Looking Back


June 23, 1993

Will Clarke, 13, a sixth-grader, wants to tell the Westbrook School Committee tonight about the cigarette smoke in Westbrook Junior High School. Teachers and other staff members who smoke, including Principal Spencer Hardy, smoke in the designated room, but it is a janitors’ supply room that has no windows and the door is always ajar or open, so smoke drifts out into the school, Clarke said last week. Clarke said he speaks for a group of three other students and feels that many more, including teachers, are concerned about the second-hand smoke.

From the Westbrook Police Notes: The driver who hit a deer on Route 302 at the Windham line took it with him. Dave Sparks took an injured squirrel home from 72 Church St. to let it recover. A moose was crossing the County Road back and forth at Spring Street at 9:30 a.m. At 4 a.m. the next morning, a moose was in downtown Westbrook, crossing Main Street at Westbrook Common and heading to Central Street.

Susan Rossignol, finance director, will serve as administrative assistant to Westbrook Mayor Fred Wescott while the search is on for a permanent replacement for Peter Eckel, who has resigned effective June 30. Rossignol makes $714.75 a week. While she’s in the Eckel job she’ll get an extra $199.50 Eckel gets $1,008. The council OK’d spending $3,000 to hire the Maine Municipal Association to help in the search for Eckel’s replacement.

Gorham High School ice hockey players will have a new coach next season. Bob Marquis has coached and played in Europe, Canada and Connecticut and currently teaches physical education at the junior high school. He’ll coach the summer league starting in July. Meanwhile, the Gorham Ice Hockey Association is close to signing a contract with the school department that would put the ice hockey program under school authority while the association funds the cost.

Mrs. Trudy Vigeant Scarborough, Wake Forest, North Carolina, formerly of Westbrook, spent a June week with her friend, Mrs. Bernice Poitras, 26 Pike St., Westbrook. They visited her relatives and friends and, as Mrs. Poitras said, “We just went everywhere.” When they were younger, both worked in Tom’s Restaurant in downtown Westbrook.

Richard and Chris Mitchell, owners of Horsefeathers Riding Stables, 178 County Road, Gorham, have a young newcomer. Their Belgian horse Kate presented them with a filly, yet to be named, June 10 – the first horse ever born at their stables. The filly is estimated to weigh 125 pounds.

June 25, 2003

Recalling the names of old teachers was a popular game at Westbrook’s old high school last week, as the Westbrook Housing Authority opened the building Wednesday and Thursday afternoons so that people could tour Presumpscot Commons, the newly renovated, rent-controlled apartments for the elderly on the site of the former school. A few tenants have begun to move into the apartments, which will be mostly filled by the end of July. “I’m glad they decided to make something useful out of it,” said Alice Withee as she toured the building. “They argued over it long enough.”

Westbrook city councilors gave a nod to developers who want to build an office building and restaurant on what is now Saccarappa Park. Though they didn’t vote, a majority of councilors expressed support for at least one of the two variations on the development proposal. The council’s support will allow city administration to begin working on a contract with the developers that would be brought back to the council in July. By supporting it, the council gave a tacit rejection to a competing proposal from Harry Foote, former owner of the American Journal. He had proposed paying $10,000 to keep the parcel as a park until the year 3003.

Seven years ago members of the School Street United Methodist Church voted to build a new church on donated land nearby and sell their historic, 123-year-old home in downtown Gorham to finance the project. The church building was listed for $500,000 and planning began for a new $1 million church on 12 acres at Main Street and Cressey Road. But no buyer has been found. “I guess you could say we are practicing the patience of Job,” said the Rev. Linwood Arnold. He said the congregation would certainly like to find a buyer who would preserve the building, but is not requiring this of any potential new use.

Barbara J. Jensen was honored at a surprise 70th birthday and retirement party on June 7, given by her children. Barbara is retiring from Westbrook High School after 23 years of working in the library and copy room. She plans on traveling and resuming her artwork.

From the Gorham Police Notes: A Gray Road woman reported that after she declined to buy a cell phone from a telemarketer, who spoke with what she described as an Arabic accent, she came home the next day to find a message from the same person saying that “Saddam Hussein was going to fly over her house and blow it up.”

This photo was taken in 1881 on Walker Street. Construction was being completed on a row of tenement houses for employees of the Westbrook Manufacturing Company. Many of the tenants were Scottish immigrants brought here for their skills in weaving and making gingham. The area is still often referred to as Scotch Hill. 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.