by Katie Ouilette
Y’know, WALLS, I must have a touch of Spring Fever, cause all of a sudden I’ve been thinking about the song: “People…People Who Need People are the Luckiest People in the World.” O.K., we’ll talk about people, as this just may be thank you week and our lucky people are those who gave much of their lives and talents to Skowhegan and vicinity.
First, with wars still raging in our Middle East and some of our military there and to those who fought in our wars and their relatives, we must say ‘thanks.” We will soon celebrate Abner Coburn Day and we all know that Abner Coburn was born in nearby
Canaan, but built the ‘decrepit’ mansion on our Skowhegan Main Street Hill. Yes, our Governor Coburn sat with our President Abraham Lincoln, as he delivered The Gettysburg Address, since we of Skowhegan and Maine had men fighting in our Civil War. Yes, People needed those soldiers.
What’s more, my thoughts have turned back to the days when Skowhegan’s Water Street and Madison Avenue had a great variety of stores where people who worked in our spinning and woolen mills could leave their work for lunch hour and, yes, walk down Water Street to window shop or stop in and buy whatever was needed at home. Yes, we had Stern’s and Crane’s department stores, or five-and-dimes McClellan’s, Grants, Woolworth’s or even Cora Cayouette’s Corsetry which was next to Skowhegan’s Famous Bonnet Shop. On Madison Avenue and Water Street there were grocery stores, meat and fish markets, furniture stores, gift shops, restaurants, soda fountains and, lest we forget, the Maine Liquor Store, drug stores and music stores. Don’t forget the many offices that were located on the second floors of our famous downtown buildings.
Here’s a bit of an aside from the Waterville Morning Sentinel’s Amy Calder, who wrote this week of the snowstorm of 1968-69 and who urged me to write of my experiences during that storm. Well, will suffice for now in saying that Skowhegan’s first radio station (WSKW) was located above the William Philbrick Office and that storm happened to be on the first day for my broadcast! Well, we all know that ‘the show must go on,” and I got there through the drifts!
At a Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours, at Russakoff Jewelers, a few weeks ago, WALLS promised to write a history of Skowhegan Downtown, but at another time. I will say that Skowhegan’s downtown had a lot of barber shops as the men didn’t have long hair and beard in those days!
While writing this, WALLS, you certainly will thank the Alfond Foundation and other local manufacturers for their workers having made the products that enabled giving our area young people assistance with college tuition, with the hope they will stay in this area and develop the foresight to develop products needed and become CEO’s for the manufacture of same. Yes, WALLS, you know full well that “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world,” and, WALLS, you also know that this is the best place to live, “Maine, the Way Life Should Be.”
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- Honoring Abner Coburn in Skowhegan on March 22, 2018
- IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of October 26, 2017
- IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of October 21, 2017
- IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of October 12, 2017
- IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of October 5, 2017
- IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of September 28, 2017
- IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of September 21, 2017
- IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of September 14, 2017
- IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of September 7, 2017
- IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of August 31, 2017