Looking Back

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This building at 820 Main St. was known for years as the Peterson Block. Paul's Garage (Paul Lebel) operated a garage out of the first floor in the 1940s. New England Telephone Company operated the Westbrook Exchange on the second floor before moving to Portland. Stultz Auto and later Stultz Sporting Goods (Charles Stultz) took over the first floor when the garage moved. Durgin-Snow Publishing Company (Roger Snow), publisher of the Westbrook American,  opened his office here in the early 1950s. Harry Foote purchased the business and operated out of this location for many years. Cumberland Farms opened its first Westbrook store here before building a store on Main Street at Stroudwater Street. Oxford Bank & Trust Company moved in and remained for a number of years. The building has since been renovated and a third floor added. Offices occupy the second and third floors. 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.

Oct. 14, 1992

The Westbrook High School Marching Band is in competition every Saturday night this month, but the big, big competition is over. The band and its friends have earned all the money needed to get to the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, and home again. Nearly a year ago the band and its friends were handed the goal: raise $200,000. In the end, the Westbrook Music Boosters raised $217,038.24. After expenses of $16,006.78, they have $201,031.46. That’s $6,031.46 more than the minimum needed. The boosters held their first fundraising meeting Nov. 25, 1991, with George Bookataub, the Westbrook school music director, a few days after Bookataub got the electrifying news that the band was invited to march in “the world’s most-watched parade.”

Edwin “Bill” Robertson’s love affair with trains began in his backyard in Cumberland Mills, when as a preschooler he scaled a fence to gaze at locomotives as they roared past his home. The 71-year-old Gorham native took his first photo of a train with the family box camera when he was in high school. That photo appears on page 48 of his eighth book on trains and their surroundings, “The Grand Trunk Railway Photo Album.” This is the 13th book published by the Westbrook entrepreneur, who works in the garage-basement of his home. He puts the books together himself from beginning to end. The only thing he doesn’t do himself are bind and put the cover on.

The Beano Committee of Westbrook Memorial Post 197 has changed the format for their games by offering a choice of paper or hard cards. The change takes effect this month. Bean is played each Monday night at 6:30.

The Gorham Christian Church, Elkins Road, has welcomed Pastor Forbe L. Carlson as its minister. He comes from Calvary Temple, Sterling, Virginia, where he was youth pastor for 11 years. He also taught math and science in the Calvary Temple School. His wife, Ruth, is also a teacher. They live in Westbrook with their two children, 7 and 5.

The sale of the Prides Corner Professional Building, at 386 Bridgton Road, was the top-dollar Westbrook real estate deal in August. Eye physician and surgeon Dr. Elliott Schweid bought it for $848,645 from Laurence Miller, Kirksville, Missouri.

Oct. 16, 2002

Westbrook Police Chief Steven Roberts was on medical leave this week after receiving a no-confidence vote from the patrolmen’s union. Representatives from the Westbrook Police Association met with Administrative Assistant Jerre Bryant last week to discuss problems that led to a 23-4 vote on Oct. 4 in favor of no confidence in Roberts, who has been chief for eight years. Bryant said in a prepared statement that the department had been operating with its “resources stretched to the limit … The strain placed on the organization has caused great frustration for everyone, including elevating tension between staff and administration.”

The Friends of the Presumpscot hopes to rally public support and put pressure on Sappi to remove its dams on the river. They’ve attracted a well-known Maine politician to their cause – former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who will speak Friday at a meeting held by the group at the American Legion in Westbrook. Sappi still relies on the seven dams it owns to power its mill operation in Westbrook and has so far been unwilling to remove them. With a total of nine dams holding the flow of water back, the Presumpscot is one of the most heavily dammed rivers in the country.

Only a handful of people were at a public hearing last week to discuss what should be done to the aging Charles E. Shaw School once the new middle school opens, and that has some members of the Town Council worried. “At least $1 million to as much as $6.5 million will have to be spent before this building is usable,” Councilor Burleigh Loveitt said at the close of the hearing. “We urge people, especially those in the neighborhood, to participate in deciding how much money will be spent.”

A demolition crew cleared away the debris from an old market that was razed on Brown Street Monday to make way for a possible park, after the city took the property for unpaid back taxes several years ago. City Councilor John O’Hara and the Brown Neighborhood Association pushed for the property seizure, as will as the demolition, to increase public access to the west side of the Presumpscot. O’Hara said he envisioned the property as a park with a launch for canoes and kayaks. “It’s the gateway into Frenchtown,” he said.

This building at 820 Main St. was known for years as the Peterson Block. Paul’s Garage (Paul Lebel) operated a garage out of the first floor in the 1940s. New England Telephone Company operated the Westbrook Exchange on the second floor before moving to Portland. Stultz Auto and later Stultz Sporting Goods (Charles Stultz) took over the first floor when the garage moved. Durgin-Snow Publishing Company (Roger Snow), publisher of the Westbrook American,  opened his office here in the early 1950s. Harry Foote purchased the business and operated out of this location for many years. Cumberland Farms opened its first Westbrook store here before building a store on Main Street at Stroudwater Street. Oxford Bank & Trust Company moved in and remained for a number of years. The building has since been renovated and a third floor added. Offices occupy the second and third floors. 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.