BREWER, Maine — This year’s business of the year has a history dating back to before the city was even incorporated.
Getchell Bros. Inc. was founded in 1888, a year before Brewer was established, and began as one of 15 icehouses in the village that harvested ice from the Penobscot River, Mayor Arthur “Archie” Verow said when presenting the award during Brewer Days on Friday.
“Ice was packed in sawdust and shipped from Brewer to points south including Cuba and the Caribbean Islands,” he said.
When refrigeration became more common and ice harvesting began to disappear, Getchell Brothers “adapted to the market changes and began the manufacturing of ice from water supplied by the Brewer Water District,” Verow went on to say. “The company further diversified and became master distributors for several products including sandwiches, cookies and ice cream.”
The company today gives back to the community by supporting the Bangor Y and area youth groups, Verow said. Recently, the company donated a historic picture of ice harvesting that will hang in the Brewer Elementary-Middle School when it opens next fall.
Getchell Bros. president Doug Farnham accepted the honor.
This year’s citizen of the year “was born in Bangor, grew up in Orrington and for the past 55 years has resided in Brewer with his wife, Ruth,” Verow said.
Clayton Rogers spent many years as Brewer High School’s business teacher until he retired in 1988 and spent decades teaching more than 300 local people how to play the piano, the mayor said.
He continues to play the piano at local nursing and retirement homes and private functions, and he has been the organist at his church for nearly 55 years.
“His enthusiasm for music and life is evident as his great smile,” Verow said just before presenting Rogers with the honor.
The two annual awards are made during Brewer Days, which is in its ninth year and this year included three days of events held mostly at the Brewer Auditorium and Doyle Field.
The skies cleared just in time for Friday’s evening activities to get under way, said Ken Hanscom, Brewer’s Parks and Recreation director, who added that staff was ecstatic about this year’s turnout.
Brewer Youth Hockey sold more than 200 lobsters during its Friday evening lobster bake, then “the family street dance filled half the parking lot,” he said. “We saw a lot of family, young families enjoying themselves.”
Central Maine Pyrotechnics shot off this year’s fireworks display earlier than years past to coordinate with the intermission at Bangor’s waterfront concert series, which featured Alan Jackson. It was a well-planned joint effort between the sister cities, Hanscom said.
Saturday’s children’s carnival was jampacked with local kids, and Sunday’s car show brought many classic and unique cars to the area, he said.
The cook-off winners this year were Brewer residents Joanna Featheringill, for her apple dessert, and Jamie Gross, for her chocolate chip cookie recipe.
“There was a lot going on,” Verow said of Brewer Days. “That’s what I like to see. There was a nice turnout.”