LOOKING BACK

11

Aug. 10, 1988

By the end of the month, rural Gorham will become a little less rural, when the town completes a changeover to permanent street addresses for all rural free delivery boxholders in town. The changeover comes at the request of Gorham Postmaster Paul Robinson, and was done by the town at a cost of between $2,000 and $2,500. It is intended to increase efficiency of mail delivery, and to speed up response time for emergency vehicles. RFD 1 boxholders in West Gorham will be the first to see the change.

The Scott Paper Co. has a new air emissions license for its S.D. Warren mill in Westbrook, giving a green light to operation of $75 million worth of new facilities that will increase pulp-making capacity by 66 percent. The new license also permits a 7.7 percent increase in volume of use of the mill’s big biomass boiler. The license comes with 16 pages’ worth of requirements for new controls and new testing that will cost “another million or two” and that foretell a much closer watch of what goes on at the mill and stricter controls in the future.

Ernest Hawkes has been collecting an average of five gallons of Japanses beetles a day from 26 traps on the 195-acre Gorham Country Club, where he is superintendent. It’s the worst year for them in his memory, and a salesman tells him that the beetles are having a great year for themselves all over the northeastern U.S. “They prefer grape leaves, rose leaves and raspberry leaves,” Hawkes said. “This year there are so many of them and they are so ravenous they’ll eat almost anything that’s green. Alder leaves, bamboo leaves. They’ve got to be hungry to eat that stuff.”

Westbrook Fire Chief James Rulman wants new windows at the Cumberland Mills fire station, new windows and a door at the Prides Corner station and repairs to the roof of the Mechanic Street station and the Rescue Unit’s headquarters. The City Council has voted to ask for bids on all the work.

An office and warehouse for Roadway Express on Bradley Drive, at $636,000, and a day care center for Greater Portland Child Care Center at 969 Spring St., at $311,000, accounted for most of the $1.2 million worth of building permits issued in Westbrook in July.

For the next couple years, or until a permanent policy is in place, it will be difficult or impossible for Gorham homeowners or developers to get an extension of the new Village sewer system to their property. That is, unless they abut property where the sewer already exists, or plan an industrial project within 1,500 feet of the system. The Town Council votes last week to ban sewer extensions, with some exceptions, until Jan. 1, 1991, or until the council enacts a permanent sewer extension policy. The council may choose to waive the provisions of the interim policy on a case-by-case basis, however.

Michelle Stirling, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Craig Stirling, Canal Street, Gorham, and their foster sons, Glenn and Shawn McFarland, are enjoying four weeks at Camp Ketcha. Mr. and Mrs. Stirling are renovating the old canal keeper’s house on the Presumpscot River, which was built, they believe, around 1832.

Aug. 12, 1998

Bids for construction of the new Westbrook Regional Vocational Center are under budget – just barely. Low bidder Wright Ryan Construction, Portland, will start work in September and expects to complete construction by the summer of 2000. Assistant School Superintendent Mike Kane said he had some anxious moments opening the four bids. Engineering and site contract have already been awarded and left $4.8 million for construction, if the project was to stay within the $6.9 million budget. Kane’s jaw dropped as he opened the first envelope – a $6.8 million bid from Russell Nowak construction. Then came Sheridan Corp., $5.3 million, and the Arthur Dudley Co., $5 million. With fingers crossed Kane opened the final envelop to find Wright Ryan’s bid of $4.7 million.

While the project is closer than ever to becoming a reality, Gorham will have to wait at least six more years before a Route 25 bypass is designed and built, and come up with another $6 million to pay for it. The route that town officials chose to alleviate traffic in Gorham Village is expected to generate more traffic on Route 114, and state officials believe it may require a bypass of the area where Route 114 and Route 22 intersect in Gorham and Scarborough, as well as a new Maine Turnpike interchange that would connect with Route 114.

May Donald Esty Jr. and his immediate predecessor, Kenneth Lefebvre, have both expressed reservations about proposed staggered terms for Westbrook city officials. Alderman John O’Hara is pushing the staggered terms and appears to have won support for it among members of the new council elected Nov. 4.

The way was cleared last week for the construction of business offices at the site of the former Full Gospel Assembly Church at 563-565 Main St. in Westbrook. The lot has been vacant since the church and then the former church parsonage were destroyed in separate fires. At the request of James and Mark Foye, who are acquiring the property, the Westbrook City Council voted to rezone the rear of the lot from residential to general business. The front portion was already zoned general business. The Foyes’ plan for the property include business offices and “subsidiary warehousing.”

The Gorham Town Council abolished last week the $2 fee charged to residents who need to have a facsimile message (fax) sent to the Municipal Center while registering a car or doing other business. The fee was established when sending and receiving faxes was uncommon. As costs have come down, many residents have complained that the fee was too high. Councilor Phil Dugas moved to raise the fee to $5 instead of eliminating it. He said some people buy car insurance to register their car, then cancel the policy once they get their registration papers. “I don’t think we’re doing people a favor by doing their legwork for them,” he said. No one seconded the motion.

Tom and Gerry Day, 20 Running Springs Road, Gorham, enjoyed a July trip to England, Scotland and Wales, starting with a limousine ride to Boston. The Days said they found the U.K. to be very expensive and hotels and food not as good, but family and scenery made up for it.

FIFTY YEARS AGO

The Westbrook American reported on Aug. 7, 1963, that Mrs. Erland Parker was organizing swimming classes at the West Gorham Community Project. The water had passed state pollution tests.

Pete Plummer of West Buxton had purchased the Chester Haley house on Route 22.

For many years, McLellan’s Store occupied the building at 851-855 Main St. In the 1930s, an A&P store was at 851 Main St., 853 was occupied by McLellan’s and 855 Main St. was occupied by the F. W. Woolworth Co. McLellan’s expanded into 851 and 855 Main St. when the A & P store moved to a new building on the opposite side of Main Street and Woolworth closed its Westbrook Store. The McLellan’s chain went out of business in the late 1990s and the building was renovated and divided into Amato’s Bakery on one side and office space on the other. Amato’s moved to Thomas Drive, and Full Court Press and Dancing Elephant restaurant now occupy the building. To see more historical photos and artifacts, visit the Westbrook Historical Society at the Fred C. Wescott Building, 426 Bridge St. Inquiries can be emailed to westhistorical@myfairpoint.net. The website is www.westbrookhistoricalsociety.org.