Looking Back

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These buildings once stood on Main Street just west of Bridge Street. The building on the right was 881 Main Street with George's Barber Shop (George Belanger) and The Smoke Shop (Mabel Shapiro) on the first floor.  Margaret Shane operated a rooming house on the upper floors. The large building in the center was the L.W. Knight & Son Hardware Store, which was owned and operated by Leland W. Knight and his son Robert and later by Mr. and Mrs. Jim Sanderson. The next building at 885 Main Street was Pete's Diner,  which was owned and operated by Pierre Z. Gaudreau. (The Smoke Shop later became Kit's Smoke Shop (Kit Nadeau) and the diner became Len's Diner (Lenny Jacques). During urban renewal, 881 Main St. was demolished, the Knights Hardware building was dismantled and moved to Scarborough and the diner was moved to Windham. A parking lot now occupies the space where these buildings once stood.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.

Dec. 18, 1991

Calling it a “glimmer of light,” Westbrook Mayor Fred C. Wescott said he is encouraged by word he and co-workers got last week that there will be no layoffs at the S.D. Warren paper mill in 1992 and no shutdown of production facilities. Union president William Carver took the word cautiously. Carver, whose union is launching a study of a workers’ buyout of the mill, said a prediction of no layoffs in ’92 fits will with some things he’s been told about the company’s timetable. Scott Paper told a mass meeting of Westbrook in October that layoffs are coming.

Decorations on houses in Westbrook’s Ward 5 will be judged this week for their distinctive, yet simple and imaginative design in the second annual house-lighting contest sponsored by the Prides Corner Kiwanis Club. Last year’s contest winners did a fine job and organizers are hoping more will participate this year.

Community leaders in Gorham are mobilizing in an attempt to encourage the growth of existing businesses and to develop the potential for luring others to town. The revitalized Economic Development Committee will sponsor a breakfast meeting for local businesspeople Jan. 14. The meeting is designed to discuss “what local government can do for them,” said Town Manager Paul Weston. “It will really be a brainstorming session that will hopefully evolve into a permanent committee or commission.”

His sponsors are looking for a new host family in the Westbrook school district until June for Danish exchange student Jakob Loye, 17. A serious family illness in his original host home creates an immediate need, reported Lee and Helen Weeks, the local representatives of the EF Foundation, Cambridge, Mass. Jakob has been a student at Westbrook High since September.

On Christmas Eve, travelers returning to Gorham after visiting relatives away are often drawn to streets along Weeks Road, Lombard Estates and the Southwoods area. About 100 families line about 10,000 candles along the streets in those areas, according to Dan Sullivan, 8 Running Springs Road. This tradition, which is about a decade old, started when Art Bolles, William Henry Drive, and neighbors placed candles on both sides of the streets in the Lombard Estates area. Sullivan then began a concerted effort to involve families of both neighborhoods and surrounding streets. Only pouring rain forces the lighting to be postponed to Christmas night.

Much to the surprise of Mrs. Dorothy Philbrook, Burton Street in Westbrook, there were six blossoms on her forsythia on a warm day prior to the first snowstorm of the season.

Dec. 19, 2001

As the driver was out behind the truck dispensing part of its load of 10,000 gallons of regular and high-test gas into the tanks at Holly’s Super Gas, 380 Main St., Westbrook, yesterday morning, a fire, evidently electrical, broke out inside the truck’s cab. It was around 7 a.m., and Ralph Leo was inside in a back office. His daughter, Rachel Gendron, was just arriving, as was her sister, Michelle Leo, with her mother, Holly Leo. The truck cab’s door was open and Rachel and Michelle both saw the flames inside at about the same time. The driver, Albert Davis of Jay, ran to the flaming cab, pulling out its fire extinguisher and battled the flames with it. “He was a hero,” said Rachel Gendron.

Westbrook optometrist Dr. David Lowell and his son Andy, to whom Dr. Lowell donated part of his liver in an operation on Dec. 11, were both doing well as of Monday, though a complication had arisen that day that sent Andy back into surgery. That word came yesterday from Andy’s boyhood friend, Josh Griffith, staying at the Lowell family home and passing messages to a telephone “tree” of friends. Griffith said early word was that Andy, 24, came through the surgery very nicely and his body was doing well with the new liver, and Dr. Lowell was doing well also.

Harry T. Foote, American Journal editor and publisher, was given the Westbrook Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award during the group’s monthly breakfast meeting Friday.

The FBI said yesterday it is involved in the investigation of an armed holdup of the Gorham Regional Credit Union branch office at 397 Ossipee Trail (Route 25), Gorham, about 2:30 p.m. Dec. 12. It is working on the case with the Gorham Police Department. The robbed office is in the same building as Nicely’s Market, but has its own entrance. Police said several thousand dollars was taken.

Lori Roussin, secretary at Westbrook’s Public Works Department for nearly 12 years, was named city Employee of the Year at Monday’s City Council meeting. She received a plaque and an extra week’s vacation. She was praised for her cheerful demeanor and boundless flexibility in responding to the needs of the department and the citizens.

These buildings once stood on Main Street just west of Bridge Street. The building on the right was 881 Main Street with George’s Barber Shop (George Belanger) and The Smoke Shop (Mabel Shapiro) on the first floor.  Margaret Shane operated a rooming house on the upper floors.

The large building in the center was the L.W. Knight & Son Hardware Store, which was owned and operated by Leland W. Knight and his son Robert and later by Mr. and Mrs. Jim Sanderson. The next building at 885 Main Street was Pete’s Diner,  which was owned and operated by Pierre Z. Gaudreau. (The Smoke Shop later became Kit’s Smoke Shop (Kit Nadeau) and the diner became Len’s Diner (Lenny Jacques).

During urban renewal, 881 Main St. was demolished, the Knights Hardware building was dismantled and moved to Scarborough and the diner was moved to Windham. A parking lot now occupies the space where these buildings once stood.

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.