Looking Back

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The Warren Parish formed in Cumberland Mills in 1868 when some Westbrook Congregational Church members were given permission to separate. The Warren Congregational Church was built at Cumberland Street and Warren Avenue on land donated by Samuel D. Warren, owner of the S.D. Warren paper mill. Dedicated on July 8, 1869, the building served the congregation for over 100 years. In 1880 a wooden parish house was built next to the church on the Cumberland Street side. A brick Parish Hall was built behind the church facing Warren Avenue in 1957. Warren Congregational merged with Westbrook Congregational after Urban Renewal took the old WestbrookCongregational building in the 1970s, and a new church was built onMain Street. The city purchased the Warren church property andthe old church was demolished. The parsonage was sold and moved to upper Cumberland Street near the Windham line. The Parish Hall was renovated to become the Westbrook Police Station and served until the new Public Safety Building was constructed several years ago. Maine Medical Center purchased the old police station and demolished it to make way for a new office building. 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.

Nov. 11, 1992

Some ballots were counted twice in Precinct 1 of Ward 1 in Westbrook Nov. 3. That, combined with a late-hour report in this heavily watched election, probably means voting machines next year. With hand counting, the last Westbrook results weren’t reported until soon after 4 a.m. Wednesday, Nov 4. The double counts in Ward 1 were discovered Wednesday. No results were changed when the errors were corrected.

Westbrook voters favored Democrats Bill Clinton for president and Tom Andrews for U.S. 1st District representative in elections last week. Donald Esty, the Democrat, beat Al Hawkes, Republican, for the state Senate. Democratic incumbent William O’Gara beat Republican Frank Cushing for Maine House District 33, and Democratic incumbent William Lemke beat Republican Robert H. Smith for House District 34.

Westbrook is ready to spend a $50,000 Jobs Bond grant to construct a new City Council meeting place in the City Hall Annex, the one-time manual training building behind the old high school. The council gave final approval last week to a contract with NorCoeur Construction Co. in Westbrook to do the work, which is expected to start soon. The new council chamber will be on the first floor of the building.  

Gorham’s Shaw Junior High School will overflow with students within three years, Portland architect Joe Feely told the Gorham School Committee recently, as he presented an update to the system’s master plan. It’s time for school and town officials to get together in an effort to solve the problem, he said. “The projected 35 percent increase in students simply cannot be absorbed by the existing facility,” he said. The updated master plan will be discussed again by the School Committee Nov. 12.

Lionel Dumond, the alderman who proposed the charter amendment approved by Westbrook voters Nov. 3, said he was heartened by the result. “Give it a chance to work,” he said. The amendment requires two readings and two formal votes by the School Committee on any purchase over $1,000.

The Phinney Street neighborhood in Gorham held its own no-cost version of Halloween thrills, “Spooky Wagon Rides for Little Kids,” on Nov. 1. The big kids filled the pine trees in Dan and Kathleen Masterson’s back yard with spider webs, bats, ghosts and spooky scarecrows. Then, dressed in their scariest, they led the little kids on wagon rides through the pines. Everyone had such a good time, a second round of spooky rides took place by popular demand.

Nov. 13, 2002

Gorham has received applications or had preliminary discussions with developers for 249 single-family homes in subdivisions alone since January, a building boom that could overtax town services. Assistant Town Planner Aaron Shields said the town has become a magnet for both new homebuyers and developers, who have been priced out of the towns closer to Portland. There have been 14 subdivision proposals submitted or approved since the beginning of the year, and that’s only part of the picture. Subdivisions don’t reflect the one- or two-lot developments. The combined numbers make Gorham one of the fastest-growing towns in the state.

The lawyer representing the Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribe, Tom Tureen, will make the pitch for putting a casino in Westbrook at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast Nov. 22. Ray Richardson, chamber vice president, said he doesn’t know whether he supports a casino in Westbrook, but said because of the potential tax savings a casino could bring, he believes the city should at least discuss it. City Councilor John O’Hara tried to get other councilors to start talking about putting a casino in Westbrook last month, but didn’t get far – other councilors were reluctant to discuss it.

A familiar and loved face at Westbrook’s City Hall, Dottie Day, died Sunday at 67. “She’s just a feisty character I’ve known for a long time,” said Mayor Donald Esty. “We’ll miss her a lot.” Most Westbrook residents knew Day as the person who helped them get birth, death or marriage certificates. She worked as the assistant city clerk for seven years.

Irwin Novak and Mary Snell, who live on Middle Jam Road in Gorham, will return to Greece next summer to teach. Novak, a geology professor at the University of Southern Maine, and Snell, a USM staff member, taught a course last summer called “The Cultural Landscape of Greece” in Athens and on the Isle of Levos. This summer’s course is titled “Environmental Geology.”

The Gorham Planning Board will decide next week whether to proceed with a proposed 500-foot trail from Shaw Park to the first phase of a new Mountain Division Trail being constructed from Windham to Fryeburg. The trail crosses an open common area that is part of the 1986 Riverwood subdivision on Partridge Lane. Earlier this year the board approved giving an easement for the trail to the Maine Department of Transportation, but Craig and Diane Reynolds, who own a home on Partridge Lane, sued the town, claiming that building the trail violated covenants attached to the common land, and the town had exceeded its authority.

Republican Carolyn Gilman upset Democratic Sen. Bill O’Gara last week, a well-known political figure in Westbrook who has won election after election in this predominantly Democratic city. O’Gara was the only Democratic incumbent to lose in Westbrook. He said he believes negative ads paid for by Maine Unlimited, a political action committee, hurt his campaign. Gilman said she had nothing to do with the ads.

The Warren Parish formed in Cumberland Mills in 1868 when some Westbrook Congregational Church members were given permission to separate. The Warren Congregational Church was built at Cumberland Street and Warren Avenue on land donated by Samuel D. Warren, owner of the S.D. Warren paper mill. Dedicated on July 8, 1869, the building served the congregation for over 100 years. In 1880 a wooden parish house was built next to the church on the Cumberland Street side. A brick Parish Hall was built behind the church facing Warren Avenue in 1957. Warren Congregational merged with Westbrook Congregational after Urban Renewal took the old Westbrook
Congregational building in the 1970s, and a new church was built on
Main Street. The city purchased the Warren church property and
the old church was demolished. The parsonage was sold and moved to upper Cumberland Street near the Windham line. The Parish Hall was renovated to become the Westbrook Police Station and served until the new Public Safety Building was constructed several years ago. Maine Medical Center purchased the old police station and demolished it to make way for a new office building. 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.