Looking Back

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This is a view looking up Church Street from Main Street in 1974. The building in the right of the photo is Peter's Store, also known as Peter's Tea Room and Peter's Fruit Store. The late Harry F.G. Hay operated his funeral business from this location in the early 1900s prior to moving to 795 Main St., where the business continued for many years under his son, John W. Hay. Urban renewal demolished the old store and the buildings behind it to widen Church Street between Main Street and William Clarke Drive. To see more historical photos and artifacts, visit the Westbrook Historical Society at the Fred C. Wescott Building, 426 Bridge St. It is open Tuesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon, and the first Wednesday of each month at 1:30 p.m., September-June. Inquiries can be emailed to westhistorical@myfairpoint.net. The website is www.westbrookhistoricalsociety.org. Photo and research courtesy of Mike Sanphy

June 12, 1991

Jack Critchley has asked the Gorham Town Council to allow him to withdraw his resignation, which was submitted last month and became effective May 31. If the council should grant his request, he would be free to continue his volunteer role as cable television coordinator for the town’s local access cable station. He said last week that criticism of his performance led to his resignation after 12 years of involvement. “I’d like to keep the thing going,” he said Friday when asked why he wants to return to the Gorham Cable Television Committee. “Some of the criticisms have been solved.”

Westbrook Mayor Fred Wescott has extended an invitation to all citizens of Westbrook to join him and the rest of the nation in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at 7 p.m., Friday, June 14, at Riverbank Park, in recognition of Flag Day.

Westbrook aldermen have postponed a decision on whether to merge the Recreation Department and its Parks and Cemeteries Department. Richard Dunbar, superintendent of parks and cemeteries for 22 years, retires June 28. Mayor Fred C. Wescott’s proposed 1991-92 budget provides no money for the job and says the position has been eliminated and the department placed under the parks and recreation director. However, there is no parks and recreation director. The Recreation Department shows no change in the duties of its director, Randy Peters, and leaves open the question of a pay increase for him.

Tree lovers of all ages are coming together in Gorham in an effort that may result in an elm-lined Main Street within another generation. Soon-to-be Eagle Scout Peter Lord and fellow Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 817 gathered at Bill Rust’s farm in West Gorham a week ago to plant 100 young elm trees that had arrived the day before from New Hampshire. They will be joined by 300 more elms over the next three years. About knee-high now, they will be allowed to grow for three or four years, then be transplanted along Main Street and on other municipal property throughout town.

In honor of the city’s year-long centennial celebration, Walker Memorial Library employees have taken the Bicentennial Quilt out of storage and hung it on display. The 72-inch by 60-inch quilt consists of 20 squares, each depicting well-known buildings or scenes from local history. The embroidery was done in 1976 by members of the Westbrook Senior Citizens, most of whom have since died.

June 13, 2001

He has no contracts with prospective tenants for a $16 million office building he’s proposed at Bridge Street and Dana Court, and hasn’t gotten to the point of locking any in on how long they’ll be in occupancy, Tim Flannery told the Westbrook City Council’s Finance Committee Monday. Yet the committee voted 5-1 to support creating a special tax increment financing district for such a new building, returning to Flannery $6 million, or $300,000 a year of the building’s taxes, for 20 years. In that same vote, the council supported granting to tenants in any new building 275 free parking passes in a proposed city parking garage net door, for two years. And it voted to support creating a new downtown tax increment district, to pay tax revenue increases for the next 20 years, into a fund to pay for downtown improvements, instead of into the general tax fund.

Robert and Irene Harnois will mark their 60th wedding anniversary June 14. The family will get together in the Harnois’ back yard for a lobster bake. They have three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He retired from his oil business at age 55 – that was 25 years ago. For many years he served as chairman of the Westbrook Housing Authority.

The magazine that came in the mail, Saxophone Journal, was a complete surprise to Ruthie Noble, Westbrook’s deputy city clerk. There, in the May-June issue, was a tribute to Bessie Mecklem, Ruthie’s grandmother, who had a noted performing career from roughly 1899 to the 1920s on an instrument that was then still a novelty, the saxophone, invented by Frenchman Adolphe Sax in 1846. Her grandmother died in 1942, so Noble had only heard stories from her dad about her and the special climate-controlled music room in his boyhood home to house his grandfather Henry Mecklem’s harp and his mother’s saxophone.

Craig M. Pike, 41, of Crockett Road in Gorham, started his quest for Certified Public Accountant several years ago. He moved a big step closer when he graduated from Husson College summa cum laude this year. When thinking of accounting at first, Craig continued to work his dairy farm, drive a bus for the Gorham School Department and attend Andover College nights. He completed two years at Andover. In 1998, he accepted a job with an accounting firm in Falmouth and enrolled with a full load of classes at Husson. The Husson diploma doesn’t mean the end of Craig’s studies. He’s back into the books now, getting ready for the CPA exam.

James MacFarlane is the newly installed president of the Gorham Lions Club. Aubrey Knowlen is secretary, Mike Webb is treasurer, and Hal Hoffstrom, Bob Pelletier and Phil Stanwood are vice presidents. Stanwood was presented a 35-year membership award.

This is a view looking up Church Street from Main Street in 1974. The building in the right of the photo is Peter’s Store, also known as Peter’s Tea Room and Peter’s Fruit Store. The late Harry F.G. Hay operated his funeral business from this location in the early 1900s prior to moving to 795 Main St., where the business continued for many years under his son, John W. Hay. Urban renewal demolished the old store and the buildings behind it to widen Church Street between Main Street and William Clarke Drive. To see more historical photos and artifacts, visit the Westbrook Historical Society at the Fred C. Wescott Building, 426 Bridge St. It is open Tuesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon, and the first Wednesday of each month at 1:30 p.m., September-June. Inquiries can be emailed to westhistorical@myfairpoint.net. The website is www.westbrookhistoricalsociety.org. Photo and research courtesy of Mike Sanphy