Saturday, March 30, 2013

An education and a place to live

Good Will Cottage c1911 - click to enlarge
Photo: L C Bates Museum via
  Founded by George Walter Hinckley, Good Will Hinckley was a school for orphans and difficult children.  The children helped run the farm and other property, lived in cottages on campus and went to school also on campus.
  It all started in 1910 and ended just a few years ago.  The property is still the same; the L C Bates Museum is still operating.  The majority of the property is now a Charter School (Public Magnet type School) for high school students who want to learn about agriculture and forestry.
  I've driven by this property numerous times but have never stopped in.  The buildings are kept in top notch condition and they are beautiful, old, brick buildings for the most part.
A girl resident playing golf c1930, the golf course is part of the property - click to enlarge
Photo: L C Bates Museum via
Faculty Row 1935 - click to enlarge
Photo: L C Bates Museum via
An aerial view 1965, the Kennebec River lower right the road
is U S Route 201 - click to enlarge
Photo: L C Bates Museum via


Friday, March 29, 2013

Trees, trees and more trees

The Lafayette Elm, Kennebunk, Maine c1900 - click to enlarge
Photo: Kennebunk Free Public Library via
  Maine has millions of acres of forests; but some trees are special.  The Lafayette Elm, in the middle, (above) was named for a visit by General Lafayette in 1825.  The elm died of Dutch Elm Disease in the mid-1950s, along with thousands of other elms throughout New England.
  The Leeds Maple (below) on the banks of the Androscoggin River in Leeds is the largest tree in Maine.  It is estimated to be over 300 years old.  I read about this tree a couple of years ago; I believe it's still alive but was leaning more and more toward a wet ending - in the river.
  The Doughnut Tree (below) is another huge Maine Elm that is no longer with us.  the "doughnut" was created when the tree was very young.

The largest tree in Maine is or was the Maple in Leeds, Maine - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
The Doughnut Tree, Fryeburg, Maine in 1943 - click to enlarge
Photo: Fryeburg Historical Society via


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Clang, clang went the Trolley, Ding ding went the bell

 Horse Car #87 Portland, Maine c1885 - click to enlarge
Photo: Seashore Trolley Museum via
  Over the years trolleys have transported a lot of people, still do in some cities.  Here in Maine Portland started by having Horse Cars.  These cars pulled by horses in odd fashion, they were on tracks!  Electric motors soon replaced the horse and then the tracks were needed.
Portland-Lewiston Interurban #14 "Narcissus" in Gray, Maine c1930 - click to enlarge
Photo: Seashore Trolley Museum via
  Interurban lines ran between cities within about 50 miles of each other, at speeds of up to sixty miles an hour.  This particular line had stops in Falmouth, Cumberland, Gray and New Gloucester and it was very busy.  But with the end of World War Two the automobile became "king of the road", trains and trolleys became almost history.  Can you imagine the fuel savings by switching back?  That would some at great cost to rebuild lines, a recent study indicates an extension of passenger service from Portland to Lewiston would cost 118 million dollars!
York Utilities #88 in Sanford, Maine c1930 - click to enlarge
Photo: Seashore Trolley Museum via
  I can remember when my mother would take me to town for whatever reason, it was rare, she would take me on this trolley line from Sanford to Springvale (part of Sanford) for an ice cream soda at Normans Drug Store.  Boy! That was a long time ago.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Maine Farms and such

Trout Brook Farm, undated - click to enlarge
Photo: Patten Lumberman's Museum via
  I suspect that farm high up in Piscataquis County was used to care for horses used in the lumber industry.  During the off season horses needed a place to get rested up.  The horse was the "skidder" of the past, some are still in use.
  Barns in New England where usually attached to sheds and houses, very common.  In my case it was fact.  The outhouse was in the barn, it kept us out of the winter wind, but not the cold.  The woodshed/laundry room was in between the house and barn.  Only once was a bobcat in the woodshed, it jumped from the wood for the door using my dad as a "stepping stone".
  Barns and houses weren't always connected either, both of my grandparents had barns across the road from the house and shed(s).
French House in Garland, Maine c1920 - click to enlarge
Photo: Garland Historical Society via
  This large farm is, I believe, still standing on State 94, of course I'm easily mistaken.  This is quite a group of large buildings.  I'm glad I don't have to paint this property.
Bodwell Street, Sanford, Maine c1900 - click to enlarge
Photo: Sanford Historical Society via
  This house and barn are still in place, but sadly the porch was torn off and vinyl siding was installed, sort of ruined the nice old place.  This is an example of an in-town building set up, horses had to have a place too.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Enemies at Sea, Together in Death

The Brig HMS Boxer
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
  On September 5, 1813 the USS Enterprise was patrolling the east coast; they were looking for the brig HMS Boxer which had been harassing and firing on coastal Maine towns.  They found her.  The two ships readied for fighting in Muscongus Bay
  The ensuing battle lasted 45 minutes.  In the first minute Captain Samuel Blythe, age 29, in command of the Boxer died of wounds.  Captain William Burrows, age 28, in command of the USS Enterprise was wounded in the first minutes but kept up command from his place on the deck.  He died of his injuries later but after he accepted the sword of Capt. Blythe.
  Both ships crept in to the port of Portland, Maine where American doctors treated the wounded of both Navies.  The flag draped bodies of Capt. Burrows and Capt. Blythe were loaded on a barge and brought in to Portland.  The procession for the funeral included two infantry companies, the Enterprise crew, and numerous local officials.
  The bodies were buried side-by-side in the Eastern Cemetery; enemies at sea, companions in death.
An illustration of the graves.
Photo: Maine Historical Society via

Monday, March 25, 2013

Extracting Wealth - Part 3 Limestone

Lime Rock Quarry Rockland, Maine c1915 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
  With all of the granite and slate quarried, there was a need for cement to hold things together and Maine had an answer.  Limestone.
  In the Rockland - Thomaston area (they are adjoining towns) limestone was found in abundance, it's still being quarried and "cooked".  At one time Maine was the nations fifth largest producer of cement, that's not true today.  Limestone that is not "cooked" in a kiln is agricultural lime, and that is fast being replaced with faster acting agents.
The Creighton Kilns c1930 - click to enlarge
Photo: Thomaston Historical Society via
The interior of a lime kiln c1900
Photo: Thomaston Historical Society via

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Extracting Wealth Part Two - Slate

The Brownville Junction Slate Mine - click to enlarge
Photo: Penobscot Marine Museum via
  From 1880-1905 Maine was one of the five top producers of slate in the Country.  The last company closed operations in the late 1990s.  The roof of Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, the memorial stone for John F. Kennedy and the headstone for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis are made from slate mined in Monson.  Many homes and commercial buildings built during the 1880-1910 period have slate roofs still on and good today.
  When we lived in Medford our hearth for the wood stove and the walkway were slate.  A couple of times we visited the "reject heap" in Brownville Junction to pick up some spare pieces.  At craft show around Maine, and probably other places, many decorated slate roof shingles are sold.
  It was dangerous work, like granite work, open pits or quarries, no support for surrounding "walls", see the top photo.  OSHA didn't exist so many occupations were dangerous.
Man riding the hoist bucket in Monson c1880 - click to enlarge
Photo: Monson Historical Society via
Workers in the Monson finishing shop c1905 - click to enlarge
Photo: Monson Historical Society via