Looking Back

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This photo was taken in the early 1970s looking east from Central Street, which once was connected to Main Street. Looking right to left, the one-story building had been recently vacated by Western Auto and the A &P Store. LaVerdiere's Super Drug would later move in. The next two buildings were occupied by the Men's Shop, and next was the Scates building also known as the Masonic Building. In the distance is the steeple of the Westbrook Congregational Church. Family Dollar Store now occupies the one-story building; the rest of the buildings are gone. CVS occupies the site of the Men's Shop and Scates buildings. 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. 2, 1992

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency wants to move its headquarters to the Forest Street School in Westbrook. Westbrook gave it a warm but preliminary welcome Monday. The state agency has been at the Pineland Center since it was formed four years ago. Francis Amoroso, its director, said it wants to be close to the population center and other law enforcement agencies. The state director of the anti-drug program DARE would also move to the Forest Street School, from Waterville. The City Council’s Committee of the Whole voted to recommend to the council that the city give the MDEA a one-year lease for $1 with two conditions: the School Committee release the building and the Planning Board give its OK for use by the MDEA. The school was closed in June and has been on minimum-heat maintenance.

College officials are planning to create a defined fine arts center on the University of Southern Maine Gorham campus with a pedestrian plaza between Russell Hall, Corthell Hall and Robie Andrews Hall. “We’re seeking to link the arts buildings together,” said David Early, director of facilities management. Work will occur over the next five years, culminating with the completion of the pedestrian plaza.

Superintendent Edward Connolly said he would notify Public Cable Co. to go ahead with equipping Room 114 in Westbrook High School for cable-casting of Westbrook School Committee meetings. The committee voted Monday to spend up to $35,000 for equipment. Connolly said he expects the cable cameras, lights and wiring to be ready for use in January or February.

Maude Wentzell Robie, Woodlawn Avenue, Westbrook, the widow of Frank Robie Sr., will celebrate her 103rd birthday Dec. 3. She recently entered the Springbrook Nursing Care Center (their oldest resident). She was born Dec. 3, 1889, in Melrose, Massachusetts. Maude and Frank had six children. There are nine grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and several great-great grandchildren. Maude was presented last year with a gold cane as Westbrook’s oldest citizen.

Dec. 4, 2002

The newest member of the Gorham Police Department had a short but memorable stint. The 13-month-old German shepherd known as Edy led Gorham’s finest on a 20-hour chase through North Gorham before being collared near the Pope Road at 1 p.m. the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The misadventure caused more than a few anxious moments for the department, but what has really saddened Officer Sears Edwards, who was Edy’s future partner, is that because of kidney problems, the dog is just not fit for the physical demands of the job. Edwards and Edy were getting ready for work when the dog made his escape shortly before 5 p.m. on Monday. The $5,000 for the dog and its training had been donated by Hannaford and the Milk Bone biscuit company.

The land that Westbrook’s urban renewal forgot – the west end of Main Street – could see some drastic changes in the next few years. An office building and a bank may replace the old Maine Rubber buildings. An office building and a restaurant may replace Saccarappa Park, and the city plans to redo the street and sidewalks and add new lighting. The city identified the area as “slum and blight” in an application for a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant. The city has been negotiating with the owners of the old Maine Rubber buildings and hopes to demolish one and renovate another.

Leigh-Ann Esty didn’t have to go to New York to learn a perfect pirouette. She learned it in Westbrook at the Maine School for the Performing Arts, where she’s been a student since the age of 8. Now, the 16-year-old from Gorham is playing the lead role of Clara for the second year in the Maine State Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker.”

Two privately owned athletic facilities are being proposed in Gorham. A 7,000-square-foot fitness facility is being proposed on Route 25, adjacent to the TNT Plaza, by Flannery Properties, and a 5,000-square-foot dome is proposed by Steve Martin on Narragansett Street. Martin is proposing a dome cover because it is less expensive than putting up a metal building. Town Planner Deborah Fossum said both projects are exciting but both are also likely to come under close scrutiny by the Planning Board. Traffic is a big issue for both, Fossum said, but could be more critical for the fitness center on Route 25, where traffic is extremely busy.

This photo was taken in the early 1970s looking east from Central Street, which once was connected to Main Street. Looking right to left, the one-story building had been recently vacated by Western Auto and the A &P Store. LaVerdiere’s Super Drug would later move in. The next two buildings were occupied by the Men’s Shop, and next was the Scates building also known as the Masonic Building. In the distance is the steeple of the Westbrook Congregational Church. Family Dollar Store now occupies the one-story building; the rest of the buildings are gone. CVS occupies the site of the Men’s Shop and Scates buildings. 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.