Before we continue, I want to share an email I received from Peg Pellerin, who grew up on King St., and filled in some of the gaps I left out when taking our tour of Water St. Here are her memories:
by Peg Pellerin
Oh my gosh, Roland, your articles about the Plains of Waterville, also known as the South End, and many years prior to my time, Frenchville, brought me back to my youth with so many loving memories.
I grew up on King Street from 1952 until my parents moved to Winslow back in 1971. I went to school at Notre Dame, walking to it from the King Street side.
I’ll start with my memories of Water Street, adding a few things that were not in your articles. I don’t remember too much about Water Street from Main Street up to Poissonier’s Market, which was a few doors before the Maine Theater, also known as the Maine Bijou, which was two doors before Daviau’s Pharmacy. I do remember the White House furniture store with the round house behind it. That building now houses Radio Communications and Emery’s Meats [Note: Emery’s has since moved].
Now going back to Poissonier’s Market, formerly Bolduc’s Market, was just after the house that is now Advance 1 Cleaning Services. It’s amazing how many small, family-owned markets there were on Water Street, and they all were able to make a living. There was a laundry service tucked in there somewhere between the Maine Theater and Daviau’s Pharmacy. Dad and I would spend time at Daviau’s to get our comic books so we’d be ready for the next rainy day. Mom and I would get our ice cream sundaes and soda at the fountain. If there wasn’t a prescription for certain ailments, Mr. Daviau, the pharmacist, would figure something out, usually an old-fashioned remedy that doctors weren’t using any more.
You were correct about the aroma from Bolduc’s Bakery, which was on Veterans Court, a narrow street tucked away somewhere in the block. Mom and I would go to the bakery on Saturday mornings to get uncooked dough and she would make “gallets” (?sp) which was similar to fried dough.
Where a brick apartment building is situated between Gray and Gold streets once housed many different types of shops on the street level and apartments on the second floors. I remember walking by those shops and seeing a place that worked on leather and made hats. It was possibly a shoe shop as well. There was a furrier, when having a fur coat was fashionable. There was a small restaurant tucked in there somewhere, a watch repair shop, and some others that I don’t remember what they were.
Gold Street was the next division to the next block which had Belliveau Oil. Across the street from there, on the river side, was Picher’s Furniture and Plumbing. I remember going to both places to pay bills for my grandmother who lived on Libby Court. Before Libby Court there was Notre Dame Church/School and a large apartment building. On the corner of Libby Court and Water Street was Cote’s Market. Ah, that was the place to get your penny candy, which was a penny a piece. “Hurry up and get what you want,” would yell Mr. Cote.
I do remember the South End Café. The owner’s daughter is currently a bus driver for the Winslow School Department. Then there was Gabe Giroux, barber extraordinaire. If there was anything to know about Waterville, especially in the political scene, he knew it. I believe you were correct in saying he probably was the only Republican in that part of town.
Dick’s Variety, owned by Dick Bolduc, sold his business to my parents, Don and Virginia Rodrigue, becoming Don’s Variety. It did go back to Dick’s Variety when Dick Bolduc bought it back from my parents several years later. The empty lot next to Dick’s once was Veilleux’s Grocery Store owned and operated by Larry Veilleux. My father was a meat cutter for Larry. When Larry closed the store, dad became the meat cutter for Vachon’s Market, which was on the corner of Moor and Water streets. The building is no longer there. The fire substation was right next door to the store. My paternal grandmother lived in the apartment building on the opposite corner. It wasn’t too far to go to the store to pick up some things for my grandmother and of course say hello to dad.
Vachon’s closed and dad went on to work for Harris Baking Co., so when my grandmother needed a few groceries and meat, we’d go to Laverdiere’s Market on the corner of Grove and Water streets. Traveling further down Water Street, it became a very narrow road and ended at Couture’s Field, a very famous baseball field back in the day. I’m not even sure if it is used anymore [Note: It is still in use]. Before getting to Grove Street, on the riverside was a hair salon that my paternal grandmother frequented. It was called Bobdot Beauty Shoppe.
South Grove Street, off Grove Street, once had a florist, of which I can’t remember the name [Note: Carter’s Flower Shop]. On the opposite side of Grove Street, which now houses a trailer park, was another ball field and west of that was a town garage that housed Waterville’s school buses. I’m not sure what it is used for now [Note: It was Standard Water Proofing for a while, now Box Drop Mattresses].
Well, that’s all my memory serves, which I’m surprised it served me at all. LOL
Again, thank you for bringing me back to the times of my childhood.
Send your memories of life on the Plains to Roland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Responsible journalism is hard work!
It is also expensive!
If you enjoy reading The Town Line and the good news we bring you each week, would you consider a donation to help us continue the work we’re doing?
The Town Line is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, and all donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service code.
To help, please visit our online donation page or mail a check payable to The Town Line, PO Box 89, South China, ME 04358. Your contribution is appreciated!