Looking Back

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  Joe Schmoes American Grill was the final occupant of this building at Westbrook Plaza. The original occupant was Lum's Restaurant, followed by Donnolly's Restaurant and then Governor's. After Joe Schmoes, the building was vacant for several years before it was demolished. The site is now part of the parking lot at Westbrook Crossing. 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.

March 18, 1992

Wayne Littlefield, Marlu Street, Westbrook, dropped by the American Journal office the other day to bring us a gift – a signed photograph of the singer and sax player Rudy Vallee. He’s been cleaning out and felt he didn’t need it. This fine portrait of a famous son of Westbrook will go on display to the public in our offices. Littlefield, 83, knew Vallee “before he was ever heard of.” Littlefield’s first job was doing repair work and helping at the counter at Eastern Musical Supply in Portland. Vallee used to come in to buy saxophone reeds, pads and so forth.

Jim Blais, 31, Laffin Drive, Westbrook, faces a long recovery after a hit-and-run snowmobiler ran into him as he stood on the ice of Rangeley Lake early March 7. The impact broke both his legs and sent him 30 feet or so through the air. His buddies found him unconscious and, until he came to, they weren’t sure if he was still alive. Jim is now at home, wheelchair bound, in a lot of pain, with casts on both legs below the knee. He’ll likely be laid up for two or three months. The man who did it stopped briefly, then left without giving his name, saying he was going to get help. He has not been found.

A dance will be held at the Dunn Street Legion Hall in Westbrook March 21, with proceeds to go toward the medical expenses of Richard Willoughby. Willoughby, the well-liked proprietor of the downtown bar The Bus Stop, has been hospitalized since a customer stabbed him in the neck while Willoughby was escorting him from the premises Jan. 31. The band, Hair of the Dog, led by Eddy Lester, will play.

A part-time high school English teacher and freelance writer has been named volunteer coordinator for Westbrook Schools. Denise Compton, Yarmouth, will oversee the training and scheduling of all parent volunteers working in the city’s schools. Her job was created at the recommendation of the Volunteer Study Committee, formed 10 months ago to study volunteerism in the schools. Her 25-hour-a-week position is funded by a $14,500 grant from the S.D. Warren Co.

Edna Woodward became the latest holder of Gorham’s Boston Post Cane, signifying her status as the town’s oldest citizen, in a ceremony Thursday at the Gorham House, where she now lives. Born Edna Leavitt in Windham in 1890, she will be 102 years old on Aug. 14. She attended Gorham schools as a child and, according to her son Gilbert, 74, a New York resident, she is the oldest living graduate of Wellesley College. She married Louis B. Woodward in 1916 and had four children. He was a professor in the science department at the Gorham Normal School for 41 years, and they lived in a landmark house on Gorham’s Main Street – the first house in town to be electrified.

Guy and Jan Labrecque, 13 Hurricane Road, Gorham, are back from Virginia and Florida. They first visited their son and his wife in Virginia Beach. Then they toured the Florida Everglades in 70- to 80-degree temperatures.

March 20, 2002

The Gorham Town Council has voted 7-0 for work to start on expanding Baxter Library as soon as weather permits, without waiting for voter approval in a June 11 referendum. The council ordered the referendum, which asks voters to approve the $2.5 million job, on March 5. By starting construction two months before the vote, councilors seem to be signaling their confidence that the voters will vote yes.

“Nothing’s been decided or announced. What I’ve done is to ask all department heads for their recommendations on how to deal with the process,” Westbrook Mayor Don Esty said, when asked who would be acting city administrator after Jim Bennett’s last day on the job Friday. Bennett will start as Lewiston city administrator next week. “We’ve talked about a collaborative effort or about one person being a point person,” the role that Bennett has played jointly with the mayor on most matters, Esty said.

The Westbrook School Committee gave 7-0 approval Wednesday for Music Director George Bookataub to take the high school marching band to London for the English capital city’s New Year’s Day Parade, Jan, 1, 2004. The students will leave Dec. 26 and return Jan. 2. Choosing London over a repeat invitation to Pasadena for 2004, Bookataub said he expects London to cost less. He suggested a cost of $1,000 each for 100 students. Meanwhile, Westbrook High’s Jazz Ensemble and Combo groups each placed first of 11 schools competing in the Maine State High School Jazz Festival in Houlton Saturday. The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Phil Rich and the Jazz Combo by Tony Boffa.

Eva and Joseph H. Francoeur, 254 Stroudwater St., Westbrook, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Feb. 7. They took the Amtrak train and had dinner in a Boston restaurant. They have four children and six grandchildren.

The Rev. Dr. Richard L. Small is the new associate minister of the First Parish Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Gorham. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Maine and a master’s of divinity from Bangor Theological Seminary, where he also received his doctorate 12 years later. In 1984 he began 15 years as senior minister of the North Windham Union Church. He’s also served as Fryeburg Congregational Church interim minster and for the last year he has been interim associate minister in Yarmouth.

 

Joe Schmoes American Grill was the final occupant of this building at Westbrook Plaza. The original occupant was Lum’s Restaurant, followed by Donnolly’s Restaurant and then Governor’s. After Joe Schmoes, the building was vacant for several years before it was demolished. The site is now part of the parking lot at Westbrook Crossing. 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.