Dear Brewer Historical Society friends and members,

We hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. We wanted to provide you with an update about the Brewer Historical Society’s plans during the current health crisis.

First, our monthly membership meetings have been canceled for the remainder of 2020. This includes our annual potluck in August and holiday party in December. Second, the Spaghetti Supper and Auction have been canceled. We do not anticipate that we will be able to host any in-person events or fundraisers this year. We look forward to seeing you again in Spring 2021!

We may not be able to meet in person, but we hope that we will be able to continue to share Brewer history and engage with the community. We are currently discussing ways in which we can update the Clewley Museum and post a tour of the museum online. We also continue to remain active on our website and social media platforms. We have shared various free online genealogical and property resources on our Facebook page. Many of these resources are available under the “Resources” tab on our website.

We are truly living in a time that is unlike anything before. The Brewer Historical Society would like to record the experiences of Brewer residents and Historical Society members. What has been your experience during the COVID-19 pandemic? You can post about your experiences on our website or email David Hanna at thanna51@yahoo.com. Please note that your posts will be saved as a historical record and will not be used in any other way.

 We would like to end this letter by sharing that we were recently able to award Michaela “Mickey” Hersey the “Arthur C.  Verow” Scholarship for 2020. We have included her beautifully written essay below.

“As I write this essay in the same house my father grew up in, one thing comes to mind: home. It is the place where you decompress, share some of your most vulnerable moments and create everlasting memories with your friends and family. As for my father and I, growing up in the same house in Brewer makes it easy to share memories even though there may be decades in between.   

Within the same city limits, I enjoyed the time I spent at my great grandmother Lucille ‘Dougherty’ Brimmer’s old farm house  at 142 Chamberlain Street. I will always remember the chimes of the many old clocks, the dirt floor basement, pictures of my grandfather as a kid on the walls and my great grandfather’s workshop full of old tools.  I enjoyed the board games.  During some family gatherings, four generations of the family played ‘ruthless’ games of croquet.  I also remember how the house would smell when she made me her favorite rotisserie chicken.  Since her passing, one thing that anchors my memories to her is the old farm house.

I learned from my great grandmother how a large barn once stood behind the house.  In fact, the original homestead included many acres of land and over the years was home to a brickyard and Dougherty Brother’s Dairy.  The dairy was run by brothers Lewis and Hugh Dougherty.  When my mother was trying to preserve some of the memories of the home and pass along keepsakes to family members, I learned that the land was once owned by Joshua Chamberlain in the 1860’s. The same land my mother likes to tell stories of cutting Christmas trees on with my great grandparents.  

I can remember being told how uncomfortable my humble great grandmother was to be interviewed during the dedication of the Dougherty sports complex.  She was over 90 years old at the time and did not feel comfortable taking credit for something that her family did many years ago.  Under the condition that the land be used for the children of Brewer, I learned how the Dougherty brothers were paid $1 for the land that eventually became Washington Street School and then the Dougherty Sports Complex.

When it comes to how Brewer history is important for my present and future education, I would point to how I watched my great grandmother care for my great grandfather as he neared the end of his life in their home on Chamberlain Street. I then watched my mother assist my great grandmother with her care as she aged and wanted to stay in her home as long as possible.  As I have watched my great grandparents and grandparents age, I have learned how many struggle to find good healthcare.  I have come to realize that this problem is not unique to our area and it has motivated me to work towards becoming a physician myself. I plan on staying local and attending the University of Maine majoring in Biology. This is the step I am taking towards impacting my community as I hope to one day, join the very demanding healthcare workforce.

Now, as I frequently drive past the house at 142 Chamberlain St, I see the young family my mother sold the house to and how much they enjoy it.  It really goes to show that although the house may have been built many years ago ‘old’ houses in Brewer hold more love, more memories and more character.  If we take care of what has been loved, it is easier to remember those that loved it while carrying their wisdom and love forward.”

We look forward to meeting again in the future. Please stay safe and well.

Sincerely,

The Brewer Historical Society Board of Directors