Useful Citizens Tour: Guided walking tour of Skowhegan’s North Cemetery

Pages In Time

by Melvin Burnham

Skowhegan History House Museum & Research Center will be hosting a tour of the historic North Cemetery off Madison Avenue on July 29th at 10 AM. During this guided walking tour participants will visit with some notable citizens that proved to be useful in developing country, community, and business.   In her two volume history of Skowhegan, Skowhegan on the Kennebec, Louise Helen Coburn selected a few useful citizens that “may be regarded as representative of the human stream, which during the late 18th century and early 19th flowed eastward and northward to come to rest beside the Kennebec near Skowhegan Falls, and here to pause for a generation before flowing outward to the ends of the known world.” Many of these notable souls rest in the North Cemetery.

This tour visits many prominent citizens of early Skowhegan including Amos Mann and Asa Dyer.  Dr. Amos

Dr. Amos A. Mann

Dr. Amos A. Mann

Angier Mann practiced medicine in Skowhegan for many years preceding 1882. He evidently didn’t go to school until he was 15, attended Lancaster (NH) for one term and served as assistant teacher in that institute.  Being an unusual doctor, he was sometimes summoned as a last resort because he did things that no other practitioner would dare attempt. In some cases of indigestion he would prescribe “plenty of pork and beans and stuff the potatoes right to her.” Dr. Mann was interested in politics and did not hesitate to share his opinion in his newspaper entitled “Mann’s Family Physician and Down East Screamer.”  His home was located on the corner of the Dr. Mann and the Athens’ road.

Many of the homes and businesses in Skowhegan are constructed of brick.  Most of those bricks were manufactured by two firms in Skowhegan, one being owned by Asa Dyer.  Louise Coburn notes that Asa was the first settler on his considerable farm of 85 acres which ran eastward across the plains on what was considered upper Madison Street known as Dyer Hill. Mr. Dyer ran a brick-yard just behind his home and the business was later carried on by his sons, Chandler and Isaac.  Isaac Dyer, notable Civil War General, is also at rest in the North Cemetery along with his servant slave Morgan Ellis.

Ellis Morgan Freed Man

Ellis Morgan Freed Man

Skowhegan History House Museum & Research Center strives to bring local history alive through guided tours and research assistance at the museum, history related presentations, and by hosting tours featuring historic Skowhegan. After the Useful Citizens Tour, there is one remaining tour

Gen. Asa Dyer

Gen. Asa Dyer

scheduled for this season and it is new.  Early Bloomfield Settlers, Tour of the Bloomfield Cemetery on August 12th at 10 AM.

Participants will meet tour guide Melvin Burnham at the cemetery gate and a donation of $5 per person is suggested. For more information:

Gold medal winners

Abby Dudley

Huard’s Jiu-jitsu team member Abby Dudley, of Winslow, captured a gold medal at the Kids Black Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournament in Rangeley on June 26. Abby also took second place in forms at the Summer Martial Arts Spectacular. Photo by Mark Huard, owner of Central Maine Photography


Tate Jewell

Huard’s Jiu-jitsu team member Tate Jewell, 11, of Skowhegan, captured a gold medal at the Kids Black Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournament in Rangeley on June 26. Tate also captured first place in point fighting at the Summer Martial Arts Spectacular. Photo by Mark Huard, owner of Central Maine Photography


Landon Nunn

Huard’s Ju-jitsu team member Landon Nunn, 10, of Skowhegan, captured two gold medals at the Black Fly Kids Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournament in Rangeley on June 26. Photo by Mark Huard, owner of Central Maine Photography


Major wind power project underway in Somerset County

Dan CassidyINside the OUTside

by Dan Cassidy

Part 1 of 2

If you’ve been on the road anywhere between Skowhegan, Madison, Solon and Bingham, on Route 201 over the past several months, you may have been held up in a rare traffic jam, as state and local police escorts, support vehicles and huge tractor-trailer trucks transported massive towers, motors, blades and other related wind tower equipment to the Bingham, Mayfield and Kingsbury areas of Johnson Mountain off from Route 16.

According to the SunEdison website, manufacturers advanced solar technology is installing solar power systems that are supposed to deliver cost effective electricity to residential, commercial, utility and government customers.

wind power project in Somerset County

Of the 56 towers planned for the area, 11 towers will be installed in Bingham. Photo by Dan Cassidy

Turbine deliveries began in the fall of 2015, and there are several towers already in place.  The operation was suspended for about eight weeks due to spring posted road conditions, however Reed & Reed accelerated delivery of a large percentage of the project’s turbines during the winter months that allowed assembly to continue into the spring.

Reed & Reed and a team of highly skilled subcontractors are erecting turbines in two areas, with 36 turbines located just north of Route 16 and 20 turbines to the south.  They are currently on schedule for an early completion by this fall.

SunEdison hits bump in the road

The project hasn’t been all that easy, as SunEdison, once a poster child of the clean energy boom ran into financial troubles earlier this year, caused by a mountain of debt taken on during better times, according to their website.

“The decision to file for bankruptcy was a difficult, but important step to address our immediate liquidity issues,” Ahmad Chatila, SunEdison CEO said in a published statement.  The statement went on to say that SunEdison was flying high with shares trading above $33.  The collapse happened soon after. Earlier this spring, the shares were trading at about 34 cents.  Trading was halted shortly before the bankruptcy filing.

As far as the filing of bankruptcy protection affecting the Bingham project, the project has been financed and was acquired by Terra Nova Partners last year, according to SunEdison sources.  The bankruptcy should have no impact to the project whatsoever.

Choosing the Bingham region site

There were a lot of factors that went into the decision of erecting towers in the Bingham, Kingsbury and Mayfield area.  “We choose locations to build projects that require good wind speed in the area, access to transmission, limited number of residences or camps nearby, willing landowners, and local support,” said John Lamontagne, Senior Director of Communications at SunEdison, in an e-mail interview.  “All those factors were involved in this project, but especially the wind and the local support,” he said.

SunEdison is the head of the overall project, although they are working very closely with the owners of the project.  “Reed & Reed has been the general contractor on all the wind projects that SunEdison has built in Maine.  “They are a great partner with us.  That is their role at Bingham,” he said.

Tall towers

The towers are approximately 100 meters, (330 feet), and each will have three blades attached that are about 57 meters, approximately (188 feet).  In total, if a blade is standing straight up, the structure is about 157 meters, close to (515 feet).  The unit attached to the tower and what the blades are attached to is called the nacelle.  It is where the electricity is being generated.  The blade speed depends on the wind speed.  Collector lines are going to be installed and will be connected to a substation, which then sends the electricity via transmission lines, according to Lamontagne.

According to Lamontagne, there are three landowners that are involved in forestry where the project is taking place.  “Construction began on the project last year.  Clearing work was started, logging roads were widened, and collector cables were installed.  Towers didn’t start going up until March of this year.”

Lamontagne said that they plan to set up 56 turbines, each with a capacity of 3.3 MW.  “In total, the project is projected to power about 60,000 homes.  We expect the project to be online and operational by the end of the year.”

“The energy is being sold at a highly competitive price to customers, on par with natural gas,” Lamontagne said.  “Customers will have the benefit of clean energy at no additional cost on their electricity bills.”

(Continued next week)