Looking Back

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This photo was taken when the Westbrook Senior Citizens leased a clubhouse at 159 Cumberland St. The house on S.D.Warren property was known as the John Warren House. It was built in 1882 for John Warren, the mill agent and nephew of S.D. Warren. John, born in 1840, grew up on a Wisconsin farm and at age 21 enlisted in the Second Wisconsin Regiment, later transferring to the Seventh Wisconsin Battery. In 1864, he was captured and spent the duration of the war at Andersonville Confederate Prison. He came to Westbrook in 1866 and worked in his uncle's mill, first as a supervisor and then as agent following the death of agent William Longley in 1884. The title of agent was changed to manager during his tenure, so he was the last agent and first mill manager. In 1871 John was elected town treasurer. He also teamed up with Woodbury K. Dana (Dana Warp Mills) to create Westbrook Light & Power Co. to bring electricity to the town. John Warren died in 1915. In 1980, Malcolm Kimball bought the house and moved it to Cottage Place. 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.

June 10, 1992

Under protest and with a sense of resignation, the Gorham Town Council last week reluctantly agreed to adopt state-mandated shoreland zoning rules that require wide buffers along rivers and streams and will affect around 600 parcels of land in town. Town Attorney Bill Dale had told the council that Gorham would be subject to fines from the Department of Environmental Protection for every day after July 1 that the Shoreland Zoning Act requirements were not adopted. Councilor John Emerson urged communities to stand up against the excessive restrictions in the act. “Every so often in a democracy if you don’t agree with something, you have to stand up. If enough communities do, it will be repealed.”

Fire broke out Monday night and again yesterday morning in an old black liquor condensing tank being cut up at the S.D. Warren paper mill in Westbrook. City fire and rescue and Gorham Rescue units were called to help get the first fire out. During a second attempt to cut the tank yesterday, the contents again caught fire. The mill’s fire brigade was standing by and planned to monitor the second blaze and let it burn itself out. Black liquor is the residue of wood pulp digesting, mainly wood pitch, various other wood chemicals plus sulfur and soda from the digesting chemicals. Once ignited, it burns with a fierce heat, and is used to fuel the recovery boiler at the mill.

Before there was Cindy Blodgett, before there was Stephanie Carter, Rachel Bouchard, Cathy Iaconeta or most any Maine schoolgirl or college basketball player who pushed the female version of the game to a higher level. In the modern era, there was Lisa Blais. That’s why, 11 years after leading Westbrook High School to the last of four straight Class A schoolgirl basketball titles and seven years after helping lead Old Dominion University of Norfolk, Va., to the NCAA Division 1 women’s hoop title, Lisa Blais Manning was picked to lead eight males into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. Manning, now 29, married, with one child and another on the way, was inducted during ceremonies Sunday. “I would say this is one of the most exciting times of my career, after working so hard to get where I did,” said Manning, now an assistant director of the Westbrook Recreation Department.

Sunday burials will be permitted henceforth in Gorham, the Town Council voted unanimously last week. They have been barred for years, originally because they required overtime payments to Public Works employees. For about six years, however, the work has been done by private contractors, who have Sunday crews available.

Guess who? We recently learned that a well-dressed senior citizen lady placed a lovely basket of flowers on the grave of Rudy Vallee prior to Memorial Day.

In a ceremony July 13, the University of Southern Maine will dedicate at its Gorham campus the Kenneth T.M. Brooks Student Center, to be named in honor of the Gorham man who was president of the campus, then Gorham State College, from 1960-1970. The center was built in 1969-70 and has been known simply as the dining center. It includes a 500-seat cafeteria, meeting rooms, book store and student activity areas. Under Brooks, the college grew from 700 students to more than 3,000.

Six alert citizens who saw burglaries or thefts in action and contacted police will be given Citizen Crime Watch Awards in the annual ceremony sponsored by Northern Utilities. Among the six are Lynn Emery and Joseph Wattie of Westbrook and Russell Marquis of Gorham.

June 12, 2002

Harry Sproul, a friend to Westbrook firefighters and for decades a volunteer assistant at the Mechanic Street and Central fire stations, was given a surprise party May 10, his 90th birthday, at the South Portland Nursing Home, where he has lived for three years. Prior to that he had lived in Westbrook, where, Memorial Days, he rode a fire engine in the parade. In his more active years, he ran errands for the firemen, made coffee and always kept in touch with what was going on in downtown Westbrook with almost daily visits.

Renate Schultz is valedictorian, Christine Ash is salutatorian and Stephen Perez is honor essayist of Westbrook High School’s class of 2002. Others in the top 12 are Adam Blais, Eric Dahms, Lewis Emery, Jason Cutler, Lauren Bergeron, Jenna Hall, Erin Wright, Mallory Adams and Shannon Esty.

Family Links, a new literacy program of the Gorham Center for Volunteers and Community Education, received a $25,000 grant from the Barbara Bush Foundation’s Maine Family Literacy Initiative in a ceremony Friday. Family Links encourages parents and their children to work together to strengthen reading skills.

Carmine F. Russo Jr., Westbrook’s police chief from 1982-1986, died Thursday in Portland. He served in the Westbrook police ranks from patrolman to chief 27 years, and after his retirement was elected to the Westbrook City Council. His home was at 21 Virginia Ave. in Westbrook.

Two Westbrook High School students chosen by adults will sit as non-voting student representatives on the School Committee under a plan going before the committee tonight. They would serve one-year terms and would earn a $150 scholarship presented at graduation.

Willis G. and Verna Strout, who went to Homossassa Springs, Florida, in November, arrived back at their home on Veranda Drive in Gorham in May. They had relatives and friends visit them in Florida and since their return to Gorham have visited Verna’s 93-year-old mother in Dover-Foxcroft, plus other relatives and friends.

The winning bidder, R.W. Herrick of Gorham, is gearing up for Gorham’s curbside rubbish and recycling program, which begins July 1. Bill Gooch, owner of R.W. Herrick, said his trucks will pick up everyone once weekly. There will be 4,500 stops, he said. Of the four bidders, R.W. Herrick won the Gorham contract with a five-year bid of $1,853,631. Pine Tree Waste came in second with $1,854,600. R.W. Herrick has been in Gorham for about 30 years.

This photo was taken when the Westbrook Senior Citizens leased a clubhouse at 159 Cumberland St. The house on S.D.Warren property was known as the John Warren House. It was built in 1882 for John Warren, the mill agent and nephew of S.D. Warren. John, born in 1840, grew up on a Wisconsin farm and at age 21 enlisted in the Second Wisconsin Regiment, later transferring to the Seventh Wisconsin Battery. In 1864, he was captured and spent the duration of the war at Andersonville Confederate Prison. He came to Westbrook in 1866 and worked in his uncle’s mill, first as a supervisor and then as agent following the death of agent William Longley in 1884. The title of agent was changed to manager during his tenure, so he was the last agent and first mill manager. In 1871 John was elected town treasurer. He also teamed up with Woodbury K. Dana (Dana Warp Mills) to create Westbrook Light & Power Co. to bring electricity to the town. John Warren died in 1915. In 1980, Malcolm Kimball bought the house and moved it to Cottage Place. 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.