Looking Back

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Westbrook had one of the first electric locomotives in the state. This photo, taken about 1882, shows a locomotive equipped with two 6-horsepower motors. It hauled one freight car at a time from the Westbrook Railway Station through Mechanic Street across Main Street on tracks that ran between 901  (Armory Apts.) and 907 Main St. The tracks crossed the Presumpscot River on a bridge to the Westbrook Manufacturing Company on Bridge Street at Dana Court. (One Riverfront Plaza now occupies the site of the Westbrook Manufacturing Company) The Railroad Bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1896 and never rebuilt. The Westbrook Manufacturing Company went out of business that same year because of the same flood. All traces of the railroad are long gone, but 901 and 907 Main St. are still standing.

Jan. 27, 1993
“I don’t know what they want for nothing!” Mayor Fred Wescott said in a moment of frustration Thursday as he discussed the state’s refusal to take over Westbrook’s Forest Street School. State inspectors have said it needs more than $1 million in work. The building was to be sold to the state for $1 as the new home of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. Francis Amoroso, the MDEA’s director, still hopes it can be. But the Maine Bureau of Public Improvements has turned thumbs down. “It’s a lot better building than the one they’re in,” Wescott said. “Remember, there were kids in there this year.” School Superintendent Edward Connolly told the School Committee Wednesday that the $1 million figure confirms his department’s judgment about what the building needs.

The Irwin Co. of Gorham will be highlighted on the “Made in Maine” TV show that airs Jan. 28 on Maine Public Broadcasting. The company has markets in Canada, South America, Australia and Europe, and employs about 150 people. The business specializes in the manufacturing of cutting tools, taps and dies.

Mayor Fred Wescott has proclaimed January as “Westbrook High School Marching Band and Boosters Month in the City of Westbrook,” and honors have been coming to the band and its director, George Bookataub, in a flock. The band traveled to Pasadena, California, earlier this month to participate in the Rose Bowl Parade at the invitation of parade organizers. Wescott presented his proclamation to Bookataub in a ceremony at last week’s City Council meeting. He praised the boosters for raising more than $200,000 to make the trip possible. Bookataub and band members received two more presentations at the School Committee meeting the next night. On Friday evening, the Portland Lodge of Elks will be host to the band at a big banquet to be held in its honor. Color photos of the band’s performance in the parade will be displayed Monday in the school cafeteria. They will be sold for $10 each.

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Libby (the former Jeanette Carrier), 72 Mighty St., Gorham, celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary Jan. 11 in their home. They were married in 1947 in Dover, New Hampshire, and on their 40th anniversary renewed their vows at the School Street United Methodist Church. The Libbys have seven children and 10 grandchildren. Walter is a retiree from S.D. Warren Co.

Jan. 29, 2003
Steven Roberts resigned his position as Westbrook police chief last Wednesday after being out on medical leave for more than three months with problems caused by what he called the most stressful time in his years as chief. Shortly before he left, the police union voted no confidence in the chief’s leadership. Roberts, 51, will stay on medical leave until June 30. The city will begin looking for his replacement in the spring. Roberts didn’t describe his medical condition in detail, but said it was caused by stress. “In all this time of dealing with the medical-related issues, I’ve just come to realize family and life are more important than work,” Roberts said.

Westbrook City Councilor Bruce Chuluda announced Friday he is joining the Republican Party, a move that could signal his intention to run for mayor. Chuluda was elected to his council seat as an independent. He said he decided to become a Republican because he shared a “common vision” with the party.

Paul and Dianne LaConte of 8 Louis St., Westbrook, were honored at a 50th wedding anniversary party Jan. 19 at the Eagles Club in Westbrook. Their children and partners hosted the party. They were Michael and Beverly LeConte, Toby LeConte, Lori and Joel Hawkes and Lisa Finlay and John Mazzioti. Also in attendance and helping were their five grandchildren. Paul and Dianne graduated from Westbrook High School in 1952.

About 20 residents of Morrill Avenue in Gorham gathered in front of Gorham High School Saturday for a Planning Board site walk of a 27-unit condo project proposed for 7.5 acres on their street – a project they oppose. Residents came armed with petitions saying the project would add too much traffic to their already busy residential street and negatively affect their quality of life. The condos are proposed by Greg McCormack and Amy Mulkerin and are designed to be a “village within a village,” targeting empty-nesters and retirees. It could add as much as $8 million in valuation. The 27 units would be located in five buildings. “We hope the board is going to listen to our worries about traffic,” said Mike Chabot, a Morrill Avenue resident.

Shiquan James, a seventh-grader at Wescott Junior High School, will complete for national awards and scholarships after winning a Gold Key Award in the 2003 regional Scholastic Art Awards at Maine College of Art. Over 250 students, parents and art teachers from Across Maine attended the awards ceremony Jan. 11.

Westbrook had one of the first electric locomotives in the state. This photo, taken about 1882, shows a locomotive equipped with two 6-horsepower motors. It hauled one freight car at a time from the Westbrook Railway Station through Mechanic Street across Main Street on tracks that ran between 901  (Armory Apts.) and 907 Main St. The tracks crossed the Presumpscot River on a bridge to the Westbrook Manufacturing Company on Bridge Street at Dana Court. (One Riverfront Plaza now occupies the site of the Westbrook Manufacturing Company) The Railroad Bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1896 and never rebuilt. The Westbrook Manufacturing Company went out of business that same year because of the same flood. All traces of the railroad are long gone, but 901 and 907 Main St. are still standing.