SOLON & BEYOND: Going back to when Flagstaff died

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

It brought back many memories of what was happening in Flagstaff and the Dead River area way back then! It is taken from a very old paper, probably almost 50 years ago; yellow with age and ripped in places. There are no words left of what newspaper it was printed in, or who wrote it; (but it wasn’t me!) Some of the headlines say, Dead River Dam; Maine’s Hydro – El…words that finished some of that part were missing.

Maine’s hydro-electric output will be increased by thousands of kilowatts with the completion of a giant multi-million dollar project now in its initial stages at Dead River .

Already axes have sounded clearing away the heavy timber growth to open up the area where the engineers and construction crews will build a dam which will create a 26-mile long lake increasing the Kennebec River storage capacity by one-third. The entire project is expected to be completed sometime during the summer of 1950, culminating years of studies, surveys and preparations.

Like all progress, it will not be accomplished without some heartaches, for the waters to be backed up by the dam will cover the land on which is now located the little community of Flagstaff.

In 1944 the population of the sparsely populated plantation was given as only 97 and since that time most of these people have gradually moved away. Still the few remaining ones, sadly watched the preparation for construction of the dam which will inundate their land and that of their forefathers. But land purchases started 20 years ago and they knew that someday the dam would be built.

They will receive financial remuneration for their property losses but will look with regret as the waters slowly rise over the land of their childhood memories .

However, their nostalgic losses will be far outweighed by the benefits the new dam will bring to the rest of Central Maine in electric power output and river control.

Added Power Capacity: The Dead River storage basin will contain no generating equipment at its Long Falls dam but never the less will provide additional prime capacity from the Central Maine Power Company’s five generating stations on the Kennebec River.

This will amount to an estimate 17,000 kilowatts and capacity for periods of short duration up to 30,000 kilowatts.

Provisions will be made in the construction for the installation of a generating unit at some future time.

Situated between two high points of land split by a narrow flow of white water known as Long Falls in the southeast corner of Township 3, Range 4, the dam site is in part of Somerset County near the Franklin County line. This point is 20 miles from The Forks where the Dead River empties into the Kennebec River some 16 miles above the huge Wyman Station near Bingham.

Backing up from this 25-foot high 500-feet long dam will be a new lake created along a tortuous section of Dead River. In some places it will spread out over low lying lands and in others it will be confined by shaped, 26-mile long lake will rest on the new dam at Long Falls.

(The next couple of inches got torn off in this old paper sometime in its long life, so I will skip down a bit.)

Participating with the Central Maine Power Co. in the dam construction of the $4,800,000 project are the Hollingsworth and Whitney Co. and the Great Nothern Paper Co., both of which have plants on the Kennebec River. Thus far, work in the project has been confined to clearing operations and construction of roads into the site of the dam. The W.H. Hinman Co. has made considerable progress on the new road with the coming of Spring.

I will be continuing with more from that old paper next week, and probably some about all the fires that were around us during those sad days.

But as always; here is Percy’s memoir: Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance, self control, diligence, strength of will, content, and a hundred other virtues which the ungrateful will never know.

Don’t worry, be happy, especially on Valentine’s Day.


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