Covers towns roughly within 50 miles of Augusta.

EVENTS – Question #1: CMP corridor debate Oct. 14

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY

by Jan John
Event organizer

The next Lincoln County Community Conversations event will take place on Thursday, October 14, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The panel discussion focuses on the November referendum Question 1 in order to provide voters “Views from Both Ends of the CMP Corridor.”

Supporters and opponents of Question #1, a citizen’s initiative on the November 2 ballot, have Maine voters pitted against each other in an all out tug-o-war. The question reads, “Do you want to ban the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region and to require the Legislature to approve all other such projects anywhere in Maine, both retroactively to 2020, and to require the Legislature, retroactively to 2014, to approve by a two-thirds vote such projects using public land?”

A “Yes” vote will ban the construction of the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), colloquially known as the CMP Corridor, and any other high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region. It will make it so all construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in Maine has to be approved by the State Legislature. If the transmission lines are on public lands, a yes vote would require a supermajority in the Legislature in order for construction to be approved. These provisions would apply retroactively to September 16, 2020, meaning that all projects previously approved within that time frame would become subject to review and reapproval of or denial by the Legislature. Finally, a yes vote would require the Legislature to review and reapprove or deny the use of public lands for any poles, transmission lines and facilities, landing strips, pipelines and railroad tracks, retroactively to September 16, 2014.

A “No” vote would allow the construction of the CMP corridor and similar projects to continue as permitted in the Upper Kennebec Region. It would uphold the status quo of not requiring state legislative approval for the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the state and not requiring two-thirds of the State Legislature to approve the use of public lands for any poles, transmission lines and facilities, landing strips, pipelines and railroad tracks.

Event organizer, Jan John, of Bristol, shares, “There is a lot to this question and we want to use our Community Conversations forum to bring together representatives from both sides of this issue. We hope that our panel will help us unpack it all, calmly, and present facts and figures so that the voters of Lincoln County are able to make informed choices on election day. This vote has the potential to set precedents for generations to come.”

Please contact John at janjohn1us@yahoo.com or 207-529-6502.

Raingutter Regatta

Troop #603 Scouts Gibs Schefter and Jacob Blais are shown coordinating the races. Parents interested in Scouting should check out the Pine Tree Council website. (contributed photo)

The American Legion Post #205 hosted a Raingutter Regatta for Pack #603 as they opened their doors for a new school year. Over 30 families participated, and the kids built, raced, and took home their boats.

Golf Fore Kids’ Sake raises over $48,000 for BBBS

First place gross, Bank of New Hampshire

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine’s 2021 Kennebec Valley Golf Fore Kids’ Sake, presented by Kennebec Savings Bank, raised $48,300 to benefit school and community-based mentoring services for children in Kennebec and Somerset counties. Twenty teams competed in the annual golf tournament, held September 3, at Belgrade Lakes Golf Club.

2021 Kennebec Valley Golf Fore Kids’ Sake Tournament Winners:

First Place Gross: Travis Frautten, Paul Collins, Matt Worthen and Sean Rankin (Bank of New Hampshire)

Second Place Gross: Scott MacCheyne, Todd Beacham, Mike Frautten and Mike Wilson (Great Falls Holdings)

First Place Net: Andy Dionne, Tim Borelli, John Smith and Jason Brown (MaineGeneral Health)

Second Place Net: Jake Coan, Ngoni Ditma, Randall Anderson and Lucas Worell (Cornerstone Insurance)

Contest Winners: Longest Drive (Men): David Chayer.

Longest Drive (Women):  Jessica Smart.

Closest to Pin (Men): Matt Loubier.

Closest to Pin (Women): Nicole Labbe.

Putting Contest: Bob Gatof.

Chipping Contest: Shad West.

Kennebec Valley Golf Fore Kids’ Sake is generously sponsored by: Kennebec Savings Bank (Presenting Sponsor); G&E Roofing, Cives Steel Company and Skowhegan Savings (Major Sponsors); Darlings, Central Maine Motors Auto Group, Sprague & Curtis, Lajoie Bros., New Hampshire Bank and Great Falls Holdings (Scoreboard Sponsors); SAPPI, InterMed and Mr. Bob Gatof (Lunch Sponsors)

First place net, MaineGeneral Health

Second place gross, Great Falls Holdings

Second place net, Cornerstone Insurance

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Hallowell academies

Hallowell Classical and Scientific Academy, Hallowell, ca. 1882. Contributed by Frank Trask through Hubbard Free Library.

by Mary Grow

In preceding articles, readers have learned a bit about three private high schools, Cony Female Academy, Coburn Classical Institute and Oak Grove Seminary (see the issues of The Town Line for Sept. 2, July 29 and July 22, respectively) and about some of the public high schools in Augusta and Waterville (in the Aug. 26 and Sept. 2, The Town Line issues, respectively).

Remaining to be described are numerous other 19th-century public and private schools in central Kennebec Valley towns. A few are well documented; for most, local histories offer only tantalizing glimpses.

For example, Whittemore wrote in his history of Waterville that “private and corporation schools” played important roles, starting in 1823 when “Miss Pettengill” ran “a school for the education of young ladies.”

In 1824, John Butler and “Miss Lewis” opened another school “which with its modern methods and apparatus won enthusiastic approval.” A successor, before or in 1902 when Whittemore’s history appeared, was Miss Julia Stackpole.

Two private academies mentioned previously are Hallowell Academy, in Hallowell, and China Academy, in China Village. The latter will be described in a future article.

There were two 19th-century academies in Hallowell. Their histories are intertwined with each other and with the public high school; your writer wishes her readers luck trying to untangle them.

The first, Hallowell Academy (in one source called Hallowell Academy for Boys), was chartered in 1791. (Kingsbury wrote in his Kennebec County history that Hallowell and Berwick academies, chartered the same day, were the first in what later became the State of Maine.)

Hallowell’s second, Hallowell Classical and Scientific Academy, opened in 1868 (online source); or was incorporated Feb. 8, 1872 (Maine Congregational Church annual meeting minutes, 1872-1874); or as of 1873 was the new name for the earlier Hallowell Academy (Kingsbury); or, most definitively, was scheduled to open Jan. 1, 1874 (online The Maine Journal of Education for 1873). Bob Briggs, in his 1996 history Around Hallowell (found online, delightfully illustrated with old photographs), called it on one page Hallowell Classical and Scientific Institute.

The Academy chartered in 1791 opened for classes in a newly-built schoolhouse in 1795. Briggs wrote that the first two academy buildings burned down; Kingsbury mentioned only one destructive fire, in 1804, after which, he said, the building was replaced a year later.

In 1807, Kingsbury said, the school trustees bought a Paul Revere bell for the belfry. Briggs wrote that in 1841, a brick building was put up. The Academy and (public?) high school were “united” from 1868 until the Classical Academy opened in 1873, he said.

In 1888, Briggs wrote, the Academy building “became Hallowell High School.” Remodeled in 1890, when he wrote in 1996 it was a private home.

The photo illustrating these words, dated about 1880, shows a group of students, the women in skirts from ankle-length to floor-length, in front of what must be the main entrance. Four two-story Doric columns are spaced across the width of the brick building, with two large doors on either side of a window behind them.

Briggs wrote of the 1795 Hallowell Academy that “students received their secondary education under some of the ablest and best educated men in the state.”

Kingsbury listed the first 28 teachers, up to 1838, and their years of service. One, surnamed Moody, stayed for eight years, and Curtis taught for three years. Six others were there for two years; the remaining 20, Kingsbury said, stayed only one year each.

After the 1795 Academy closed, high school age students attended the Hallowell Classical Academy, the Maine Memory Network says. As noted above, the Classical Academy almost certainly opened at the beginning of 1874.

The Classical Academy was on Central Street at the intersection with Warren Street. The Memory Network describes it as a co-ed college preparatory boarding and day school. It was established to promote Christian education and to train young people “in such languages and in such of the arts and sciences” as the school trustees chose.

The school was “affiliated” with the Congregational Church in Maine and, Kingsbury added, “a feeder for Bowdoin College.”

The 1873 Journal of Education, which this writer accepts as an authoritative, contemporary source, says the Maine Conference of Congregational Churches established the Classical Academy. A Congregational minister, Rev. H. F. Harding, was the academy’s first secretary and treasurer; his report to the statewide church meeting in 1874 mentioned connections with Bowdoin and with Bangor Seminary.

The Classical Academy was intended to be Hallowell’s high school and also a state institution to prepare “the sons of Maine” (daughters were not excluded – see below) “for her Colleges and Theological Seminary, without the necessity of going out of the State.”

The Academy was on an 11-acre lot, with views up and down the Kennebec. It started with three buildings, the article continues: “the old Hallowell Academy, which is to be used for recitation rooms” plus a new boarding-house that would accommodate 40 boys in double rooms and a new girls’ boarding house.

The latter is described as three stories with a Mansard roof, 160-feet long with two 40-foot-wide wings, “containing 76 rooms.” The rooms were arranged with two double bedrooms and a “parlor” for each four students.

Gas lighting was planned for the new buildings. The girls’ dormitory had steam heat, “bathing rooms” and a generous supply of “pure spring water,” according to the report in the 1872-74 minutes of the state Congregational Church meetings.

The Journal article said Classical Academy leaders intended to build “a much larger and much better edifice” as soon as they had the money. As of 1873, they had raised about $70,000, mostly from the City of Hallowell, and gotten a $4,000 bequest (the Memory Network, too, mentions a will). Additionally, the Journal article said, “Mrs. Eastman,” a former resident now living in Italy, had donated a $1,000 scholarship and “is also making a fine collection of paintings for the school.”

Classical Academy students came from Hallowell and from other parts of Maine, Illinois, California and New Brunswick, the Memory Network says.

The Congregational meeting minutes mentioned above describe the success of the Classical Academy in its first almost-two years. By 1874, James G. Blaine (then Representative in the U. S. Congress) was President of the Board of Trustees; Harding was still secretary and Joshua Nye, of Augusta, had succeeded him as treasurer.

The next term was to start Thursday, Sept. 2, 1875. A calendar for the next two years said a 12-week fall term would run from Tuesday, Sept. 2, through Nov. 28, 1876; after a week off, a 14-week winter term from Dec. 5, 1876, to March 13, 1877; after a two-week spring break, a 13-week spring term from March 27 through June 21, 1877.

There were 108 students and a staff of seven teachers and two matrons. Each dormitory had a matron; two teachers also lived in the dormitories and had supervisory responsibilities. Three were women; the teacher in the boys’ dormitory was a man.

Subjects taught were English (both English Studies and English Literature), French, German, Latin, Greek, history, natural sciences, mathematics, “Mental, and Moral Science,” bookkeeping, penmanship (these two subjects were on one list, not on a second), piano and vocal music and drawing and painting.

There were three departments, which the report described as follows:

The Classical Course offered “thorough and ample preparation for the most advanced Colleges.”

The Seminary Course was “especially for young ladies,” “to carry their training and culture considerably beyond that given in our public schools.”

The English and Scientific Course gave students of both sexes “the most valuable studies for a shorter course.”

Memory Network photos of the Classical Academy from the early 1880s show two large squarish three-story buildings connected by a three-story rectangular building. The lower stories are white, probably clapboard (possibly brick). The upper story, with a pediment above and below it, appears to be a shingled mansard roof, with four single flat-topped windows in one end and three across the front.

(This description is similar to the Journal of Education’s 1873 description of the new girls’ dormitory.)

Briggs’ book includes a photograph of a quite different building, dated about 1885 and identified as the Classical Academy. This building is rectangular, clearly brick, three stories with no mansard roof. The windows are paired under arches. There appear to be no connected buildings, although at one end is a “strange invention” (Briggs’ words) that looks like a windmill atop a two-story tower.

(Perhaps this is the building the Journal said Academy trustees were in 1873 waiting for money to build?)

Hallowell High School opened in 1887, and the Classical Academy closed in 1888, the Memory Network says. Briggs said lack of money forced the Classical Academy to close, and “its buildings were razed in the early 1900s.”

The Memory Network has a photograph, dated “circa 1900,” of the 1887 high school, a two-story brick building with towers on both ends, one three stories tall, and a triple-arched front entrance. Accompanying information says it was on a lot “used exclusively for education since Hallowell Academy opened in 1795.”

Briggs’ version is that in 1887 the Hallowell school committee agreed to establish a high school separate from the Classical Academy. In 1890, he continued, the “City fathers” renovated “the old Hallowell Academy building,” implying that the 1887 building was not constructed from scratch.

The Maine Memory site says the 1887 high school was converted to a primary school after a 1920 high school building opened “on the site of the old Classical Academy,” that is, at the intersection of Central and Warren streets.

Hallowell might have had a third private high school. Yet another on-line site, called Maine Roots, includes an undated reference to “a female academy” started by John A. Vaughan “where the granite offices now are, which continued a number of years.”

Main sources

Kingsbury, Henry D., ed., Illustrated History of Kennebec County Maine 1625-1892 (1892).
Whittemore, Rev. Edwin Carey, Centennial History of Waterville 1802-1902 (1902).

Websites, miscellaneous.

CORRECTION: A correction to the story on the Asa Bates Memorial Chapel, or Ten Lots Chapel, in Fairfield that ran in the Aug. 5 issue of The Town Line: the people responsible for repairing the large windows were Pastor Gene McDaniel and his father, Gary McDaniel, who did the reglazing. Kay Marsh did the painting, and Howard Hardy offered encouragement.

Northern Light Inland Hospital to reopen Waterville COVID-19 drive-up testing facility

Northern Light Inland Hospital vaccinated 1,024 people on Saturday, March 6, 2021, at its first mass vaccination clinic at Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) in Fairfield. (contributed photo)

With COVID-19 testing needs increasing, Northern Light Inland Hospital is planning to reopen its Drive-Up COVID-19 testing site in Waterville. The site is located behind Inland Hospital at 200 Kennedy Memorial Drive.

The facility opened on September 13, 2021, by appointment through their Testing website and phone line which will offer appointments starting September 13. The testing site will serve the community Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. – noon. Symptomatic, asymptomatic (no symptoms), and pre-procedure medical tests (known as AGPs-aerosol generating procedures) will be available, as well as state testing for COVID-19 exposures. Testing for travel is not available through Northern Light Inland Hospital at this time.

Community testing has been occurring at the Northern Light Walk-In Care office, at 174 Kennedy Memorial Drive, but due to the current surge in demand, they are moving all testing to the Drive-Up facility as of September 13. The Walk-In Care office will continue to offer non-emergency care, including caring for those with COVID, flu, and cold symptoms.

The Drive-Up facility will offer a self-swab test and accompanying adults should be prepared to swab children under age 12 with guidance. Patients will remain in their vehicle.

To schedule a test, call 1.844.489.1822 (long-distance charges may apply) or visit Northernlighthealth.org/Testing. Appointments are now available.

If you have a pre-procedure (AGP) test order from your provider, you will need to register online or call 1.844.489.1822 and follow the prompts to register.

If you have an AGP test order from a provider outside of Northern Light Health, you will need to register online or call 1.844.489.1822. (It is recommended you bring the order with you.)

If you are booking your appointment through the website and completing the registration online, the test order will be generated by the website after completion of the online booking and registration.

Other Northern Light Drive-Up Testing facilities will be reopening shortly. For more information about testing at all Northern Light locations in Maine, please visit Northernlighthealth.org/Testing or call 1.844.489.1822.

It’s the time of year for good ol’ fashioned coon pailing

Maine coon, unpailed.

by Jim Metcalf

Summer is coming to a close with the enjoyment of corn picked only after the pot of water comes to a boil. But there is one creature who enjoys corn so much that it picks ears at the earliest sign of ripening. In fact, this creature will travel through a corn planting, ripping ears open just to find the best of the best. The creature, of course, is the Maine raccoon, a lovable friendly masked bandit who figures you planted corn just for their enjoyment.

I’m not sure how farmers handle raccoon picnics in their corn field today, but a few years ago there was a happy band of raccoon pailers who could be called upon to catch and relocate corn loving raccoons to outside of Waldo County. Today, those men and women are the upstanding citizens of our towns and would probably deny that they were members of those midnight marauders whom every coon dreaded. But 50 or 60 years ago, the most fun thing one could do on a Friday or Saturday night was to gather on Route 3 at the Sheepscot Lake Fish and Game parking lot, then head out to corn plantings to search for the raccoons.

A number of coon hunters had pickup trucks with dog cages on the front bumper. The cage had a gate and trip wire going into the cab so when the dogs struck on the scent of a raccoon, the cage could be opened from the cab causing all hell to break loose with dogs and coons running every which way. The noise and lights of the trucks along with the yelling encouragement of the hunters caused farm house lights to go on, sometimes followed by double barrel blasts into the air to scare off the night attack.

Most farmers knew the coon pailers and welcomed them to save their corn crop. Most cleared a perimeter road around the planting to make it easier for our trucks. We never entered a field or drove over corn. An occasional farmer was determined to post their land to keep us out because they did not agree to our pailing methods. It cannot be proven, but it was said that those ornery uncooperative farmers were sometimes gifted a couple of pails of coons for their own pleasure.

The reason we pailed coons in August was to train the dogs to hunt and tree before the actual fall hunting season. Raccoons were never killed or harmed although some hunters were not so fortunate with bumped heads and sprained ankles. One night a hunter caught up with a coon and grabbed it by its tail to swing it around, probably to make it dizzy while someone brought a pail and cover. The coon was having no part of this swinging dance and bit the twirler a number of times across his chest. You might recognize that hunter today at the beach. He is the one with the scars of the teeth marks from his left shoulder down to his right belt line.

The actual way the hunt worked was to gather the trucks, dogs, hunters and sometimes hunters’ dates, usually in a party of two to four trucks. Since those were the days of CB radios, everyone could keep in touch as we drove around towns all night in search of the corn destroyers. Once the dogs picked up the scent, they were released to tree one or more coons as quickly as possible. If the dogs were inexperienced, it turned into a flashlight led run through woods with hard low hanging branches or wet butt soaking swamps to slow us down. Thankfully, most times the dogs would run them down and tree them not very far into the woods.

Now came the fun part. The hunters would gather under the tree with five-gallon pails and lids with air holes. We had to divvy up the tasks. Some, mostly dates, would handle the flashlights so we could see what we were doing. However, if this was their first pailing, the flashlights would be taken back because the owners would be scanning the surroundings for a path back to the trucks. One or two would hold the dogs away from the tree. One or two would have to manage the pails and get the coons into them. Finally, someone had to get the raccoon out of the tree.

Usually, those with dates to impress volunteered to get the raccoon out of the tree. If the tree was a small sapling or birch, the date impressers would shake the tree until the coon could no longer hold on and fell to the ground with a thud. If the tree was unshakable, the hunter had to climb the tree and either shake the limb or punch the coon, knocking it to the ground. Every once in a while, a brilliant raccoon would climb down the opposite side of the tree ending up below the hunter. Now it became a game of kick the coon out of the tree before he bites you in the leg.

Whichever way the raccoon landed on the ground, the people with pails had to get their pail over the coon before it ran off. They would then sit on the pail to rest while others gathered to slip the cover along the ground underneath the pail to secure the catch for relocation. You only had a few seconds while the coon was dazed, compounded by two of more people with pails bumping into each other during the pailing. With new and experienced participants, coordination was always a problem and the subject of after hunt criticism and even the lack of invites for future coon pailings. If the operation failed, the coon followed by the dogs headed off deeper into the woods for yet another episode as a wiser more irritated raccoon.

One night the coon and dogs ran onto one of the posted, anti-pailing coon farmer’s land, and immediately stopped howling. The other hunters started criticizing the dog’s owner for the silence of untrained dogs. The owner of the dogs quickly replied, “My dogs read the ‘No Trespassing’ signs and turned it into a quiet chase just as I trained them”. On another night we were all headed through Belfast because an in-town corn patch grower asked for our help. A dog with the best nose picked up a coon’s scent in the middle of town.

Without thinking, the driver pulled the cage release and the dog was out of the cage in a flash howling and treeing a coon on someone’s front lawn. As all the lights in the neighborhood came on, we figured we might spend the rest of the night in the county jail. People in night clothes came out to see a real live coon dog in action. We got the dog back in the truck; left the coon in the tree and quickly headed on to the next farm with some applause from the onlookers.

From my old person vantage point, pailing coons was a crazy thing to do, but it was some of the most fun we could have chasing howling dogs who were chasing raccoons through the woods while someone’s date, who could not keep up, would start screaming, “Wait for me, I broke my flashlight and I’m lost”.

It has been known to happen that a hunter without a date would turn back to rescue the damsel and often live happily ever after telling stories about how they met pailing coons in Waldo County.

Chamber hosts re-vamped Super Raffle dinner

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s Super Raffle Dinner, is back, with a new venue, and re-energized format. The annual dinner will be hosted on Thursday, September 30, at The Elm, College Avenue, Waterville. This year’s event, titled A Night at the Lodge, is sponsored by Maine State Credit Union, and will begin with a social hour at 5:00 p.m., followed by dinner and drawings at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will be provided by the team of The Parsonage House and the Heritage House, with a cash bar provided by Proper Pig.

The ticket price of $125 includes dinner for two, one prize and a gift from Maine State Credit Union. Everyone wins a prize. Drawings begin with prizes valued at a minimum of $25 and grow as the drawings proceed. Top cash prizes are $750, $1,500, and $3,000. There is also a 2nd Chance Cash drawing of $500 and Plinko wheel prizes.

Chamber member businesses are encouraged to donate a raffle prize. To donate, or to purchase a ticket, contact the Chamber at 873.3315 or Cindy@midmainechamber.com.

2021 additional event sponsors are: Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, Central Maine Motors Auto Group, Choice Wealth Advisors and New Dimensions Federal Credit Union.

See the yellow shirts? Please stop and give a donation

by Jeanne Marquis

This is a story of a group of people who saw a need in Kennebec County and are rising to the challenge to create their own solution. The local chapter of Young People In Recovery (YPR) have long felt a need for a community recovery center within the county. In Maine, not every county has a recovery community center and Kennebec County, despite being the seat of our state’s capitol, is one of those counties. The need is great, not just in Augusta, but also in the rural areas throughout Kennebec County.

According to the Maine Drug Data Hub, found at mainedrugdata.org, Kennebec County has already had 41 drug overdose deaths between January through July of 2021. To put that into perspective, that number is nearly the total for the entire year of 2019 and we are only half way through the year.

The passage of LD488 “to expand recovery community organizations throughout Maine” spurred the local YPR into action because they understand in order to qualify for future funding they must create a center first. A recovery community center serves as a gathering place for many pathways to recovery and run by independent, nonprofit organizations. Contrary to what some may think, it is not a treatment or residential center. What visitors will receive is peer support from people who understand substance use disorder and a sense of belonging without judgment. Some of the established recovery community centers in Maine such as the Portland Recovery Community Center (PRCC) and Bangor Area Recovery Network (BARN) offer recovery coaches, yoga classes and educational workshops.

As this story unfolds, it’s also a story of organizations combining their efforts toward a common goal. Courtney Allen, a member of YPR, found a potential rental space for the proposed recovery community center. Allen reached out to partner with related area organizations: Maine Prisoner Reentry Network (MPRN), Maine Recovery Advocacy Project (ME-RAP) and Fresh Out Sober Living. These organizations are working together to launch the center under the name Augusta Recovery Re-entry Center (ARRC) to serve all of Kennebec County. The collaboration of these organizations provides the knowledge and structure necessary to run a recovery center.

The remaining immediate need is to generate funding to cover a full year’s rent and programing costs. To accomplish this goal, the local YPR members will be out in their bright yellow shirts every Saturday from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., throughout September. They will be at the following locations on these dates:

Sept. 4, Gardiner Bridge; Sept. 11, Augusta Target; Sept. 18, Augusta Walmart; Sept. 25, Gardiner Bridge.

Several YPR members were out fundraising in front of the Augusta Walmart on Saturday, August 28. Natasha told us why this project was meaningful to her, “I’m supportive of him (she pointed to her significant other Jacob Foster who is the fundraising lead) I watched him go through it and he has come a long way. I’m very proud of him.”

John Clark explained the urgency for the center, “We are fundraising for a recovery center so people in recovery and also people in active addiction can get help and be around like minded people. We’re trying to get a hold of all the resources all in one facility. When word of mouth gets around, I think we’ll be able to save lives. You have all these people O.D.-ing. It’s just terrible. It’s every week now.”

Bobby Payzant (his friends call him Paco) told us why he was out fundraising, “I’m a person who has been affected by addiction. Not just me, I’ve lost a family member due to addiction. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

For more information about how to donate, please contact Jacob Foster, YPR fundraising lead, at 207-242-2862. Donate bottles for recycling at Damon’s on Bangor Street in Augusta and label each bag clearly with the number 73.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Schools – Part 1

Hodgkins School

by Mary Grow

There are four school buildings in the central Kennebec Valley that are on the National Register of Historic Places, two in Augusta and one each in Winslow and Waterville.

Winslow’s Brick Schoolhouse has already been described, in the Jan. 28 issue of The Town Line. The old Cony High School, in Augusta, now the Cony Flatiron Building, will be a future subject.

This piece will describe Augusta’s Ella R. Hodgkins Intermediate School, later called Hodgkins Middle School, and the old Waterville High School, later the Gilman Street School.

The Hodgkins School served students in seventh and eighth grades (one source adds sixth grade) from 1958 to 2009. when the students were moved to a new high school building. The application for National Register status, prepared by Matthew Corbett, of Sutherland Conservation and Consulting, in Augusta, is dated Feb. 26, 2015. The building was added to the register the same year.

The former school, now called Hodgkins School Apartments on the Google map, is at 17 Malta Street, on a 20-acre lot in a residential neighborhood. Malta Street is on the east side of the Kennebec River, northeast of Cony Street and southeast of South Belfast Avenue (Route 105).

Originally designated the East Side Intermediate School, when the building was finished it was dedicated to former Augusta teacher Ella R. Hodgkins. She is listed in the 1917 annual report of the Augusta Board of Education as a Gorham Normal School graduate teaching at the Farrington School.

Corbett described the Hodgkins School as significant both for its architecture and because it was “associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history.”

Architecturally, he described the school as exemplifying the Modern Movement; it illustrated “the most recent trends in design and construction.” In terms of historical significance, Corbett wrote that the school was an element of “community planning and development, specifically the town-wide development of educational facilities.”

Augusta architects Bunker and Savage designed the “sprawling” building, Corbett wrote. It rose a single story above the ground and was almost 440 feet long, shaped like an E without a center bar.

The foundation was concrete blocks. The roof was flat; the windows Corbett called “aluminum ribbon sash and glass block.”

Both wings had full basements, giving them two useable floors, the lower partly below ground level, Corbett wrote. The boiler room and the shop classroom were attached on the northeast.

He described the arrangement of corridors, classrooms, offices, bathrooms and other spaces inside. The school had a combination gymnasium and cafeteria, with a stage, and an adjoining kitchen. The grounds provided space for a basketball court and softball and soccer fields.

In the 1950s, concrete blocks, aluminum and glass block windows were examples of modern materials, Corbett wrote. The Hodgkins School was also modern in its emphasis on “natural light and proper ventilation”; architectural drawings “included detailed ventilation and electrical specifications, large windows and skylights, as well as advanced mechanical systems for heating and cooling.”

Hodgkins was the third of three schools built during what Corbett said was “a decade long school building program that updated and consolidated Augusta’s schools to accommodate the post-World War II baby boom.”

He continued, “As the second intermediate school constructed in the city, the Hodgkins School represents the conclusion of the city’s effort to create modern elementary school buildings.”

The first two schools built under the city’s 1953 plan were Lillian Parks Hussey Elementary School (opened in September 1954) and Lou M. Buker Intermediate School (opened in September 1956).

While the Parks and Buker schools have been substantially altered, “The Ella R. Hodgkins Intermediate School retains historic integrity of location, design, setting, material, workmanship, feeling and association,” Corbett wrote.

* * * * * *

Old Waterville High School

Waterville’s Gilman Street School began life as a high school (Waterville’s second, Wikipedia says; the first was built in 1876). It became a junior high, then a technical college and is currently, like the Hodgkins School, an apartment building.

Gilman Street School was added to the National Register in 2010. The application by Amy Cole Ives and Melanie Smith, also of Sutherland Conservation and Consulting, is dated June 11, 2010.

The Maine Memory Network offers an on-line summary of the building’s history. Ives and Smith added details in their application.

The central block at 21 Gilman Street, facing south, was started in 1909 and finished in 1912 as Waterville High School. In 1936, a wing was added on the west side for manual arts classes; and in 1938-1939. a gymnasium and auditorium were added on the east side.

The last senior class graduated in 1963, and the building became Waterville Junior High School.

Meanwhile, Kennebec Valley Vocational Technical Institute (KVVTI), started in the (new) Waterville High School building with 35 students for the 1970-71 school year, rapidly expanded enrollment and course offerings. In 1977, KVVTI rented the Gilman Street building from the City of Waterville; the first courses were taught there in 1978, although some classes stayed at Waterville High School until 1983.

The Memory Network writer said that to save money, vocational students did some of the repairs and renovations the Gilman Street building needed.

KVVTI outgrew its new space, too, and by 1986 had completed the move to its current Fairfield location – a process that took six years, the Memory Network writer said.

The Gilman Street building housed educational offices and served other public and private purposes until Coastal Enterprises Inc. “in conjunction with a developers’ collaborative” turned it into an apartment building named Gilman Place. Its introductory open house was held May 11, 2011, as the first tenants moved in.

Ives and Smith said the original part of the building was designed by Freeman Funk and Wilcox, of Brookline, Massachusetts. The school is one of only a “few known examples of educational architecture” by that group, Wikipedia adds.

Ives and Smith called the school’s architecture “simplified collegiate gothic style.” All three sections are brick with cast stone trim.

The first building, Ives and Smith wrote, is a “symmetrical central three-story five-bay building.” The doors are in the two end bays; the central bays had windows on all three stories.

The doors described in 2010 “had Tudor gothic door surrounds with a four-centered pointed arch, white painted paneled intrados, and flush modern replacement doors with multi-light transoms.” Above each door is an arch over a stone sculpture: on the west, an eagle, wings spread wide, above the City of Waterville seal, and on the east an identical eagle above the Maine State seal.

Centered at the top of the building is a decorative stone rectangle with the words “Waterville High School.”

The 1930s additions were partly financed by the federal Works Progress Administration and were designed by Bunker and Savage of Augusta. Each wing is narrower and lower than the original building, and its front projects out slightly from the main building.

The exterior materials were chosen to match the original building, but Ives and Smith documented stylistic differences.

Of the west wing, they wrote, “Designed with more of the Art Deco influence of the 1920s-30s, the Manual Arts Building was simpler in massing and more streamlined in decoration than the original building.”

The east wing is more elaborate than the west. Ives’ and Smith’s description included a “substantial projecting stylized Tudor gothic tri-partite entrance,” framed by “cast stone quoins,” with its doors “recessed within gothic arched door surrounds” under “three original trios of four-over-six double hung lancet windows.”

They continued, “A cast-stone Tudor arch at the cornice level is elaborated by two round relief sculpture plaques of athletic themes (football and basketball) on either side; the arch fascia is infilled with fancy relief scrolls.”

In this wing, the combination gym and auditorium had an 84-by-68-foor basketball court in the middle; 15 “graduated rows of elevated seating” above the entrance in the south wall; and a 36-by-24-foot stage, with dressing rooms on each side, under a “painted wood Tudor gothic arch” along the north wall. “The aisle-end of each seating row is elaborately carved and painted art deco design,” Ives and Smith wrote.

Showers and locker rooms were in the basement below the stage.

Ives and Smith concluded that the Gilman Street School deserved National Register status for two reasons: its architecture, and its role in illustrating, with its 1930s additions, changes in education, specifically adding courses for non-college-bound students and accommodating increased enrollment.

They concluded, “[T]he property retains integrity of location, design, setting, material, workmanship, feeling and association and has a period of significance from 1909-1940.”

* * * * * *

For readers who wonder when this series will describe the district elementary schools that for years provided all the education many residents got, the answer is, “Not until the next writer takes over.”

The subject is much too complex for yours truly. Many local histories cover it, some writers basing their information on old town reports that contained detailed annual reports on each district.

Kingsbury wrote in his Kennebec County history that what is now Augusta was divided into eight school districts in 1787, 10 years before it separated from Hallowell. Eventually, he found, there were 27 districts.

The China bicentennial history has a map showing locations or presumed locations of schoolhouses in the town’s 22 districts. Sidney started with 10 districts in 1792; lost one to Belgrade in a 1799 boundary change; and by 1848 had 19, Alice Hammond wrote in her history of that town.

Millard Howard found detailed information on Palermo’s 17 districts for his “Introduction to the Early History of Palermo, Maine”. Windsor’s highest number was 15 in 1866-67, according to C. Arlene Barton Gilbert’s chapter on education in Linwood Lowden’s town history.

The authors of the Fairfield bicentennial history didn’t even try to count theirs. Three paragraphs on pre-1966 elementary schools in town included this statement: “There were many divisions of the Town into districts for school management by agents” before state law changed the district system in 1893.

Alma Pierce Robbins summarized the difficulty of describing town primary schools in her Vassalboro history: “In 1839 the School Committee was directed to make a large plan of the twenty-two School Districts. They did, but it was of little value. The next year there were many changes and another school opened.”

Gilman Place

An undated, but recent, online piece by Developers Collaborative begins: “Gilman Place has structurally preserved and bestowed new life into a vacant neighborhood treasure, while repurposing it as affordable workforce housing for area families.”

The article says there are “35 affordable apartments in walking distance from the city’s award winning downtown. Gilman Place is an example of smart growth development simultaneously addressing two concerns many Waterville residents shared: how to preserve and reuse the former Gilman School as well as the need for more quality apartments in Waterville.”

Gilman Place won the 2011 Maine Preservation Honor Award, the piece says. It says state and federal tax credits helped the project, and quotes recently-retired City Manager Mike Roy calling the reuse of the building “one of the best success stories in the city in the last 25 years.”

Correction & Expansion of one of last week’s boxed items

The update on the First Amendment Museum should have said that it was 2015, not 1915, when Eugenie Gannet (Mrs. David Quist) and her sister Terry Gannett Hopkins bought the Gannett family home on State Street, in Augusta, that now houses the museum. The same wrong date was in the account of the Gannett printing and publishing businesses in the Nov. 12, 2020, issue of The Town Line.

The First Amendment Museum website says the Pat and John Gannett Family Foundation bought the building. The foundation is named for Eugenie’s and Terry’s parents, Patricia Randall Gannett and John Howard Gannett.

They met in Florida when he was assigned there as an Army lieutenant during World War II and married July 5, 1943. Patricia Gannett died Feb. 12, 2013, at the age of 91; John Gannett died July 16, 2020, at the age of 100.

[Editor’s Note: The online versions have been corrected.]

Main sources

Corbett, Matthew, National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, Ella R. Hodgkins Intermediate School, Feb. 26, 2015, supplied by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.
Ives, Amy Cole, and Melanie Smith, National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, Waterville High School (former), June 11, 2010, supplied by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

Websites, miscellaneous.

Scouting lets you escape the inside

Gabriel Daniel Lawyerson, of Troop #216. (contributed photo)

by Chuck Mahaleris

This Fall, as students go indoors back to school, the local Scouts will be inviting those students to join them as they “Escape the Inside.” The Membership Recruitment theme “Escape the Inside” will be used on promotional material such as fliers, posters, and lawn signs as a way of informing youth and their parents that Scouting plans to deliver fun programs in outdoor settings.

“A boy is not a sitting-down animal,” – Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of Scouting.

“Scouting works best when we bring the Scouts into the outdoors,” said Kennebec Valley District of Scouting Vice Chairman Chuck Mahaleris, of Augusta. “Our Cub Packs, Scout Troops and Venture Crews have been busy all summer long having adventures. Scouts in this area spent their summer camping, hiking, shooting at the archery range, biking, canoeing, kayaking, and challenging themselves.

They didn’t get a lot of time to sit down. They learned about cooking over an open fire and how to save someone’s life in the woods. Some of our Scouts went white water rafting and many spent part of their summer helping their community. In September, our Cub Packs, Scout Troops and Venture Crews will be opening their doors to new members- youth who are tired of sitting around and want to get outside and have fun and do things.”

The three largest parts of Scouting are:

Cub Scouting which is fun for the whole family of boys and girls in grades K-5. It’s fun, hands-on learning and achievement that puts kids in the middle of the action and prepares them for today – and for life.

The next level is Scouts BSA which is for boys and girls ages 11-17 and is the traditional Scouting experience for youth in the fifth grade through high school. Service, community engagement and leadership development become increasingly important parts of the program as youth lead their own activities and work their way toward earning Scouting’s highest rank, Eagle Scout.

Venturing is for teens age 14-20 and perfect for those kids looking for the next mountain to climb.

There will be Scouting sign up opportunities in every town and fliers will be distributed to students where allowed, and here are the contacts for the Scouting program in your area.

The Kennebec Valley District of Scouting, which covers Somerset, Lincoln, Knox, Kennebec and Franklin Counties, will also be adding Sea Scouting and Exploring programs later this year.

“Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting worldwide, said ‘the open air is the real objective of Scouting and the key to its success.’ Our Scouting leaders are eager to get the youth in their programs out into the great outdoors of our state and let the Scouting shine,” Mahaleris said.