Looking Back

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Vallee Drug Store operated at Main and Bridge streets in Westbrook for many years. The business was originally the C.B. Woodman Drug Store, started by Charles B. Woodman in 1869 across Main Street. Woodman Drug Store moved here and was eventually sold to longtime employee Charles Vallee, the father of Rudy Vallee who achieved fame and fortune in the theater. The business retained the Vallee name long after Charles Vallee retired, and it operated into the 1970s. 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. 23, 1992

With a new purchasing requirement – two separate votes on anything over $1,000 – about to take effect Jan. 1, it has come out this month that the Westbrook School Committee spend $289,442 on purchases July 14 on single-reading votes, with scant, if any, notice of its meeting. The spending took place by unanimous votes at a meeting in the superintendent’s office at 5:15 p.m., after a 5 p.m. “agenda meeting.” The purchases included duplicator supplies, desks, chairs, books and 117 computers and computer supplies. The School Committee was told by consultant William C. Riley earlier this month that computer spending must continue indefinitely. “Technology is changing daily and if meaningful computer literacy is to remain a part of our curriculum, there must be a continued commitment toward funding additional technological expertise, additional software and additional hardware,” he said.

Effective Jan. 1, 1993, the Sandy Hill landfill on Saco Street in Westbrook will be closed. All household rubbish must be placed at curbside for the regular weekly collection. The metal and tire disposal operation at the Sandy Hill site will be moved to the Rocky Hill demolition site on Methodist Road.

Gorham councilors this month approved amendments to the Land Use and Development Code that will make Gorham more business friendly. Town Planner Jay Grande said that revised regulations streamline the review process and provide specific time frames and criteria for his department and the Planning Board to use for reviews. The new rules, which take effect Jan. 1, also reduce the number of special exception uses in zoning districts.

Two Gorham educators have donated $500 to establish a perpetual trust fund to be used for eye examinations for needy children. The money was offered by Cindy and Patrick O’Shea, Narragansett School principal and Chapter 1 reading teacher, respectively. They want the money available immediately for qualified children at the Kindergarten Center, White Rock and Narragansett schools. They intend to add to the fund next April.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. George R. Howard, Garfield Street, Westbrook, will be home for the holidays: George II, a junior in communications at Southern Vermont College; Amy, a sophomore in elementary education at Saint Joseph’s College; and Sarah, a freshman accounting major at Thomas College.

Dec. 24, 2002

Every family has its holiday traditions. This week, the American Journal talked to local residents about what they’ve done in the past and what they plan this year. Every year, Georgette Cote of Westbrook makes an ornament for each of her 16 children and grandchildren. Their trees are filled with her ornaments. She specializes in snowflakes. Dave Charest of Westbrook said he and his wife usually have about 25 to 30 children and grandchildren come to their house for Christmas. His wife cooks meat pies. For Margaret Wilkis, who works in the music department at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham, the one tradition that sets their holiday apart is having breakfast burritos on Christmas morning. It began years ago by her mother, who is Spanish.

The man who has been Santa Claus to two generations of Westbrook residents, Charlie Kilbride, will retire this year after playing Santa for the past 25 years. Every year, Kilbride has built a Christmas village in Westbrook out of cardboard, carpets, garland, parachutes and fake snow. He also played Santa for area schools, but stopped going to most of them about 10 years ago when the schools became stricter about keeping Christmas celebrations out. The 71-year-old Kilbride said putting up and taking down the Christmas village – a process that takes several days – has gotten to be too much work. He’s been trying to find someone to take over, “but nobody has been willing to commit to it,” he said.

The president of Norway Savings Bank said last week that the bank is looking to develop new branches along the Route 25 corridor between Westbrook and Limington. Robert Harmon told the American Journal that the bank, which merged with Coastal Bank last year, is looking at sites in Standish and Gorham, including a site on Main Street near Gorham Village.

From the Gorham Police Notes: A Files Road resident on Dec. 10 reported that her horses are being bothered by coyotes. She’s worried her Arabian horse will get loose. On Forest Circle, a resident reported that a skunk was not letting her leave home. Every time she attempted to go out the door, the skunk waited on the porch.

Vallee Drug Store operated at Main and Bridge streets in Westbrook for many years. The business was originally the C.B. Woodman Drug Store, started by Charles B. Woodman in 1869 across Main Street. Woodman Drug Store moved here and was eventually sold to longtime employee Charles Vallee, the father of Rudy Vallee who achieved fame and fortune in the theater. The business retained the Vallee name long after Charles Vallee retired, and it operated into the 1970s. 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