Out of Our Past

The Meadow

Wed, 12/06/2023 - 10:00am

I wrote this article in March 1993. Some additions have been added as I thought needed to bring it up to date.

Looking at the Meadow today with all its buildings, it's hard to envision how it must have been, back when it was just what it was called - a meadow. Even in my time the houses, the high school, and Walbridge Bros. (also site of Poole Bros., Hammond among others) were there, but all the other facilities sprouted in the last 30 (now 50) years or so. The elementary school, the shopping centers, the theater and inn, the small mall, and the road to East Boothbay are all modern additions. My first traffic violation was caused by the sudden (to me) installation of a stop sign at the still novel intersection of routes 27 and 96. I think that appeared in my college years in the early 1960s.

Actually, a road even through the Meadow would have been novel in the early nineteenth century. If you had to travel, you chose the high ground. The old rocky but dry road to the Center followed the hilly ledge from Montgomery Road, where Fred Pratt's and Sue Foss's houses were located, north to what I called Arnie Brewer's Road (Hackmatack Road).

Damming the Meadow for Power and Ice

Soon after the 1729 settlers arrived here, the outlet of the whole Meadow was dammed at Mill Cove to provide power for a sawmill. There was so much water coming down that corridor, just like the Lobster Cove or Adams Pond watercourses, that the urge to harness it was irresistible. By 1751 Andrew Reed operated his mill there as did his descendants and the 1815 map provides a graphic picture of the area flooded by the dam. It shows a lake extending back, crossing the present road in the area of Flagship, and continuing on up the Meadow. I don't know when the Reed mill was discontinued, but the same lake was recreated during "the ice age."

In 1882 it was dammed again for icemaking, with the fresh water above Mill Cove held back for icemaking. The lake formed was later known as Penny Lake, and the icehouses for the facility were in the vicinity of the Mill Cove condominiums. Lester Barter, as a youngster in the teens, could skate from the site of the dam at the head of Mill Cove all the way northeast nearly to Hammond Lumber. Eddie Hodgdon, who lived just a little northwest of the dam, controlled the water level and made sure the boards were in place that held the water back. everybody skated then, not just kids--later his son Harrison (Hatch) Hodgdon who kicked his father Eddie out of the house. Eddie went and lived in a little cabin in the woods, about six feet by eight feet. Neighbors would bring him food.

Lester and his companions, by skating northeast from Mill Cove crossed the road in the vicinity of Flagship and skated on up to and past Jennie and Charles Emerson's farm, later torn down by the YMCA for some of their buildings. Skaters always have a favored bonfire site and the Mill Cove-Meadow skaters favored a spot near "the stepping stones" for theirs. More articles will follow on the Meadow topic.