New Dimensions FCU gets large business award

Left to right, Sara Fifield, Bruce White, Terry Gagne, Darla Frost, Sharon Storti, Elizabeth Dixon, Jeanine Derosby, Ryan Poulin, Tammy Poissonnier, Lori Schmitz, Jason Michaud, Lee Breton, and Tanya Verzoni. (Contributed photo)

On November 4, 2021, CEO, Ryan Poulin, and his team at New Dimensions Federal Credit Union, in Waterville, humbly accepted Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Large Business Award at the Enchanted Gables, on Hussey Hill Road, in Oakland.

Because of New Dimensions FCU’s mission, “Educate. Empower. Evolve.” applies to both the community and its staff, they work to ensure the growth of membership and employee retention are equally balanced. In 2020, they worked on that balance of achievements that awarded them the honor of receiving such a prestigious community award.

In 2020, New Dimensions positioned itself for growth, and innovation, by constructing a state-of-the-art main office located at 94 Silver Street, in Waterville. The building was designed to be as green as possible including solar energy, heat pumps, natural gas-heated hot water, and energy-efficient lighting. It was imperative to use local contractors and vendors in the construction.

After the move to Silver Street, NDFCU renovated its previous Grove Street location into an operations center, now known as the Digital Branch. With this, the Credit Union expanded its workforce by adding a call center that fields over 7,000 calls monthly.

During the pandemic, New Dimensions focused on retaining all employees and training some of them to assist members in a new capacity including processing numerous SBA PPP loans for businesses.

New Dimensions provides the latest technology to conduct personal and business banking and continues looking for updated, useful and reliable solutions in its products and services that will serve their members well. Board Chairman Jerome Allen states, “We want our members to choose “how” they conduct business with us. From paying for groceries with cell phones to applying for loans or opening accounts from the comfort of their home. But if the member wants to visit a branch, our team is happy to provide that type of personal service, too.”

Ryan Poulin asserts, “New Dimensions doesn’t want to offer just a job to someone, it wants to offer them a career where they can learn and reach their professional goals. NDFCU has staff dedicated to training and career advancement for every employee. This has helped to retain valued, seasoned employees.

Financial Education is one of the key pillars of New Dimensions. Dedicated staff are available to provide members with one-on-one financial counseling. Members can meet with staff to review their credit report and get tips on how to boost their scores, craft an effective household budget, and more. It takes its financial education lessons on the road to local businesses with their Eat, Learn and Prosper program, as free lunch-time classes for the businesses’ employees with lunch provided by NDFCU. Additionally, Financial Educators can be found in classrooms teaching students from Kindergarten through High School with age-appropriate lessons. Deciphering between needs versus wants, how to save money for future goals, and how to use credit responsibly are popular topics. NDFCU has been able to work with hundreds of students both in classroom and through Google Classroom when remote.

Additionally, NDFCU and be credited for its fundraising efforts including their popular Cruise for a Cure Care Show. Fundraising for Ending Hunger Maine, Maine’s Special Olympics and Children’s Cancer Program are also a priority. Similarly, staff members donated over 3,000 hours of their own time in 2020.

CEO Ryan Poulin further adds, “We are in the dream fulfillment business helping people make their dreams come true by giving them the tools they need to be successful.”

China transfer station committee postpones decision on fee increase for Palermo residents

by Mary Grow

The Dec. 6 China select board discussion covered a variety of topics, most to be continued at future meetings.

Lawrence Sikora, chairman of the Transfer Station Committee, explained the basis for the committee’s recommendation that Palermo residents, who use the China facility by contract, be charged an additional 25 cents per disposal bag.

The price is based on four factors: the regional consumer price index; transportation costs for waste and tipping fees for disposal; and the price China pays for the bags. Sikora said the first and especially the last numbers are increasing and will likely continue to increase. Select board members therefore postponed a decision to February 2022, to get updated figures.

Palermo has received the required six months’ notice that an increase is coming at the end of March 2022.

Sikora also recommended hiring an engineer to design a cover for the precrusher beside the hopper building. Exposed to weather, the panel covering the controls is rusting; and China is paying to have accumulated rain and snow hauled away.

Board member Wayne Chadwick was unsympathetic. “Buy a can of paint” for the rusting panel, he suggested, reminding the audience that when the precrusher was approved, supporters said it didn’t need a cover.

Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood said the transfer station reserve account has more than $50,000 that could be used for a cover.

Board Chair Ronald Breton asked Sikora and Transfer Station Manager Ronald Marois to get an estimate on the cost of an engineer’s advice.

On another trash-related issue, Breton referred to a Bangor newspaper article about lack of progress in finding a new owner to reopen the former Fiberight plant in Hampden. He said Town Attorney Amanda Meader advised China officials not to risk penalties by trying to withdraw from the town’s contract with the Municipal Review Committee that represents municipalities that supported Fiberight.

Sheldon Goodine, chairman of the Municipal Building Committee charged with planning an addition to the town office building, presented and elaborated on his committee’s preliminary report. The recommendation is for a single-story addition on the south side of the front section of the present building.

The report included CAD (computer-assisted design) drawings by committee member and Codes Officer Jaime Hanson. Breton proposed using them as the basis for a Request for Proposals to contractors who could turn them into specifications and build the addition.

He suggested money for the addition be part of the 2022-23 selectmen’s budget request.

One topic that will not be on a future agenda is board member Janet Preston’s proposal to consider a different voting method for local elections. She had presented information on three other types that she considers likely to produce a fairer result (see The Town Line, Dec. 2, p. 2).

Board members voted 3-2 not to continue the discussion. The majority consisted of Breton, Blane Casey and Chadwick; Jeanne Marquis supported Preston in voting for continued consideration.

By an identical vote, members did continue discussion of employees’ health insurance for the 2022-23 budget year, instead of deciding immediately to renew the present plan, as Preston and Marquis favored.

Several employees told board members that the current health insurance plan, though it is less generous than the one they voluntarily gave up in 2018 to save the town money, helps make up for comparatively low municipal pay.

The Town of China currently covers the full cost of a single plan and 85 percent of a family plan. Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood said this year’s two percent rate increase would cost taxpayers a total of $6,573 for the year, or $1.89 for each tax account.

In other business, board members unanimously appointed Lucas Adams a member of the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee.

Hapgood reported that the first Senior Day, held Dec. 1 in the portable building behind the town office, was a success. The next one is postponed from Wednesday, Dec. 8, to Thursday, Dec. 9, because of possible snow forecast for Wednesday.

Weather permitting, the gatherings will be held every Wednesday until further notice, with Thursdays as alternate days in case of bad weather. The time has been changed, by request, to 10 a.m. to noon, instead of 9 to 11 a.m.

Also on Thursday, Dec. 9, the China Broadband Committee is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. in the portable building to discuss internet service improvements with a representative of Spectrum/Charter Communications.

The next regular China select board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20.



EVENTS: Victor Grange to host Christmas with the Clauses

Victor Grange in Fairfield (photo:

Victor Grange #49, in Fairfield Center, invites all area children, and their parents, to enjoy Christmas with the Clauses, from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, at the Grange Hall. Children can decorate a cookie with Mrs. Claus, sign a Christmas card for a veteran or nursing home resident, make an ornament and share their Christmas wishes with Santa.

Admission is free; hot chocolate will be provided. For more information, please call Barbara at 303-0717.

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Victor Grange #49, in Fairfield Center, is seeking area owners of snowplowing equipment who are willing to plow the paved parking lot for free for one snowstorm this winter. The work will be treated as a tax-deductible donation and receipts will be provided.

The Grange Hall is at the intersection of Routes 23 and 104 in Fairfield Center.

Those who would like their names on a list of potential donors are asked to call Roger at 453-7193 or Barbara at 303-0717.

Grange members hope to keep their newly-insulated building open for public events all winter.

China Lake Association updates public on 10-year watershed plan

by Eric W. Austin

On Thursday, December 2, the China Lake Association hosted a two-hour Zoom webinar to present the public with their 10-year plan for the China Lake Watershed. The plan represented work over a two-year period by multiple organizations to survey the China Lake watershed and develop a plan for preserving and improving it.

Stephen Greene

Stephen Greene, president of the China Lake Association, served as moderator for the event. Jennifer Jespersen, owner of the environmental consulting company Ecological Instincts, was the keynote speaker, with Amanda Pratt, of Maine DEP, presenting information about the recent watershed survey and moderating the question and answer session afterwards. Dr. Ken Wagner, a consultant from Water Resources Services, who Jespersen described as a “water professional specializing in the management of internal loading in lakes throughout New England”, was also on hand to answer questions from the audience.

China Lake Association president, Stephen Greene, introduced the evening by saying, “What are we trying to accomplish? In a nutshell, to restore water quality in China Lake, to end recurrent nuisance algae blooms. And why is this important? We all know that China Lake is the drinking water supply for 22,000 people. China Lake is the heartbeat of the community in the region. It is an economic engine. It serves as a large part of the tax base. It is home to people and wildlife in our community. It is a center of recreation.”

The previous watershed plan, formulated in 2008, was out of date, Jen Jespersen explained, and in order for local groups that do important restoration work in the watershed to apply and receive grants, the watershed plan must be updated every 10 years.

Jespersen began her presentation by explaining some of the problems China Lake is facing now and historically, along with reviewing some of the characteristics that make the China Lake watershed unique. Consisting of land in and around China Lake, both the east and west basins, 89 percent of the China Lake watershed sits within the borders of China, with nine percent in Vassalboro, two percent in Albion, and a tiny slice, making up only 0.1 percent, in Winslow. In total, the watershed includes about 27 square miles, with most of that surrounding the east basin (20 square miles). The surface area of the lake is about 6.2 square miles total.

The watershed is the area of land surrounding the bodies of water and determined by the sources that drain into the lake. Most of this area is forested (56 percent), with the remaining being wetlands (19 percent), agricultural areas (12 percent), developed land (11 percent) and roads (2 percent).

Water flows from the north end of the east basin, down the length of China Lake and then into the west basin (also known as the Big Lake), and into Outlet Stream which eventually drains into Sebasticook River and from there into the ocean.

Maximum depth of the lake is 92 feet in the west basin, and 56 feet in the east basin. Average depth across the lake is about 25 feet.

Screenshot taken from the China Lake watershed presentation.

Currently, China Lake is on the state’s list of impaired lakes because of the frequency of algae blooms, because China is considered a “high contact” body of water, and because of the high level of phosphorous and low oxygen levels detected in the lake. Part of the goal of the proposed 10-year watershed plan is to address these problems.

One of the problems China Lake suffers from is a lower than average flush rate. This is the rate at which all of the water in the lake is replaced by new water. Jespersen said that while the average for lakes in the state is between 1-1.5 flushes per year, China Lake is much lower at just .65-.72 flushes per year. This means that when pollutants are washed into the lake, it takes longer for the lake to flush them downstream than other comparable lakes.

Jespersen explained that they have arrived at their recommendations through extensive data collection, including Secchi Disc testing for water clarity at multiple stations around the lake, lakebed sediment testing, the collection of water samples to test for total phosphorus and Chlorophyll-a content, and water column readings, which test for dissolved oxygen in the water and also water temperature. This data is then fed into several data models to identify the best approach for management and restoration.

Algae problems in bodies of water like China Lake are directly related to the nutrient load on the lake. This “load” comes in two varieties: external load and internal load. The external load on the lake refers to the sources of nutrients flowing into the lake from external sources, including leaky septic systems, new land development and runoff from agricultural activity like farming and animal husbandry.

Impact overview of China Lake watershed. Screenshot taken from the China Lake watershed presentation.

The internal load is a bit harder to explain. This is the amount of nutrients already trapped in the sediment at the bottom of the lake. Some of this internal load on the lake is natural, coming from the decomposing bodies of animals, fish and plant matter that settle to the bottom of the lake, but much of it is also due to human activity. Today, there are regulations to manage the leakage of nutrients into the lake from things like land development and septic usage. But that wasn’t always the case. In the past, septic systems leaked directly into the lake, and no effort was made to reduce the influence of land development or agricultural activity on the watershed. Over time, these nutrients drained into the lake and built up in the sediment of the lake bottom, just waiting for the right moment to feed an explosion of new algae growth. That moment came in 1983 with the first major algae bloom, and this incident spurred regulatory changes to prevent it from happening again. But by that time we were already fighting a losing game against the internal nutrient load which had been building for years.

Because of this history, the China Lake Association and its partners must focus on the problem from two fronts, the external load, or the amount of new nutrients being fed into the lake, and the internal load, which refers to the nutrients already stored in the lake as a result of years of development and mismanagement of the lake’s watershed.

Algae blooms cause multiple problems. They can threaten the safety of drinking water for those residents that source their drinking water from China Lake. Blooms also damage the recreational and aesthetic value of the lake, and can negatively impact shoreline property values. Additionally, certain types of algae can be toxic to people and pets who come into contact with them.

The team’s research has suggested that the greatest impact on the west basin (the Big Lake) comes from sources in the east basin, and so dealing with the east basin’s internal load will result in the most improvement across both bodies of water. They have also identified the largest contributors of nutrients into the lake as a way to help formulate a management plan. For example, land used for agriculture makes up only 12 percent of the area of the watershed, but it contributes 38 percent of the nutrients feeding into the lake.

The goal of the proposed plan is to reduce the phosphorous in the east basin by 656 kg/year, a reduction of 7.5 parts per billion (ppb), and to reduce the phosphorous in the west basin by 229 kg/year, a reduction of 2.1 ppb. Currently, the total phosphorous in the lake, according to the ten-year average, stands at 17 parts per billion (ppb). This plan would aim to reduce that to 10 ppb, a significant reduction, which should, based on the data models the team is using, lower the probability of major algae blooms in the lake from 28 percent to 2 percent over the next ten years.

Screenshot taken from the China Lake watershed presentation.

Most of the questions asked by audience members after the presentations centered on the proposed alum treatment to address the lake’s internal nutrient load. This treatment involves adding aluminum sulfate to the lake which prevents the phosphorus in the sediment from being released as nutrients for potential algae blooms. Jespersen says that such a treatment could reduce the phosphorus in the east basin by as much as 90 percent, with an estimated cost of $1,445,000. She emphasizes that more analysis of lake sediment needs to be done to determine correct dosage for the alum treatment, which will also influence total expenses.

Ken Wagner, a consultant with Water Resources Services, addressed concerns about the treatment. While nothing is without risk, he said that aluminum is the second most common metal contained in the earth’s crust (after iron), and is commonly used as a treatment for drinking water. In fact, the companies that provide lake treatments are primarily involved in the treatment of drinking water.

Robbie Bickford, an employee with the Kennebec Water District, jumped on the call to confirm that aluminum is used as part of the KWD water treatment process.

Other proposals, such as oxidizing the lake to raise the dissolved oxygen level, or dredging the lake bottom to remove nutrient-rich sediment, were suggested by audience members. Dr. Wagner said that while such ideas have merit to achieve greater water clarity, both suggestions were discarded because of the enormous costs involved when compared to the expected improvements. An alum treatment is more cost effective, safe, and expected to provide benefits for 20-30 years into the future.

A question was asked about how the recent return of alewives to China Lake might impact water clarity. Dr. Wagner said he doesn’t think there will be a substantial impact either way.

Much more detail and additional information was included in the presentation than could be fit into this article. A recording of the presentation should be available on the China Lake Association website by the time this article is published.

(View the full presentation below or click this link to watch on Youtube:

Scouts honor veterans at local ceremonies

One of the primary goals of Scouting is to instill in young people a desire to become participating citizens and foster good citizenship. During Veterans Day, Scouts all over the area were busy working alongside veterans in several projects and events.

Youth and leaders from Augusta Cub Scout Pack #603 and Troop #603 assisted a Veterans Seminar, held at American Legion Post #205. Scouts from Jackman and Boothbay took part in U.S. Flag retirement ceremonies on Veterans Day. Winslow Scout Troop #433 (Boys), Scout Troop #433 (Girls) and Cub Pack #445 all attended the Waterville Veterans Day ceremony at Memorial Park, on the corner of Park and Elm streets, joining veteran groups and others to honor those who answered the call to duty. The ceremony had a presentation of the five branches of the military as well as the POW flag.


by Debbie Walker

Do you have a sewing machine? (If so, I know you deal with tension!) When did you start sewing? Who taught you? If I mention the word “tension”, does it cause you to grin? How about patterns? Do you know how to read a pattern?

I grew up thinking everyone knows how to sew. Hand sewing or with the use of a sewing machine, including sewing on buttons, all could bring about tension,

Problems with “tension” can cause you to have physical body “tension” (stress). I know I am being a bit confusing with the use of the word tension. The tension on a sewing machine is designed to control how smoothly the machine stitches and the length of those stitches. Just recently I got out my machine, hoping that I could just give it a few drops of oil and be on my way. Well, it was not agreeable, the stitches wouldn’t have even come close to holding anything together. Now I put the little job away until I had more time to mess with the tension.

A couple weeks later I got the machine out again. Now I had enough free time to take my time. Would you believe the test subject got just about perfect stitches? No problem with either my body or machine “tension”!

I learned quite a bit about sewing long before I took Home Economics in my freshman year of high school. Before that class I was self taught by watching my great-grandmother sewing her patchwork aprons (She had one on when she was making a new one and she sewed the old one to the new one!) And I watched mom doing mending with just needle and thread.

I had a pair of pants that I loved, the zipper died, and I was heartbroken. Mom added to that pain by refusing to replace the zipper. I was a bit stubborn and decided I would put in the zipper while mom was at work. It was the first time I ever used her sewing machine without supervision. Through trial and error that day I managed to get the zipper in before mom got home from work. Mom never put in another zipper; those were jobs for me.

My home economics teacher left a lot to be desired. If my only experience with sewing was with her, I probably never would have attempted sewing again. However, I had enough positive influences around me that I still enjoy sewing, even dealing with the machine tension!

Sewing is fast becoming another lost art, much like tatting (making lace by looping and knotting a single strand of thread), also canning (seat weaving, it’s a craft using the cane from the inner skin of a rattan palm. Its woven to make the seat of a chair).

I couldn’t believe it but it happened where ever I was working. Once word got out that I sewed I always had buttons to sew on, jackets needed zippers, and dresses needed hemmed. It has already happened here in the campground. I really don’t mind, it doesn’t take much of my time.

Sewing today brought up a lot of memories. As crazy as things have been this week in the world around us. I didn’t want to become depressed. So my sewing today put me on the right track. The only “tension” I was willing to deal with today was with my machine.

I am just curious if you have hobbies to relieve your “tensions”. How about contacting me at and sharing with me? Have a wonderful week and thank you for your time to read!

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Composer Richard Wagner

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Composer Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner

Composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was an egomaniac who, as my high school glee club director put it succinctly, knew he was great. His 16-hour Ring of the Niebelungen was premiered at Bayreuth, in Germany, in 1876 and has been produced many times since then. It is a mammoth quartet of four operas – Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried and Gotterdammerung; and, depending with whom you speak, it is either a windy, bombastic spectacle of Teutonic screeching, screaming and shrieking or a masterpiece of operatic genius.

After listening off and on for over 40 years, I hold with the masterpiece view but plan to focus on my current favorite of the four, and one which has been a shade less popular than the other three, Siegfried.

The basic premise is simple. The Ring is one that enables its owner to control the world and its owner is the Niebelungen, a dwarf named Alberich who creates the ring, is robbed of it and tries to get it back. The 15 or 16 hours deal with an array of mythological gods and goddesses, giants and good and evil humans in this life/death struggle.

Siegfried is the son of Siegmund and Sieglinde, who fall in love and create this son before they find out they are long lost twin siblings, and becomes a central hero who is eventually killed by the treacherous Hagen , son of the dwarf Alberich.

Other details of this ever thickening plot are too detailed to go into but synopses are available on the Internet.
The opera Siegfried deals with Alberich’s brother Mime, a dwarf who found Siegfried as a child abandoned in the woods after his parents were killed and has been raising him. Unfortunately, Siegfried detests his foster father who meanwhile is plotting to steal the Ring from another thief. As stated earlier, the rest of the story can be enjoyed elsewhere.

The music in this opera has a savage, growling brilliance in its large-sized orchestra with extra brass and percussion and the singing when done well. And for me, the best listening approach is to forget about reading up on the plot ahead of time or follow the scripted libretto; simply let the music happen. It is some of the most piercingly eloquent music to be heard anywhere with a phenomenal range of emotions and dynamics from tenderly soft to climactically exhilarating.

The performance I have been enjoying for a while is a 1949 broadcast from the Vienna State Opera which has been available in a set of three CDs since 2009 (Myto, 00190) and also accessible on YouTube. The recorded sound is very good for its era while the musical cast was one of the finest, in particular tenors Gunther Treptow (1907-1981) as Siegfried, and William Wernigk (1894-1973) as Mime, soprano Gertrude Grob Prandl (1917-1995) as Siegfried’s sweetheart Brunnhilde and baritone Ferdinand Frantz (1906-1959) as Brunnhilde’s father Wotan, who is also King of the gods and temporarily in disguise as the Wanderer.

Maestro Rudolf Moralt (1902-1958) and, for several years music director of the Vienna State Opera, led a very exciting performance.

CRITTER CHATTER: Experiences at the wildlife center

contributed photo

by Jayne Winters

Chatting with Don Cote at the Duck Pond Wildlife Center is always enjoyable. Don has years of interesting experiences and his stories are touched with a sense of humor, as well as extensive personal knowledge and an obvious love for animals. I thought I’d mention a few of them this month.

Earlier this year, Don received a call from a China resident complaining about three young woodchucks who were eating flowers from her garden. The mother woodchuck had been hit by a car and while sympathetic to their situation, the woman wanted the remaining family members relocated. Don’s attempts to trap them were unsuccessful, but he happened to mention it to friend Patrick Faucher, Animal Control Officer of Oakland. Pat suggested using flowers for ‘bait’ in the traps and sure enough, that did the trick! All three juvenile woodchucks were trapped and released in a more wooded area to munch to their hearts’ content.

This past spring, a warden brought in a weeks-old fawn that had been found asleep in a barn; its bottom jaw was hanging and obviously broken. Don took it to the local veterinarian for a general exam, but as he learned from past experience, the lower jaw was not tied to the upper jaw because it would prohibit bottle feeding. Don brought the fawn back to Duck Pond and kept it in a kennel to limit its movement, providing blankets for warmth and milk in a bowl four times a day. The fawn was able to drink the formula and, thankfully, the jaw didn’t snap any further, gradually healing on its own. Over a period of about three weeks, Don was able to feed the fawn from a bottle. It eventually recovered and was moved in with the other fawns; recently they were all put into a winter enclosure and will be released next year when they’re larger and able to survive on their own.

Not all situations have happy endings. Don responded to a report of a fox with mange that was lethargic and lying in mulch under a tree. It was wary of the trap and was later found hiding under a porch. Several days later, it was discovered curled up on some farm machinery, where it had died of its illness.

A chipmunk found at a campground was brought to the Center, but succumbed to what was likely a spinal injury. This fall, Don retrieved an immobile gray squirrel in Rockland that had fallen off a telephone pole. There was no singed fur, so Don didn’t think it had been electrocuted, but it did appear to be paralyzed. He’s administering electrolytes every few hours, but the prognosis isn’t good. Despite the losses, it’s comforting to know the critters at Duck Pond are tended to and pass peacefully, warm, and out of bad weather, away from potential predators.

As noted previously, the Center’s “Wish List” always includes bleach, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, towels, dry dog and cat food (no dye), canned dog and cat food (no dye), paper towels, frozen berries (no syrup), birdseed, and even apples (not from recently sprayed trees). While still available, disposable plastic grocery bags are used when cleaning pens of animal waste.

The Wildlife Care Center greatly appreciates the assistance from other rehabbers while Don and his long-time volunteer, Amy, deal with health issues. We ask that you check these websites to see if there is a rehabber closer to you to help make critter care at Duck Pond more manageable: or Donald Cote operates Duck Pond Wildlife Care Center on Rte. 3 in Vassalboro. It is a non-profit state permitted rehab facility supported by his own resources & outside donations. Mailing address: 1787 North Belfast Ave., Vassalboro ME 04989 TEL: (207) 445-4326. EMAIL:

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Clinton, China Libraries

Albert Church Brown Memorial Library

by Mary Grow

Clinton’s Brown Memorial Library
China’s Albert Church Brown Memorial Library

Brown Memorial Library, in Clinton, is the third of the local libraries on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1899-1900, it was added to the Register on April 28, 1975.

In their application for the listing, Earle Shettleworth, Jr., and Frank A. Beard, of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, compared the Brown Memorial Library to Fairfield’s Lawrence Library (see The Town Line, Nov. 11) and Augusta’s Lithgow Library (see The Town Line, Nov. 18).

Architecturally, all three buildings are variations on the style of Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886). Shettleworth and Beard called Clinton’s library “a purer example of the Richardsonian ideal with an exterior exhibiting warm hues and contrasting colors in stone walls and trim, as opposed to the almost monochromatic use of granite and slate,” in Fairfield and Augusta.

Also, they wrote, “The Clinton Library, though symmetry is implied, is basically an asymmetrical composition, truer to Richardson’s buildings of the same type than either the Lithgow or Lawrence libraries, which reflect contemporary Beaux Arts symmetry clothed in a Richardson-derived exterior.”

They concluded, “The Clinton Library is the most exemplary structure of its kind in Maine and is an unusually large and elegant library for a small, rural community.”

John Calvin Stevens

Portland architect John Calvin Stevens (1855-1940) designed Brown Memorial Library. He has been mentioned before as the architect chosen to remodel Augusta’s Blaine House in 1920. Other Maine libraries he designed include Rumford Public Library, built in 1903 and added to the National Register in 1989; and Cary Public Library, in Houlton, opened in 1904 and added to the National Register in 1987.

Clinton’s library is on Railroad Street just north of the Winn Avenue intersection. Shettleworth and Beard described a single-story stone building on a partly raised basement (with windows), with a hipped roof. Reddish sandstone trim contrasts with greyish granite walls and a grey slate roof.

The building’s rectangular shape is broken by three “projections,” small ones on the back and south side and, on the front, to the right (south) of the main entrance, “a large five-bay projection trimmed in sandstone and capped with a semi-detached conical roof.” This projection features tall windows with narrow stone dividers between them.

The entrance is approached by granite steps and recessed under an arch. Above the arch is a “dormer:” a rectangular panel with the words “Brown Memorial Library”; above it, two small rectangular windows; and above them “a steep triangular pediment topped with a ball finial.”

Entry is through two doors with glass panels topped by “a colored glass transom,” Shettleworth and Beard wrote. The “small porch” inside the arch “is floored with a marble mosaic pattern.”

The north side of the front wall has two tall windows, narrower than the ones in the south tower.

The historians noted the origin of the various building materials. The rough granite for the walls is from Conway, New Hampshire; the sandstone for trim is from Longmeadow, Massachusetts; and the slate for the roof “was quarried nearby on the banks of the Sebasticook River.”

An on-line Town of Clinton history adds that the “ledge for the foundation” came from Clinton farmer J. T. Ward’s land.

Inside, the “vestibule,” “entrance hall” and original librarian’s room were straight ahead (by 1975, Shettleworth and Beard wrote, the librarian’s room was a children’s room). The room to the left was the stacks.

The reading room on the right is “the largest room in the building.” Lighted by the bow windows on the front and a smaller one on the side, the room has “a large fireplace flanked with built-in seats” on the back wall (the library’s “Cozy Nook”) and a pine ceiling “patterned with trusses and panels.”

“The interior plan, like the exterior, exhibits Steven’s faithfulness to Richardsonian principals [sic], being designed with a logical, functional simplicity,” Shettleworth and Beard wrote.

Clinton had no public library until William Wentworth Brown (April 19, 1821 – Oct. 22, 1911), born in Clinton but by 1899 living in Portland, bought the land, paid for the building and provided a $5,000 endowment (earning an annual income of $350, according to the 1901 annual report of the state librarian). The town history article says Horace Purinton, of Waterville, was the contractor for the building.

Shettleworth and Beard wrote that Brown presided at the Aug. 29, 1899, ground-breaking. The cornerstone was laid Sept. 25, “amid elaborate ceremonies.” The building opened to the public on July 21, 1900, and was formally dedicated on Aug. 15, when Brown presented it to the residents of Clinton.

The town history article identifies the first librarian as Grace Weymouth, “a descendant of Jonathan Brown [William Brown’s father].” One of William Brown’s four older sisters is listed on line as Eliza Ann Brown Weymouth.

Shettleworth and Beard wrote that Brown also provided many of the “books, furnishings and pictures.” The state librarian wrote that the library started with 2,500 books and had space for 10,000.

In 1902, Shettleworth and Beard said, Orrin Learned added “100 volumes of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.” Library Assistant Director Cindy Lowell says they are still stored in the building.

(Orrin Learned [June 16, 1822 – July 2, 1903] was a Burnham native who moved to Clinton in 1900. He attended Benton Academy and, like his father Joel, made his living farming and lumbering in Burnham. He served on the select board and school committee and was a state representative in 1863 and 1873 and a state senator in 1877 and 1878.

The on-line biography of Learned says nothing about military service, Civil War or other, except that he was the great-grandson of Revolutionary War General Ebenezer Learned, who was Brigadier-General under Horatio Gates at the October 1877 Battle of Saratoga, where British General John Burgoyne was defeated.)

Clinton officials dedicated the June 2012 town report to the library. They explained that the 1899 trust specified that part of the trust fund interest would be used for “maintaining the building and library,” and that the operating budget would come from local taxes.

One of Brown’s gifts was Vinton’s portrait of him, Shettleworth and Beard wrote.

(An on-line search found Frederic (or Frederick) Porter Vinton [Jan. 29, 1846 – May 19, 1911], a Bangor native who lived in Chicago and later Boston, where he studied art at the Lowell Institute and in 1878 opened his portrait studio. Vinton began painting landscapes in the 1880s, but is known primarily as a portrait painter.)

Lowell said in late November 2021 that the huge painting had been sent away to be cleaned and restored. The restorers had uncovered a fur collar that had been completely obscured over the years, she said.

Brown said at the library dedication that it was a memorial to “my dear parents who were my ideal of all that is best and purest in life….” He expressed the hope that “the good to be derived from this gift may go on forever.”

* * * * * *

The Albert Church Brown Memorial Library, on Main Street, in China Village, less than 15 road miles south of Brown Memorial Library, in Clinton, has been in existence only since 1936, and in its present building since Jan. 1, 1941. Its name honors Albert Church Brown, whose widow donated money to buy and renovate a house dating from around 1827.

Albert Church Brown (no known relation to the Clinton Browns) was born in Winslow in 1843. He grew up in China; the China bicentennial history says he left when he was 16.

After service in the Civil War, Brown prospered as a businessman in Malden, Massachusetts. He died in 1922, leaving his widow, whose family connections with former China residents led to her interest in the library.

The two-story Federal building was formerly known as the Fletcher-Main House, after the two intermarried families who owned it. The building is in the China Village Historic District, a group of mostly residential buildings added to the National Register of Historic Places on Nov. 23, 1977 (see The Town Line, July 8, 2021).

The two Brown libraries share an interesting reputation: people who worked or work in each repeat the superstition that the buildings are haunted.

In Clinton, Assistant Director Cindy Lowell said the ghost is taken to be William Wentworth Brown himself, or “WW,” as she and colleagues call him. She cited two examples of “WW is up to something again.”

Once, she said, the library director’s eyeglasses vanished. Staff and patrons searched the building in vain. Days later, a fuse blew; Lowell went to the basement to replace it, and the missing eyeglasses were on the basement floor.

Another time, Lowell had just come to work, alone, when she heard a very loud slam in the basement. She waited until a patron came in before she went down to investigate – and found no explanation, nothing out of place.

Your writer is the former librarian at China’s Brown Memorial library. Several people familiar with the building assured her there was a ghost, though no one knew who it was. More than once she heard noises as though someone were moving upstairs when she was sure no living person was there; and if the sounds were made by mice, they left no other sign of their presence.

William Wentworth Brown

Various on-line sources say that William Wentworth Brown was born in Clinton on April 19, 1821, sixth of the seven children of Jonathan Brown (1776 – 1861) and Elizabeth “Betsy (or Betsey)” Michales (or Michaels) Brown (1784-1850). His parents and sister, Eliza Ann, are buried in Clinton’s Riverview Cemetery.

William Wentworth Brown

Jonathan and Elizabeth Brown were donors of Clinton’s Brown Memorial Church, now Brown Memorial United Methodist Church, according to Brown Memorial Library Assistant Director Cindy Lowell.

William Brown lived in Clinton until he was 21, when he moved to Bangor to work in his brother’s grocery business (probably his older brother, Warren, born in 1811).

In 1845, Brown started making timbers, decking and other essential pieces of wooden ships. In 1857, he moved the successful business to Portland.

Brown took note of the use of ironclads in the Civil War (the battle between the “Merrimack” and the “Monitor” was on March 9, 1862), and when in 1868 he and Lewis T. Brown (no relation?) were offered a chance to buy a sawmill in Berlin, New Hampshire, he changed businesses.

The two Browns enlarged the sawmill. In the 1880s William Brown bought out Lewis Brown and became sole owner of the Berlin Mills Company, as it was known until it became the Brown Company in 1917. This mill was one of several pulp and paper mills in Berlin.

Lowell quoted a report on the History Channel saying that Brown’s home in Berlin is now a museum.

On Feb. 6, 1861, Brown married his first wife, Emily Hart (Jenkins) Brown (Jan. 23, 1836 – Apr. 4, 1879), from Falmouth, Massachusetts. His second wife was Lucy Elizabeth (Montague) Brown (Jan. 16, 1845 – May 16, 1927); no marriage date is given. Genealogical records contradict each other on how many children he and his successive wives had.

This writer has found no information about William Brown’s career after the 1880s. She assumes it was profitable. Nor has she found any explanation for his decision that a library was the appropriate memorial for his parents.

William Brown died Oct. 27, 1911. He is buried with both wives and five children in a family plot in Portland’s Evergreen Cemetery.

Main sources

Grow, Mary M., China Maine Bicentennial History including 1984 revisions (1984).

Shettleworth, Earle G., Jr., and Frank A. Beard, National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form, Brown Memorial Library, April 4, 1975.

Personal interview.

Websites, miscellaneous.

Beans, beans and more beans!

(Contributed photo)

If you had a chili dog or a cup of chili at the China Baptist Church Hamburger booth at the Windsor Fair….this is where it came from. Pastor Ron saved all the (clean) cans and had everyone build a pyramid with them during Fellowship hour after church Sunday. The booth used four batches of chili every day of the fair. Twenty one years ago a group from the church bought an older office trailer and converted it and built in a kitchen for the fair booth to raise money for the general fund. The church has been doing the fair for 20 years and the booth is staffed by volunteers. Four people, four shifts a day for nine days. Every Thursday of the fair the church’s Boy Scout troop #479 takes over the running of the booth to help out. If you missed us this year be sure and stop by next year.