D. Ross was gone and his store became Scott Knight's Store, these must be telephone lines. The Lincolnville Telephone Company was founded, just around the corner from the California House, in 1904. It still exists today.
Contributed by: Diane O’Brien, Lincolnville Historical Society
Littlefield’s Garage, Monroe, Maine
Opened in 1919 on West Main Street (Route 139) in the heart of Monroe Village, Littlefield’s Garage was long a familiar landmark for folks driving from Winterport to Brooks through Monroe. The garage was owned and operated by George Edward Littlefield who was known to his neighbors and customers simply as "Eddie." Born in Winterport in 1889, Eddie recalled that when he first opened his garage business in Monroe, there weren’t more than two or three Fords in town, and he had to repair bicycles and rubber-tired wagons to make ends meet. By the time this photo was taken in the nineteen twenties, however, the garage was a fully equipped Shell Service Station. For over three decades it stood directly across the street from the present Monroe Community Church and next door to the Monroe Village Elementary School which is visible to the far right. Both the Garage and the Village School were completely destroyed by a spectacular fire early on Christmas morning in 1953. A new garage was soon constructed on the site by Eddie Littlefield’s longtime mechanic Wilmer Weaver, to whom Eddie deeded the property.
Contributed by: Charlie Biebel, Monroe Historical Society
The Kingdom, Montville, Maine
The Kingdom is one of the early settlements in Montville and was once pronounced Muskingum. The Kingdom was once the center of activity that had a series of mills, a hatter shop, a tannery, school and stores. This image shows a mill that was once the site of Smith Cram’s saw mill built in 1798. In 1910 Carney Shure purchased the mill, sawing long lumber, staves, shingles and barrel heads. In 1927 the mill burned due to spontaneous combustion. Through the years, with the departure of industry and the spring freshets that swept away the small dams and wood debris, little was left in the Kingdom. However, in the 1940s Marjorie Sewell and her husband moved to the Kingdom, to the little camp to the right of the mill. It was in this camp that Anthony Maresh, a young Russian sailor, and his Montville bride, Gladys Hannan, lived while working in the Shure Brothers Mill. This area became the first location of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Today the Kingdom is home to Waterfall Arts, Arts Center at Kingdom Falls.
Contributed By: Debi Stephens, Montville Historical Society
View at Morrill, Maine
This view is of Main Street in Morrill looking north toward Bangor, also known today as Rt. 131. The two buildings on the right and left in the foreground were mills that sat on the mill stream that connects the Smith Mill Pond and the Passagassawakeag River. One of the major mill products in Morrill was lime casks. Further up the road on the left one can see the corner of the Smith House. Built in 1805, it was the first framed building in Morrill, though at the time the town was known as Green Plantation and part of North Belmont. Morrill was incorporated March 3, 1855, being named in honor of Hon. Anson P. Morrill, then governor of the State. On the right in the distance is the church which served four different denominations, each taking one Sunday in the month. It was built in 1847 and burned down in 1972. A new church has since been built on the site. The word “HARD” at the bottom of the image was an instruction for printing the postcard, meaning it was a dense or overexposed negative and needed a strong exposure to print.
Help from: Victor Voss, Morrill Hoistorical Society
Beech Hill Rd., Northport, Maine
Edmund “Burke” Elwell was born in Northport where he lived all of his life. He operated the corner grocery store and Post Office at Saturday Cove for 43 years, from about 1877 to 1920. Elwell was also the Postmaster of Northport. Saturday Cove was occupied by many men who made their living on the sea. When winter was upon them, many would gather round the pot-bellied wood stove in Elwell's store, when they had spare time on their hands. They discussed the up-coming Town Meetings, hashed over the Town expenses for the year, spun yarns, talked about current affairs, and discussed the people coming and going from the store. Burke Elwell was known about town for his caring and aid to his neighbors whenever there was a need. Elwell sold the store in October, 1920 to Herman and Orra B. Weymouth. He died in his home town of Northport in1922, aged 64 years. He left a widow, Lulu Elwell, and a daughter, Elise Sleeper.
Contributed by: Isabel Marsh Meresh, Waldo County Historian
Pioneer, Bayside, Maine
Built in 1869 by Isaac Cunningham, a farmer from Union, Pioneer Cottage was reported by The Republican Journal (1879) to be the first private dwelling erected at Northport Wesleyan Grove Campmeeting which was founded in 1849. For the preceding years Cunningham and other families camped under tents on small platforms, 12’x18’, for two weeks during the campmeeting. Town Methodist congregations also camped in tents, later building large three-story Society cottages. Today these cottages, circling Auditorium Park and Merithew Square, still bear the town names.
The campmeeting newspaper, The Sea Breeze, reports in 1887: “Old Pioneer cottage on Merithew Square has been so thoroughly Elizabethianized, the old residents will hardly recognize it. It is owned by J. A. Clement, of Searsport, and I. J. Johnson, of Bucksport.” Mr. Johnson was a Civil War Veteran, having served in the 19th Marine Regiment Co. E, 6th Battery, Heavy Artillery.
In 1897 Rev. William J. Wilson and his wife celebrated their Golden Anniversary at Pioneer Cottage with 100 guests. The couple was presented seventy-five dollar gold pieces. A century later the current owners Harold and Andrea Hede found pieces of the original canvas tent nailed to a board at the rear of the cottage and preserved them by covering them over with lap siding.
Contributed by: Beverly Crofoot, Bayside Historical Society
This interior view of the Auditorium at Northport Wesleyan Grove Campmeeting was greeted with “oohs” and “ahs” when first shown by Kevin Johnson to a 21st century gathering of Baysiders! Built in 1893 to replace the outdoor stand and seating, the Auditorium, which measured 64 feet square, became a focus for life on the campground. Used for religious services, Chautauqua meetings, musical performances, and even social gatherings of the Northport Country Club, the Auditorium was constructed inside the circle of Society cottages, requiring the removal of several of these buildings from the ocean side to the northern side of this natural amphitheater.
Using period photographs, Dick Brockway of Bayside constructed in 2002 a scale model of the Auditorium. This model and another of the Northport Hotel are on view in the Community Hall. These models bring to life the buildings which were torn down (the Auditorium in 1934) or burned (the Hotel in 1919).
Contributed by: Beverly Crofoot, Bayside Historical Society
F.W. Kingsbury’s Store, Prospect Ferry, Maine
Prospect, Maine: Prospect’s Ferry Store and Post Office stood on the wharf at the Prospect Ferry Landing at the river’s edge of the Ferry Road near Fort Knox. Albert Harriman operated the country style store which offered grain, groceries, yard goods, penny candy, and cracker and pork barrels. With its second floor dance hall with hardwood floors, it also became a social center. Albert added a livery stable. The store catered to the locals, Fort personnel, and the ferry passengers who crossed the Penobscot to Bucksport and back.
From the 1800s to the early 1930s the store was run by several people. Albert Harriman’s daughter, Almeda, and husband Byron Avery ran the business after Albert. They were followed by Edward Grindle for 17 years. The last to run the store were Mr. Grindle’s daughter and her husband, Percy Mills. Mr. Mills added a delivery wagon to his business. The construction of the Waldo Hancock Bridge in 1931 brought the end of the ferry and the store’s success. (Source: History of Prospect, Maine 1759 – 1979 by Alice Verrill Ellis.)
Contributed by: Carol Johnson, Prospect Historical Society
V.A. Simmons & Co. Store, Searsmont, Maine
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
S.M. Webber House, Searsport, Maine After Cyclone May 22, 1921
This image shows the colonial mansion of Sidney M. Webber, which was formerly owned by Captain Phineas Pendleton, after it was severely damaged during the Searsport “Sunday Cyclone,” May 22, 1921. The force of the storm moved the home eight feet on its foundation, and the interior was ruined by the shifting of the walls. Many other Searsport structures were devastated by the cyclone as it moved in a sweeping arc from the northwest. The L.C. Havener, formerly Phineas Pendleton Jr., home and L.M. Sargent home located across the main road from the Webber house were next in its path, followed by the Lewis Rich home on Steamboat Ave. The stables of Mrs. F.S. Dyer, Willard Rich and Hiram Russell were all flattened. On Main Street, the roof was completely blown off the Sargent Block. As the storm moved out to sea it did extensive damage to the docks at Mack’s Point which was estimated to run into the thousands of dollars, a substantial amount of money at that time. Amazingly, there were no fatalities and only a few serious injuries during the cyclone. The Webber house still stands on Rt. 1 and is the office of a local chiropractor.
Contributed by: Ray Seamans, Searsport Historian
Carvers Memorial Library, Searsport, Maine
For just over 100 years this impressive building has stood on the corner of Mortland Road and Union Street in Searsport. At a special Town Meeting held on October 8, 1908, the heirs of Captain George A. Carver proposed a gift to the town, a new public library, fulfilling a long held wish of Capt. Carver. The building, designed by McLain and Wright of Boston and built by H.C.Brown also of Boston, was to be built of brick and masonry “to be fitted with a heating system and electric lights.” The Italian marble and oak flooring and interior oak columns and book cases still stand as an indication of careful planning and the quality of the building. The exterior of field stones, brought from the Carver Farm on what is today Moose Point State Park, still exists. Moose Point was another gift of the Carver family to the people of Maine. Over the years an addition at the rear of the library added space and allowed for the basement to become a children’s area.
On October 13, 1910, the building was dedicated with a ceremony that took place at both the library and nearby at Union Hall. A copper box was filled with artifacts of the day and tied with a white satin ribbon by Capt. Carver’s daughter Elizabeth Carver Whittier. The box was placed “in the corner stone” of the now completed library building. One hundred years later in 2010, as the centennial of the library was to be celebrated, the search for the box began. After many discussions and several attempts, the box was located in the stone with the date engraved, at the right front corner of the building. The box with its contents rested in a hollow in the stone, though not easily. When recovered it was found that time and water had destroyed the box and most of its contents, however, one piece of the satin ribbon remained clearly visible. Elizabeth Carver Whittier herself lived to be 100 years old! The first librarian was Miss Mary McClure, and it is believed that she is probably the figure in this photograph.
Contributed by: Faith Garrold, Searsport Historian
Originally built in 1831, the Searsport House was one of the best hotels to be found outside the larger cities, according to the Industrial Journal, December, 1909. The original building was occupied as a private dwelling until 1835, when it was converted into a hotel. By 1873 the structure had been razed, another story placed under it, and a large commodious stable and carriage house added. It burned in 1892 and was rebuilt in 1894 with 30 guest rooms, enjoying good patronage from the traveling public. In the summer months it was a favorite resort with tourists and summer boarders. Among the advantages offered were an artesian well and the “best of summer attractions” including boating, bathing, fishing, driving, salt water baths and a fine dining room. It fell into disrepair and was razed in 1943.
Help from: Don Garrold, Searsport Historian
Valarie Murphy, Searsport Historical Society
A Glimpse of Stockton Springs, Maine
Downtown Stockton Springs looking to the east, showing all the buildings before any tearing down was done. Mate LaFurley's store was in what was called the Denslow Block, with a dance hall upstairs that was also used for meetings, etc. To the east of Mate's was Walter Trundy’s store, which is now gone. To the west of Mate's store were other businesses. The Rebekah Lodge and the Eastern Star both met in the upstairs of one or another of those buildings. In later years, Shep Edwards had a store in the downstairs of that westernmost end building.
Across the street during the 1930s and 40s the westernmost building housed Norm Staples’ grocery, which later became the old town office. The easternmost building on the corner of School Street housed Mel Pinkham's Grocery and Ice Cream Parlor. You can see the hotel, which is still there, on the other corner. Next to that was the old garage that during WWII housed a small contingent of soldiers, several of whom married local girls and became Stockton residents forevermore.
Across the street from the garage (where Wyman's store now stands) was a long wooden building which was Sanborn's store, probably the most used grocery in town as they did twice a week house calls for orders and deliveries. They also sold men's work pants, boots, etc. in an addition attached to the store. Next to that was a blacksmith shop. According to Marion Fisher, “Somewhere in an upper room of one of the Main Street buildings my grandmother's sister Ida Merrithew had a dressmaking establishment. She was a good seamstress with few social skills, I might add - an old maid in the most negative connotation of the word. But she could make a beautiful gown.”
Help from: Veronica Magnan & Marion Fisher, Stockton Springs Historical Society
Pier, Stockton, Maine
Since the Penobscot River often froze in winter and prevented ships from getting to and from Bangor to pick up and deliver products, the railroads sought a port that could be accessed in the winter. In 1904 the Bangor & Aroostook railroad purchased the rights to build a rail line from La Grange to Searsport. Work began on January 30th of 1904 and on April 19th of that year, the first locomotive to be seen in Stockton Springs was unloaded off the deck of the steamer RELIANCE. Three long piers were constructed at Cape Jellison with lengths of 1600’, 1500’ and 1100’. An artesian well was drilled to supply the rail engines with fresh water. In 1905 the Northern Maine Seaport Railroad opened for passengers and retail business. The primary products that were shipped out were potatoes grown in Aroostook County and lumber sawn in Bangor. The Cape Jellison docks burned in a fire of unknown origin on November 8, 1924. Today at this sight is Stockton Harbor and Marina, and condominiums line the shore.
Help from: Basil Staples, Stockton Springs Historical Society
Post Office, Swanville, Maine
The Nickerson and Damn store and post office, now known as Swan Lake Grocery, is located at the foot of Swan Lake. The brick used to build it was made at the Nickerson Brickyard located just south of the store, one of a number of brickyards in Swanville in the 1800s. The brickyards were the largest industry in Swanville until the Oak Hill granite business was established.
The early owners and/or operators of the store were Nickersons and Damns. More recently these included Robert and Marian Clark, Robert and Annie Osborn, Ronald Nickerson, Wayne and Francis Clark, and now, Robert Newcomb. As is obvious from the photo, there were living quarters upstairs. The woodpile on the left may have been for sale but more likely was used to heat the store and upstairs.
The long brown building in back and to the right of the store is the saw and grist mill. The original mill was built by Aaron and Reuben Nickerson, two of the first settlers. It was succeeded by another mill operated by Tully Nickerson and others. The last mill was owned by Charles Nickerson and was last operated in the late 1930s or early 1940s.
The white building peeking through the trees on the right was a blacksmith and carriage shop. It was last run by Sewell and Frank Harriman. The mill and carriage and blacksmith shop are no longer there; however, even with the additions and changes made to the store, one can still identify the original building. The same view of the building is no longer available as the terraced hill across the road which the Eastern photographer perched on to take the photo has been removed, possibly to be used to build the road that goes along the lake.
Contributed by: Rita Stone, Swanville Historian
Shore View, Camp Winnecook, Unity, Maine
Established in 1903, this 25-acre camp was located on Unity Pond’s eastern shore. Purported to develop “worthy character” in the boys, as well as making them “sound and vigorous of body and mind”, Camp Winnecook for Boys was under the direction of Herbert L. Rand, Unity native and principal of the Training School, State Normal School of Salem, Massachusetts. (A normal school was a school that trained teachers.) Mr. Rand ran the camp each summer until 1935. His son carried on the tradition for a couple of years. In the mid-1940s, Mrs. Russell Franz bought the camp and opened it to girls. Mrs. Franz ran the facility for four years and sold it to a private party in 1950.
Counselors instructed the city-dwelling ten to sixteen year old boys in swimming, life-saving, tennis, archery, horseback riding, woodcraft and nature. The session was six weeks long and culminated in an “Indian pow-wow.” This gathering featured bareback riders, “war paint,” fire dances and drumming.
Lake Winnecook/Unity Pond is four miles long and about two miles wide and provides recreation and spectacular views for residents in Unity, Burnham and Troy. There is an active Friends association. Unity College students use the lake for research and recreation.
Contributed by: Lori Roming, Unity Historical Society
Main St., Winterport, Maine
Charles C. Moody (1865 - 1948) had a dry goods store located on the west side of Main Street in the lower end of town. He carried a wide variety of goods, for in the days before automobiles, people shopped locally. School children delighted in his window display at Christmas time.
There was an annex on the south side of the building, and it housed the printer’s shop run by Caleb Lougee (1857 - 1830). It was here that he published The Winterport Advertiser beginning in 1890 and continuing until his death. It was a weekly, selling for three cents. He used news from outside sources for part of the paper, but the interior pages held local news items and advertisements. In addition to this paper, Lougee printed other material, such as flyers promoting local events or the annual town reports. Both Lougee with his cornet and Moody with his trombone were regular members of the Winterport band.
The building has been empty for years but it is still in its place just south of the library. The annex was dismantled many years ago.
Contributed by: Teddy Wesron, Winterport Historical Society
Winterport Ferry, Winterport, Maine
Today there is no evidence remaining of the Winterport ferry which served the community in the years before the advent of autos and the construction of the bridge over the Penobscot at Prospect. The earliest ferry was a dugout propelled by paddles. The Coulliard brothers lived on opposite sides of the river and together they operated the ferry, charging 12 cents one way. If anyone with a horse wanted to cross, the horse was forced to swim as he was towed behind the ferry. Later, when people wanted to get to Bucksport or Castine or Bangor, the ferry was the means of getting to the trains which operated on the east side of the river. One lady recalled taking the ferry in the 1890s and boarding the train to get to the school she attended in Bucksport. For many years the ferryman was James Curtis who “plied the oars” back and forth in all kinds of weather. He inspired his passengers with confidence that he would safely take them across the river. The era of the ferry is now only part of our history.
Contributed by: Teddy Wesron, Winterport Historical Society