PHOTO: Waterville-Winslow football action

Waterville Youth Football team member Logan Cimino (42) runs with the ball while Winslow defenders, from left to right, Michael Loubier (68), Benjamin Fisher (50), and Larson Ronco (32), move in for the stop. The game was played on October 25, in Waterville. (photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography staff)

Lions hold successful food drive

Pictured, from left, Lions Darla Frost, Teresa Rael and Dan Huard. (contributed photo)

On October 24 the Waterville Lions Club held a drive thru food drive to raise donations for local food pantries. The Club thanks the community for all the support! Food donations dropped off helped the Lions put together 28 boxes/bags of food that were distributed between the Fairfield Inter Faith Food Pantry and The Winslow Community Cupboard. Cash donations received were in the amount of $207 which the Club donated to the George Mitchell School Food Pantry. Thank you to everyone that donated food and/or cash and also to those that honked their horn in support as they drove by. It was a great day to be part of the community.

Submitted by Michelle Shores

Free Thanksgiving dinners offered

The Alfond Youth and Community Center, North St., Waterville, will host a Drive Thru Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, November 21, from 1 – 3 p.m. in the AYCC parking lot.

The dinner is open to everyone in the community. Simply drive up and tell one of the happy volunteers how many meals you want – then enjoy!

There will be 800 individually-packaged meals handed out.

Feast Fixings to Go will be held on Thursday and Friday, November 19-20. These will be available at the Alfond Youth and Community Center’s after school program youth in Waterville, at the Fairfield Community Center and RSU #18 Williams and Atkins.

Thanks to the generous support of Central Maine Motors, youth will be taking home the ingredients for their respective families to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner, including the frozen turkey!

Kringleville 2020: The Magic like no other season

Santa and Mrs. Claus

A message from Mrs. Claus to our Kringleville, Maine, USA, friends. Santa has been watching the greater Waterville area with great focus to help your 2020 season have more nice than naughty during this unprecedented season. You have pulled together in your Christmas-spirited community to ensure that local businesses and neighbors are making it through these uncertain times.

Santa and I will be coming to town this season! However, things will be a little different. We will travel from the North Pole and quarantine for 14 days, and while our Kringleville Christmas cabin will be seen in Castonguay Square, the heartbeat of your downtown, you will not be standing in line for one – three hours in the cold this season. Instead, we are going virtual for your health and safety. What does this mean?

Friends of Kringleville will reserve time slots for virtual live chats with Santa and Mrs. Claus. These virtual time slots will be Saturdays and Sundays from noon 5 p.m. We will also be offering one weeknight virtual visit for those who are unable to participate on the weekends. Because there are limited slots available this year, we have lots of additional opportunities to interact with us. I will be hosting fireside Christmas storytime with Mrs. Claus throughout the season on our Facebook page. The Big E, Eric Lunt, will be serenading us with his vocal Christmas stylings. Miss Heather, of Stage Presence for Dancers, will be showcasing her students’ talent (including Santa and Mrs. Claus!). A Christmas Carol sing-along will take place. Mrs. Claus will even share her award-winning recipes with Kringleville followers. See Santa reviewing the naughty and nice list and more!

If you are not a follower of the Kringleville Facebook page, you will want to do so today to stay updated with Kringleville happenings for 2020. To reduce large gatherings, there will be no parade of lights, but the peppermint twist this season is our Light Up The Town decoration event. Businesses and individuals are encouraged to decorate their properties with holiday lights to be included on a large holiday map! Santa and Mrs. Claus will drive to each home participating and make a special visit to the Light Up The Town winner!

If you are an annual Kringleville Christmas ornament collector, the 2020 ornaments will be available for purchase throughout the city of Waterville with 50 percent of proceeds donated to the Children’s Discovery Museum and as always a personal donation from Santa and Mrs. Claus to the Saint Jude Children’s Hospital.

People of all ages from around the globe visit Kringleville. In 2019, we had Kringleville visitors from Poland, Hawaii, China, Korea, Virginia, Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Seattle, the Philippines and all over Maine and New England. We love that you all continue to be part of the Kringleville story season after season and keep the tradition in such a wonderful city. Please share with your family and friends from all over the world that during these unprecedented times Santa will have virtual opportunities, so all can safely connect with Santa to tell him their Christmas wishes. 2020 Christmas wishes are already pouring in as many are wishing for health, happiness and world peace.

Year after year, the Kringleville community grows. The Kringleville Facebook page “reach” of “followers” grew during the 2019 season from hundreds to thousands and there was a growth of 275 percent of our connection with Kringleville followers, with an increase of 1,850 percent in engagements while Santa and Mrs. Claus were in town. Since this past Kringleville season, followers have remained engaged with Kringleville via the Kringleville Facebook page. During COVID-19, an additional Christmas spirited folks joined Kringleville’s fabulous followers. By October 1, 2020 within 24 hours followers increased to 3,608 and climbing. That’s right, 260 new followers before Halloween! It is clear that Kringleville creates a truly special community.

Santa and Mrs. Claus would like to recognize and especially thank Scott McAdoo for his continued commitment to the love of Christmas at Kringleville. Kringleville continues with the support of The Children’s Discovery Museum led by Executive Director Amarinda Keys. Thank you to the generous 2020 Kringleville sponsors: Central Maine Chevy Dealers and Bangor Savings Bank. Additional supporters are The Big E, Stage Presence for Dancers, Marden’s, the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, REZ Life Church, and others who share in the Kringleville Christmas spirit.

If you or your business would like to contribute to the success of this timeless Waterville tradition, please contact Amarinda Keys at The Children’s Discovery Museum. Email Amarinda at amarinda@childrensdiscoverymuseum.org to ask how you too can be a part of the magic of Christmas at Kringleville for the 2020 season.

All Santa and I ask is that you continue to try your best. You have been brave…Continue to be brave! You have been strong through all of the changes that this year has brought to you and the world you live in. Always remember to be part of solutions, rather than adding to problems. Be respectful of all others, because kindness begins with respect and a smile.

Where there’s a will there’s a way and our will here in the North Pole is unstoppable. COVID-19 has not canceled Christmas or Kringleville connections. Christmas is not something that can be canceled. Christmas lives in our hearts. Santa wants everyone to keep in mind that Christmas isn’t something you should have in your heart only once a year. The spirit of Christmas should live in your heart year-round. So, take Santa’s advice and be kind to all others! Mrs. Claus sends COVID-FREE hugs from our North Pole home to your home. Wishing you a season full of joy and happiness…See you all soon!

Up and down the Kennebec Valley Railway transportation

by Mary Grow

Although the narrow-gauge railroad that was built inland from Wiscasset starting in 1894 never reached either Québec (its first name was the Wiscasset and Québec) or Waterville or Farmington (later it was the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington) (see The Town Line, Sept. 17), as the WW&F it was an integral part of towns along its route.

Reminiscences from Palermo include the WW&F. Dean Marriner mentioned the WW&F in two Kennebec Valley histories. The histories of China and Vassalboro include the WW&F. Clinton Thurlow, of Weeks Mills, wrote three small books on the WW&F. Ruby Crosby Wiggin titled her town history Albion on the Narrow Gauge; the cover has a sketch of engine number 7 taking on water at the Albion water tank, and her introduction says that for 40 years the WW&F was vital to the town and in 1964 residents still remembered it fondly.

Milton E. Dowe’s 1954 Palermo history (the town was incorporated in 1804, so this booklet would be a sesquicentennial history) points out that the WW&F did not even enter Palermo; the Branch Mills station, though called Palermo, was in China, west of the village the two towns share. However, Dowe wrote in the history and in his later book, Palermo, Maine Things That I Remember in 1996, the railroad carried Palermo residents on business and pleasure trips; it brought things they needed, like mail and foodstuffs for local grocery stores; and it took away things they sold, like milk and cream, lumber and bark, apples, potatoes and grain.

Dowe wrote in his history that the regular passenger fare to Wiscasset was $1.25, and excursion fares were $1.00 round trip. After the branch line to Winslow opened in 1902, Palermo residents had the option of riding to Waterville.

The railroad served traveling salesmen, Dowe wrote. They would sell to Palermo residents, play cards and swap stories in Branch Mills stores and spend the night at the Branch Mills Hotel. The next day they would move on to China Village or Albion.

The Palermo station was flanked by three potato houses where local potatoes were sorted and bagged ready for shipment, mainly to the Boston market. One year (presumably early in the 20th century), Dowe wrote, 100,000 bushels of potatoes were shipped through the station. At that time, farmers could expect to be paid $1 per barrel.

The creamery, also near the station, collected and pasteurized milk, brought in by the wagonload. Butter was made by the pound; Dowe said production averaged 3,000 pounds a week. The creamery later became an apple cannery and cider mill. Dowe described a line of 75 wagons waiting to unload apples during a week in 1920 when 3,000 bushels of cider apples arrived for processing.

The China bicentennial history says there were three other WW&F stations in China. From south to north, they were west of Weeks Mills; south of South China; and east of China Village. (The China Village station was on the east side of the head of China Lake; the village is on the west side. A causeway crosses the inlet stream.)

Each station was a small rectangular wooden building with an overhanging roof, the history says. The stations were painted the WW&F colors, two shades of green. Weeks Mills, South China, and China Village stations each had one nearby potato house.

The Weeks Mills station complex was west of the Sheepscot River and south of Main Street. It included a freight building and one of the WW&F’s five water tanks, put up in 1913; south of the station building was a roundhouse with space for four engines (used as a hay barn for a few years after the WW&F went out of business).

South of the roundhouse was the turntable on which an engine was shifted to either the Albion or the Winslow line. The China history describes the turntable as having ball bearings in the middle, a circular outer rim encasing a wheel and two tracks that could be turned different directions as needed. The machinery ran so easily that two men could operate it with a locomotive on it, the history says.

Frank Noyes opened a canning factory about 1904 and used the WW&F to ship out canned corn and succotash and later each fall apples and cider. The factory closed in 1931; the China history blames the Depression, which killed Noyes’ profit.

Thurlow’s three small, generously-illustrated books start with a focus on Weeks Mills, where he retired after a career teaching history. He found numerous original documents, like a 1911 set of operating orders. Among other things, the orders absolutely prohibited smoking around the trains and drinking alcohol on duty.

While the WW&F’s line to Winslow served Vassalboro between 1902 and 1915 or 1916, Vassalboro residents and goods traveled both ways. James Schad’s chapter in Anthology of Vassalboro Tales says that lumber, potatoes, canned corn and poultry were shipped to Wiscasset, to continue by water to Boston and other points south. Imports included coal to power North Vassalboro mills, feed and grain for farmers and supplies for local retailers.

Vassalboro had at least two WW&F stations. Schad’s article is accompanied by a photo of one on Oak Grove Road that served North Vassalboro, and Robbins’ bicentennial history mentions East Vassalboro’s “pretty little station,” later converted to a house that was evidently still occupied in 1971.

The photo in the Vassalboro anthology shows Engine No. 4, with no cars attached, in front of a rectangular wooden building. The engineer (probably) stands in shirtsleeves and cap, right hand on right hip, left arm draped casually on the engine. Two more formally dressed men accompany him, and three others stand on the trackside platform under the building’s overhanging roof.

Thurlow’s WW&F Two-footers includes 1964 photos of the former Winslow and North Vassalboro stations, both converted into two-story houses.

The Winslow line brought people to two attractions on the west side of China Lake a bit north of South China. One was a dance pavilion; excursion cars from Winslow took passengers out for the evening and brought them home around midnight, Thurlow and other sources say. Thurlow adds that north of the pavilion was a mineral spring where train crews were known to make unofficial stops so they and their passengers could have a refreshing break.

Wiggin speculated that the WW&F was more important to Albion people than to others it served because George H. Crosby, prominent among the railway’s founders, was an Albion native (see the article on Albion in the June 11 issue of The Town Line, p. 11), and because many Albion residents invested heavily in railroad stock. Additionally, she wrote, the railroad employed Albion residents (and those in other towns).

The Albion station had the northernmost of the WW&F’s five water tanks, coal sheds and a turntable. The building was the only one of the 15 WW&F stations (11 on the Albion line, four on the Winslow line) to have a second floor; Thurlow wrote that a conductor named Alfred Rancourt and his family lived above the station for 11 years.

In 1908 the Albion-Wiscasset fare was $1.50. In ideal conditions, the trip could be made in two hours; on the five-and-a-half mile stretch between China Village and Albion, several sources say the train often traveled at 60 miles an hour.

There are many, many local stories about the WW&F as a sort of family railroad. Most, unfortunately, are undated. Some are handed down; others local writers witnessed or heard directly from participants or observers.

Wiggin wrote from personal experience with the railroad and from interviews with other local residents, especially Earl Keef, who worked for the railroad for about 30 years, much of the time as an engineer. Consequently she included many personal stories in her Albion history.

For example, she quoted the neighbor who said she and two other women were admiring the first bananas they had ever seen in a local store window. The foreman of the Italian crew building the rail line bought each of them the first banana she’d ever eaten.

Another story is of a train that left Wiscasset at 2 a.m. in a snowstorm, with an attached plow and flange blocking the engineer’s view. At Palermo, the train was flagged down: a local doctor heading home after an emergency call was using the track ahead for his snowmobile (converted from an old Ford).

One of the crew volunteered to ride on the snowplow to watch out for the popular doctor. At the next trestle, they paused to make sure the doctor hadn’t fallen off it; but his tracks continued across.

The train finally caught up with him in Albion. China’s roads were plowed, so he switched to roads and reached Albion as the train did. Later, he said he made better time on the tracks than on the highway.

Yet another story, in Thurlow’s Weeks Mills “Y” (repeated in the China history), tells of Weeks Mills resident Edna Van Strien reaching East Vassalboro on the WW&F as the electric trolley by which she planned to continue to Augusta was leaving. The WW&F engineer stopped the train athwart the trolley tracks and waited until she was safely on board before moving out of the trolley’s way.

Ernest Marriner has two of the best anecdotes about the WW&F. Neither, alas, is dated.

The first, in his Kennebec Yesterdays (1954) concerns the line’s most successful – and unsuccessful – train. A mixed (freight and passenger) train, it carried an unusually large load of bark from Winslow, which was to go by sea from Wiscasset to a Massachusetts tannery. It also had an unusual number of passengers planning to witness the launch of a new schooner from a Wiscasset shipyard.

Marriner related that WW&F stockholders, informed of the big – and profitable — run, started touting the railroad to residents along the line. A welcoming committee assembled in Wiscasset.

The engineer and fireman added to the publicity by blowing the loud whistle constantly. Thus, Marriner wrote, they used a lot of steam and had to stop at water tanks. Perhaps because they allegedly had a generous supply of rum, they soon forgot about the water; and in Alna, the engine died. The load of bark eventually reached its destination, but neither the stockholders nor the excursionists were happy.

Marriner’s second story is in Remembered Maine (1957). He (like other local historians) wrote that WW&F engineers would usually stop wherever they saw someone trying to attract their attention, not just at stations and when the flag was up at a flag stop. One day, a Weeks Mills woman ran trackside and waved her apron.

The engineer shut down the engine and climbed out of the cab. The woman allegedly told him her hen was about to lay the twelfth egg; as soon as she had the full dozen, she wanted the engineer to take the eggs to the store in Wiscasset and swap them for a spool of thread and a bottle of vanilla.

Main sources:

Bernhardt, Esther, and Vicki Schad, compilers/editors, Anthology of Vassalboro Tales (2017).
Dowe, Milton E., History Town of Palermo Incorporated 1884 (1954).
Dowe, Milton E., Palermo, Maine Things That I Remember in 1996 (1997).
Grow, Mary M., China Maine Bicentennial History including 1984 revisions (1984).
Marriner, Ernest, Kennebec Yesterdays (1954).
Marriner, Ernest, Remembered Maine (1957).
Robbins, Alma Pierce, History of Vassalborough Maine 1771 1971 n.d. (1971).
Wiggin, Ruby Crosby, Albion on the Narrow Gauge (1964).
Websites, miscellaneous.

 

The WW&F Railway Station Restoration Project Albion, Maine

by Phillip Dow, Albion Historical Society

The year was 1976. Albion townsfolk banded together to present a week-long period celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of our great country, the United States of America.

It was suggested that the Albion railroad station be preserved. Nothing was done to improve the structure for another 10 years. New blood got involved and the Albion Historical Society was formed. Their first major project was to try to save the old railroad station. John and Ora Rand, the owners of the station, graciously gave it to the Albion Historical Society for a museum.

Time and money were the big factors holding up progress on the restoration of said building. Donations finally came in and away we went. Dirt work around the building started. The old building was braced up, inside and out. The station had to be gutted, both downstairs and up. Cobwebs, spiders, bats and mice had to find a new home.

But, 10 years later, with the help of many people, a concrete slab was poured to the tune of $20,000. Floor joists and studs were added. New lumber replaced the old rotted boards. Asphalt shingles and a new chimney were added. A $500 grant was received and new wooden-framed windows were purchased.

We discovered stamped on one of the hidden window sills “Mathews Bros., Belfast, Me.” The original windows had been installed in 1895. Where did we purchase the new windows? Mathews Bros., with one “t,” Belfast, Me., one hundred years later.

Pine clapboard siding was painted and added. The interior of the railroad station is fairly simple in style, but it is the simple style that we should go back to, at least for a few days.

Albion railroad station, before, left, and after restorations.

Chamber leadership luncheon set for Sept. 30

Zachary Fowler (photo credit: www.fowlersmakeryandmischief.com)

Enjoy a fabulous lunch and share an entertaining and informative presentation by outdoor enthusiast Zachary Fowler. Zach will share the survival skills he utilized to maintain an 87-day existence in the deep woods of Patagonia, alone, with only a dozen tools and supplies at his disposal. He will share tips and anectdotes, detailing his month’s-long adventure.

Outdoorsman and YouTube Creator Zachary Fowler is a Vermont native who moved to Maine to become a wooden boat builder. Although building classic wooden boats was a passion and a skill, Zach’s real love was always for the outdoors. This would be expressed by his years of providing for his family, occupying an off-grid Yurt -style home, and living a self-sufficient lifestyle.

Fowler’s enthusiasm for the outdoors and strong work ethic was proven when he applied for, participated in and won, History Channel’s challenge show Alone, where he survived for 87 days in Patagonia, eating only 63 fish and 2 birds. After winning the show, Fowler chose to start his own YouTube channel, Fowler’s Makery and Mischief, where he could reach an expanded audience and share his appreciation and knowledge of the great outdoors.

To register for this event please email Cindy@midmainechamber.com or call 873.3315.

Cost for the Leadership Luncheon is $20 per person for members; $25 at the door and for non-members. Lunch is included with the reservation.

Out of concern for the safety of attendees, registration at this indoor event will be limited to a maximum of 50 persons. Tables and seating will also be spaced out, and a plated lunch will be served. Masks are requested to be worn for registration, and until seated; hand sanitizer will be provided.

The Leadership Luncheons are sponsored by Kennebec Savings Bank.

Mid-Maine Chamber golf winners announced

photo: Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce

Central Maine’s most prize-laden golf tournament fundraiser was held safely and under clear skies on August 18 at the Waterville Country Club. Thirty-four teams took part in the shotgun start scramble.

Nearly 50 businesses provided sponsorships or in-kind donations for the tournament.

“We were overwhelmed with the participation in this year’s event – one of only a few of our major fundraisers we have been able to hold, due to gathering restrictions,” said Kim Lindlof, president & CEO of Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce. “We were also happy that the weather cooperated, with a beautiful day of sunshine and an enjoyable day for all involved.”

Prize Winners:

Summer Sizzler BBQ Package: Chuck Thomas, Standard Waterproofing.
50/50 Winner: Patty MacDougall and Terry Townsend, Northern Light Health.
First Place Gross Team Score: Pepsi Co. – Tony Dessent, Derek Footman, Chris Low, Roger Williams.
Second Place Gross Team Score: Goodwill Hinckley/Mid-Maine Marine – Garret Prelgovisk, Toby Labun, Scott McManaman, Rob Moody.
Third Place Gross Team Score: Sodexo – Evan Avasthi, TJ Whalen, Eli Spaulding.
First Place Net Team Score: Northern Light Health – Patty MacDougall, Marie Dickinson, Sandra Gould, Jeanne Paradis.
Second Place Net Team Score: Legacy Home Improvements – Richard Sutter Jr., Robbie Sutter, Eric Allen, Jared Miler.
Third Place Net Team Score: AT&T – Owen Smith, Tom Moutinho, Jay Nutting, Jeremy Payne.
Closest to the Pin – Hole #2: Male: Roger Williams – Pepsi Co.; Female: Sandy Gould – Northern Light Health.
Closest to the Pin – Hole #6: Male: Scott Nielsen – Sheridan; Female: Sarah Dexter -The Warehouse.
Closest to the Pin – Hole #13: Male: Chris Low – Pepsi Co.; Female: No winner.
Closest to the Pin – Hole #16: Male: Matt Loubier – Central Maine Motors; Female: Sara Barry – Northern Light Inland Hospital.
Longest Drive Winners: Male: Steve Hayden – Seacoast Security; Female: Sawyer Boulette – Alfond Youth & Community Center.
Straightest Drive Winners: Male: John Jabar II – The Warehouse; Females: Brenda Peatfield – Fred’s Coffee; Marie Dickinson – Northern Light Health.
Highest Team Score: Nicholson, Michaud & Co.: Derek Gervais, Jessica Giandrea, Marcus Hall, Karl Foss.
Chairman of the Chamber Golf Classic Committee, Rick Whalen added, “We would like to thank all of the area businesses for their participation – whether with posting a team, providing volunteers or in-kind donations, or being a sponsor. Your support makes this a successful fundraiser.”

The Mid-Maine Chamber Golf Classic is made possible by major sponsors Central Maine Power and Maine State Credit Union.

Lions Club launches community enhancement project

photo: Waterville Lions Rock Facebook page

The Waterville Lions Club launched a community enhancement project in September with the goal of lifting spirits and inspiring others during this difficult time.

Called “Waterville Lions Rock,” club members gathered together and painted rocks with inspirational messages or smile inducing artwork. A message was written on the back of each rock, “Post a pic and rehide #watervillelionsrock”. Club members then placed the rocks throughout the community on nature trails, near public buildings and in other locations where the general public were sure to see them.

A Facebook page and Instagram account were created for Waterville Lions Rock where everyone can follow the adventures of each rock as they are found and rehidden. “We really wanted to do something for the community that stayed within the current guidelines and yet still helped people,” said Club President Jill Huard. “We hope these little rocks will provide inspiration to people as well as something fun for individuals and families.”

Currently there are nine rocks placed in the Waterville/Winslow/Fairfield area. The club intends to paint and place more rocks in the coming weeks.

Where will you find a Watervillle Lions Rock?

PHOTO: Taking the hand off

Isaac Chase, 6, takes a hand off from coach Matt Perry during the recent Waterville Youth Football clinic. (photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography)

Northern Light Women’s Health welcomes Dr. Doucette

Stephanye Doucette

Northern Light Women’s Health welcomes Stephanye Doucette, DO. Dr. Doucette joins their practice located at 180 Kennedy Memorial Drive, in Waterville.

She is a Lewiston native and earned her medical degree from the University of New England of Osteopathic Medicine, in Biddeford. She completed her residency in OB/GYN at St. Luke’s University Health Network, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“It’s exciting for me to be back home in Maine and become part of the wonderful OB/GYN team at Inland. I look forward to helping women achieve their best health,” said Dr. Doucette.

Dr. Doucette offers the following services: OB/GYN care for women of all ages, contraception and family planning, and Laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgery. Call to make an appointment today at 872-5529.