“Today’s news is tomorrow’s history”

Summer 2015



T.C. Hanna , editor (989-2245) /

The Brewer Historical Society would like to thank the following corporate sponsors and supporters:
City of Brewer
Brewer Federal Credit Union
Brewer High School Air Force Junior ROTC
Brewer Parks and Recreation
Camden National Bank
Dead River Company
Eastern Maine Development Corporation
Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems
Joseph Ferris, Esq.
Getchell Brothers Inc.
Gold Star Cleaners
Green Thumb Lawn Service
PC Rescue Help
Rand / Rand Dentistry
Scotts Lawn Service
TradeWinds Convenience Store
Atlantic Designs
Cross Insurance
Allen / Freeman / McDonnell Insurance
Machias Savings Bank
(Thank you for your support of Chamberlain Freedom Park and the Brewer Historical Society)

(The Brewer Historical Society newsletter is copied using the facilities at Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems. Thank you to EMHS and their staff)

Ken Hanscom and the Brewer Auditorium

Ken Hanscom addressed the March 10th Brewer Historical Society membership meeting regarding the Brewer Auditorium’s 75th anniversary and what lies ahead. Ken has been the Brewer Parks and Recreation Department Director for the last 25 years and has developed a program that has been called “the heart of Brewer”. In a recent WABI television segment Barney Thompson, Jean Lyford, Cathy Harriman and Dan O’Connell discussed their memories of the auditorium. They discussed the events and sporting activities that have helped define the community. With help from Parks and Recreation Department assistant Gerry Spencer, Ken put together a “story board” which displayed photographs and event notices for the last several years. The auditorium was built in 1939 at an original cost of $65,000. The building was renovated at a cost of $750,000 in 2000 to bring it up to code, a new roof added in 2007and a new parking lot in 2010. In addition the auditorium heating system has been changed to natural gas and a program is underway to convert to LED lighting. All this makes the building more energy efficient. The auditorium is open from 6:30 AM until 10 PM and includes events that meet the needs of all age groups.

Annual Meeting of the Brewer Historical Society

The annual meeting of the Brewer Historical Society was held April 14th at the Brewer First Methodist Church meeting room. There were some interim changes in the officers because of vacancies. Vice President Alan King opened the meeting and reported that the Board of Directors had appointed the following interim officers until the biennial elections of 2016.

President: Charlotte Thompson
Vice President: Alan King
Treasurer: Earl Seymour
Recording Secretary: Gary Lowe
Corresponding Secretary: T.C. Hanna
Accessions Clerk: David Hanna
Jean Lyford
Bill Hayes
Lee Mathews
Ron Kittredge

Recognition was given to Joanne Black, Refreshment Chair, for her excellent work and Bob Daigle for his valuable input into the maintenance of the museum and Chamberlain- Freedom Park.
A treasurer’s Report was given by Bill Hayes which included a balance sheet showing the fiscal position of the organization, an income and expense statement , and this year’s budget of upcoming priorities.
Committee Reports were given by Barney and Charlotte Thompson (Museum) T.C. Hanna (Membership, Education, Ways and Means). David Hanna (Accessions and Archives along, Chamberlain Freedom Park)

There are many exciting events occurring during the summer of 2015 including a bus tour of Brewer by the Pejobscot Historical Society as part of its “Chamberlain Days”; the Smithsonian project researching the Underground Railroad in the area; and the “Memories of Maine: magazine request for an article regarding the history of paper production in Brewer.

(A copy of any report is available from Recording Secretary Gary Lowe.)
“True North, Tice’s Story”

Maine author, Mark Alan Leslie, entertained the May membership meeting of the Brewer Historical Society with readings from his new book, “True North, Tice’s Story” along with an overview of the Underground Railroad. “True North” is the story of an escaped slave and his adventures in obtaining freedom along the Underground Railroad, a route peopled by sympathetic Northerners who helped guide the slaves on their way to Canada. The citizens of “free” states north of the Mason Dixon Line were obligated, under the “Fugitive Slave Act”, to return escaped slaves or face fine and imprisonment and those that guided escaped slaves were placing themselves in peril. Those that helped the slaves were called “conductors” and were men and women of extraordinary courage. Along the way, the hero, Tice, is helped by several authentic historical figures and so the book was well researched and supported by historical fact. Maine notables including Vice President Hannibal Hamlin and author Harriet Beecher Stowe were staunch abolitionists and became major players in a cause that was the genesis of the Civil War, In Brewer, John Holyoke supported the cause with a “safe house”, a stop along the Underground Railroad, and this site played an important role in Leslie’s novel. Mark has written an entertaining and informative novel and is recommended for your reading.

(You can obtain a copy of Mark Alan Lelsie’s’ novel by e-mailing him at The Brewer Historical Society also has a copy you can borrow. Contact David Hanna at 989-2245)
100 hundred years ago, March 12, 1915
Brewer- A quiet home wedding was solemnized at the home of the bride in South Brewer when Miss Lucy M. Bolton was married to Ernest James Grant of Steuben. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. H. L. Griffin the presence of the immediate family and the single ring serviced was used. The bride was gowned in a traveling suit of medium blue and was attended by her sister Miss Marion Bolton. Arthur McAlister of Old Town was groomsman. The young couple departed on the afternoon train for Steuben where they will reside for the summer.
Compiled for “The Weekly”, by Ardeana Hamlin. Thursday, March 12, 2015 (Editor’s note. Imagine: 100 years ago you could travel to Steuben by Train!)
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Charles O. and Edward P. Farrington opened a general store on Center Street during the 1850’s, selling dry goods, seeds and hardware. The Farringtons were among the groups that founded The Brewer Savings Bank in 1869. Until 1911 it was located on the second floor of the store building Edward Farrington was treasurer of the bank for twenty years. The large wooded canopy remained in place until 1945 when it was removed because of safety and to add light into the stores. Hanging from the canopy in front of the dry goods store could be seen hoops for women’s skirts. The outward appearance of the building was little changed until the 1960’s. The dry goods store remained operating as Farrington Brothers Brewer Hardware Store until the 1920’s. Maurice Mclaughlin operated the hardware business until after World War II. At that time it was purchased by Arthur C. Thompson and Albert L. Lyford and his son Lawrence W. Lyford. In 1955 William Hayes, son-in-law of Arthur Thompson joined the firm and together until joined by Lawrence’s son Peter and shortly after that William’s son-in-law Michael Legasse operated the business until 1990. For nearly two years following the closing the hardware business, the family operated a very successful Mall selling antiques and collectibles on behalf of more than 50 dealers who were subtenants there. In 1992 the land and buildings were sold to Thomas and Sharon Cole, who operated the antiques business. The original store building, which still stands as the front portion of the present structure is typical of building practice at the time. Heavy, large timbers mortised and tenoned together form the post and beam framing which today stands true and supports walls and floors which make up the three stories. Through the years several additions have been made but have done little to change the original shape of this attractive representative of the mid-1880. The utility of the building was quite unique for the time of its construction. Goods were stored on all floors and access for these was gained by the use of trap doors on each floor which could be opened to allow for the passage of an elevator (dumbwaiter) on which window sashes, and all sorts of other trade goods were moved into storage. This whole assemblage was operated a 2” diameter rope which passed around one of the two 8 foot diameter heavy timber grooved wheels which provided tremendous mechanical advantage so that heavy loads were moved with relatively little effort. These two wheels I believe are still installed in the upper level of the building. Through the years the use of the 2nd floor has changed from warehousing to display and sales spaces. The building sits on generally sandy soil as this area at one point was a source of construction sands. A foundation of rubble stone which was typical of the time of construction still support the structure. It is a grand old structure. (The original article and photographs is available at the Resource Center)
——-By William Hayes

The Brewer Historical Society would than Rich Romero of the OHI Brewer Food Pantry for his generous donation of a card rack to be placed in the Resource Center as a source for brochures and other material. Rich is the manager of the Food Pantry, located at 222 North Main Street in Brewer, among his other duties for OHI. This is an example of the partnership that can exist between organizations. The Historical Society provided a number of mounted historical pictures for the walls of the food pantry for the enjoyment of its clients. The OHI Brewer Food Pantry and its associated thrift shop is a major addition to the community and the Historical Society is proud to be involved

Annual Brewer Historical Society Scholarship Awarded

The Second Annual Brewer Historical Society Scholarship was awarded to Brewer High School Senior, Grace Brochu, at the school awards ceremony on May 21st.

The $1000 scholarship is to be distributed after she successfully completes her first semester of college and is enrolled in the second semester. The award will be provided to the school for her tuition, books or required supplies. The award was presented by the Education Committee of the Brewer Historical Society and gave prioritry to the applicant who demonstrated strong community involvement and an appreciation of Brewer History. This year there were a number of exceptional applicants and each can be proud of his or her accomplishments.

Grace is a fourth generation Brochu living in South Brewer, Her great grandfather, Gerard Brochu, moved here from Quebec City and became Brewer’s oldest living citizen He was honored by having a street named after him.

Grace and her father relive history every year as part of the 20th Maine Civil War reinactment group. They have been members for ten years and particiate in reenactments at Fort Knox and Leonard’s Mills. Grace volunteers for a number of Brewer events including spring cleanup, “Brewer Days”, volunteering (and now employed) for the Brewer Auditorium, being a candy striper at Eastern Maine Medical Center and a being a student ambasssador to Italy, France and England.

Grace will attend Eastern Maine Community College enrolled in liberal studies with a career goal in Medical Radiography or Ultrasound Technician.
Brewer High School Photography Class Project

Mrs. Lori Spruce and her advanced photography class has partnered with the Brewer Historical Society in a project to juxtapose historic and contemporary photographs showing the same scene. The “before and after” phtographs will be provided with a written description and displayed on a web site. The Historical Society provided the original photographs; Mrs. Spruce decided which would make good class subjects; and the students chose which scene to photograph. Bill Hayes and David Hanna addressed the class and gave backgropund information on each chosen site, then participated in a bus tour of the sites to help the students in their project.

This is an important partnership because the Historical Society needs contemporary photographs to document Brewer as it is today and how it has changed over time. Chosen sites for the project included: the Holyoke House site (now Chamberlain Freeedom Park), First Methodist Church, First Congregational Church, the old High School (later Middle School) , The Brewer Auditoriun, the old A&P market (on Center Street), the West Hodgins-Nason Home on North Main Street, Hinckley’s Pharmacy (and square) and the oldest frame house on State Street.

June 1, 2015
Mathew Vachon
439 North Main Street
Brewer, Maine 04412

Dear Mayor Vachon:
The Brewer Historical Society would like to thank you for sponsoring a hole in our behalf for the annual Joshua Chamberlain Golf Classic. This sponsorship is an important way that the Brewer Historical Society can show its support for the City of Brewer and its veterans. Your donation in our name is a wonderful contribution.
As Brewer’s Mayor and the City Liaison to the Historical Society you have been a major supporter of our mission to promote the historical heritage of Brewer,
We are proud to have you as a member of the Brewer Historical Society.

In Appreciation,
T.C. Hanna, Corresponding secretary
Brewer Historical Society