Saturday, April 20, 2013

Power for Pejepscot Paper - Dam the Androscoggin

Construction starts with large timers c1893 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
  F. C. Whitehouse who had mills in Lisbon Falls and in Pejepscot Village wanted to build a new paper mill in Topsham.  He needed power to run a large mill, he needed a hydroelectric dam.  He set about to build a dam on the Androscoggin River, which at that point is about 500-600 feet wider - maybe more.
  What he had available were workers, timer, ox teams, horses and one steam engine.  They would build the dam.  It was a slow process bringing the timber, loads and loads of rocks of varying sizes, some the size of a Model A Ford.  They first diverted the river with a channel, and then in the empty river bed started with dirt and lots and lots of rocks.  Next came more dirt and the timbers.  Slowly and surely the dam was ready for concrete which was carried by man and beast to be placed in site.
  The machinery for producing electric power came next, and the river was put back in place and - - - it worked!
Nearly ready for the water 1893 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
The Pejepscot Paper Mill in Topsham and the dam in 1900 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via

Friday, April 19, 2013

Poland Springs is more than water

Poland Spring House c1889 - click to enlarge
Photo: Poland Spring Preservation Society via
  During the Gilded Age the Poland Spring House was THE place to be seen if you were what I would call a "high mucky muck".  They came by the train car load to visit the spa.
  The "Poland Spring Water" was part of the draw, but the luxury and golf came in a close second.  And we should not forget that Sebago Lake wasn't far away either.
  Guests came from nearly every state in the Eastern United States, and included at least one President.
  Sadly most of the buildings fell to dis-repair and have been demolished or burned in fires (burned in fires - that's a good one.  How else do things burn?)  The Poland Springs Water Company is still with us, although it's now a Nestle product, the water comes from Maine.
Guests arrive in 1886 to spend a few weeks - click to enlarge
Photo: Poland Spring Preservation Society via
President William Howard Taft visits in 1911 - click to enlarge
Photo: Poland Spring Preservation Society via

Thursday, April 18, 2013

100 years and counting

The Mace House/Eastern Maine General Hospital 1894 - click to enlarge
Photo: Eastern Maine Medical Center via
  In 1982 five doctors in Bangor decided the City needed a hospital and turned to setting one up.  The doctors leased the Mace House from the family that built it, later they bought it.  The old building still stands, nearly lost in the newer buildings around it.
  In the very near future EMMC plans to demolish one part of the newer buildings and replace it with a new seven story tower, all for the expense of 250 million dollars.
  In my view the practice of medicine continues to evolve and as it does it needs bigger and better places, equipment, medications and practices.  In my view it all costs a whole bunch of money, made at the expense of those of us who have insurance.
  By the way, that tent on the lawn (left) in the above photo held the beds for male patients because of a shortage of rooms; even historically the need for bigger and better.
Bangor's first ambulance c1900 - click to enlarge
Note a new building already in the works.
Photo: Eastern Maine Medical Center via
This photo shows EMMC maybe ten years ago before Webber West
and parking garages were built, the Mace house is in between
the tallest building and the brick building on the left. - click to enlarge
Photo: Eastern Maine Medical Center via

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Navy Firefighting School on a Casco Bay Island

Little Chebeague Island from the South c1947 Portland is seen in the center at a distance - click to enlarge
Photo: National Archives: Northeast Region via
  During World War Two the US Navy established a Recreation Center on Chebeague (Shh-beak) for sailors to rest from battles.  The Navy also had a shortage of firefighting training so, since the Navy owned the land, it was established on Chebeague.
  Many sailors trained at the school for fleet duty and although the main school was at Newport, Rhode Island the Chebeague school added capacity.  Some of the student were successful in fighting shipboard fires.  The School had a lecture hall, a large steel and wood frame wall and a large oil tank, both of which were set on fire repeatedly during training.
The Lecture Hall in 1947 - click to enlarge
Photo: National Archives: Northeast Region via
  Following is a photo of the USS Braine tied up at the Boston Navy Yard in 1945.  The ship was badly burned in a fire - which was successfully put out by crews that had trained on Chebeague.
The ship was repaired and remained in the Fleet until 1947 when is was sold to the Argentine Navy.  It was sold for scrap in 1971.
USS Braine in port at Boston Navy Yard - click to enlarge
Photo: National Archives: Northeast Region via

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company

An Eastern Illustrating & Publ. Co. truck in East Parsonsfield c 1915 - click to enlarge
Photo: Penobscot Marine Museum via
  In 1909 Herman Cassens started a postcard company.  His post cards were of the variety called real photo postcards.  They were real photo post cards because each one was a printing of the photo.
  Over the course of his career he took over 40,000 photos recorded on glass negatives, the collection is now at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine.
  Mr. Cassens sold the Belfast, Maine company in 1947 and he died in 1948 with his dream of photographing all 48 states unfilled; most of his work was in New England and New York State.
  Please take a few minutes and enlarge these photos and enjoy some of his work.
Danforth Pond, Skowhegan, Maine c 1910 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via
Grand Lake Hotel, Grand Lake Stream Maine c 1915 - click to enlarge
This is in the region of Princeton that was in yesterdays blog.
Photo: Maine Historical Society via

Monday, April 15, 2013

Maine Main Streets

Mars Hill Main Street c1915 - click to enlarge
Photo: Penobscot Marine Museum via
  Mars Hill, Maine has at least one distinction it was the site of the first automobile accident in the State of Maine.  At the time of that accident there were only two registered cars in Aroostook County, an area equal to Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.  The two cars met "in person" that day.
Princeton Main Street c1927 - click to enlarge
Photo: Penobscot Marine Museum via
  Princeton is one of the gateway towns to an important fresh water sports fishery.  Located near the very large lakes in Eastern Maine the Town has provided sports fishermen/women for many years.  Princeton is also home to many people of the Passamaquoddy Tribe.
Brownville Junction Main Street c1925 - click to enlarge
Photo: Penobscot Marine Museum via
  Brownville Junction was an important place back in the railroad age, oh, there are still some trains through town but a lot less than before.  The Bangor and Aroostook RR and the Canadian National RR switch cars in this junction.  The area is also historically host to many hunters who come to Maine to hunt moose, bear and deer.  Also this area was the site of a large slate quarry - that I wrote about some time ago.
  And, there you have it; three Maine towns, some still have many of the buildings that are in the photos, others have had fires or the buildings have been altered.  Go take a look!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The dog ate my homework!

   That must be true, and I know we don't have a dog.  The fact that the homework's not done and the fact that we have cable is enough to anger me to a slight degree.  Well, slight if I work at it.
  This past Thursday, or 4 days ago, players from two baseball teams got in to a fight.  Jeez what a freaking surprise!  I'll bet that never happened before.  It must not have happened before because it's still being broadcast as news!
  Now this.  On Friday Tiger Woods got penalized by the PGA for placing his ball in the wrong place!  I have reached my wits end!  Tiger must be the only player ever to receive a penalty!  I have witnessed that play five times in one-half hour segment of ESPN Sports Center --- FIVE FREAKING TIMES!  ....and they could have shown real sports news and scores (which is what I wanted to see).
  Now this.  My elbow has not improved, and you already know that I'm not wearing my support elastic sleeve.  I will contact my provider this week.
  And finally...probably, this.  If you wear suspenders you must remember this.  If you sit on a toilet in a room with tile floors, and the suspenders get under your feet, it's slippery as the dickens!  I have proof!
  Okay, I'll try to do some homework!