Images book offers ‘Around Dover-Foxcroft’ photos

Posted Sept. 20, 2009, at 7:18 p.m.

Around Dover-Foxcroft,” compiled by Stephen Rainsford, is one of the newer books in the “Images of America” series published by Arcadia Publishing in Portsmouth, N.H.

The slim volume is full of pictures, generally two to a page.

On Page 11 we find photos of Civil War musters held in East Dover on the banks of the Piscataquis River. The 1878 photograph was taken at Camp Douty, named for Col. Calvin S. Douty, who was killed at Aldie in 1863. He was the head officer of the First Maine Cavalry.

The caption to the second photo says that Civil War veterans numbered 180 in Dover, 135 in Foxcroft, 109 in Sebec, 11 in Bowerbank and 15 in Willimantic — the towns included in this book.

Women ran the looms and sorted the wool at the Brown Woolen Mill in Dover. It is very powerful to see the picture of mostly women standing in front of the mill.

Below the photo is one of overseer Hinchliffe Taylor, a native of Bradford, England, and some of the men and women in the sorting room.

Taylor and son Joseph, who are ancestors of the book’s author, organized several bands in the area.

A couple of the other photos portray three businessmen — Benjamin L. Lowell, Fred L. Kimball and Eugene Favor; and the people who had their offices at the courthouse.

There are pictures of both the inside and outside of the Blethen House, built in 1844 by Isaac Blethen. Did you know that the hotel was actually moved at one point?

I will have to give my copy of the book to my son Scott, who was born just two months after his parents and grandparents celebrated their fourth and 28th anniversaries at the Blethen House in September 1976.

Also dining there was U.S. Sen. Edmund S. Muskie, who probably would have taken little notice of us had not one of his employees stopped by our table during the evening.

After dinner, Muskie decided to greet us and extend his hopes that the coming addition to the family might enroll as a Democrat.

I was quite concerned that my dad, a rather outspoken Republican, might decide to engage the senator in debate. Instead, he brought out his best manners and was very gracious so Sen. Muskie. Thank you, Daddy!

The book contains photos of lots of interesting buildings, from schools to the residence of Ora and Lelia Evans.

Ora was publisher of the Piscataquis Observer. Pages 30 and 31 contain wonderful photos taken inside the Observer building in the 1920s.

One caption says, “The lady sitting in the left foreground is setting the type for the printing by page.” That is my grandmother, Edith Roberts, later Edith Steeves, operating the linotype. She and Ora Evans shared the birthday of May 22.

A picture of a Fourth of July celebration in Union Square in the 1870s is full of people and horses. The theme for the day, “The Horribles,” allowed people to dress in any costume they wished. Rather peculiar for a patriotic holiday.

It’s nice to see pictures of the Star Theater, which burned in 1940, and of the later Center Theater.

There’s a nice photo of John Sprague’s law office in the Mayo Block. Showing Sprague and his secretary Marguerite Devereaux, it was taken just two days before Sprague took his own life. A state representative, senator and judge of bankruptcy, he is remembered as writer, editor and publisher of Sprague’s Journal of Maine History, 1913-1925, a genealogical treasure.

Other great pictures include the 1893 dedication of the Civil War statue in Monument Square in Foxcroft, given by Peleg Washburn of Parkman; and Memorial Day exercises by the statue in 1900.

Then there is the 1911 photo of the Foxcroft Bridge, which boasted a sign reading, “Three dollar fine for riding or driving on this bridge faster than a walk.”

Trains, fire hose companies, the Cary Young Hospital and the 1902 wedding of Walter Mayo and Anne Cushing also are depicted.

The Bowerbank section includes photos of the Glover family, including a 1940s picture of children of William Glover: Fanny Adele Glover, Elmer Alonzo Glover, Genieve Glover, George Henry Glover and Mary Anne Glover.

I love these photo books — and their captions. “Around Dover-Foxcroft” retails for $19.99 and is available in bookstores.

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Speaking of the Observer Building, the Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society’s collectible ornament for 2009 features the Observer Building Museum. The ornament is in gold glass with green lettering.

It is available at Mr. Paperback in Dover-Foxcroft or by mail, $6 per ornament plus $4 shipping and handling, from DFHS, 28 Orchard Road, Dover-Foxcroft, ME 04426.

To receive the Shiretown Conserver newsletter, join the society for $10, $7 senior membership, sent to DFHS, 874 West Main St., Dover-Foxcroft, ME 04426.

Both ornaments and memberships would make nice holiday gifts.

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