My wife and I and Gardiner Savings bought the old fire station on Route 27 in Boothbay in 1995. It’s still there across the street from the old town garage/office which has been lovingly cared for by George McEvoy and crew.
The old fire station was being sold to help finance the new fire station, which is farther up the road on 27. It was a big step for us but a good neighborhood. The neighbors to the south were quiet. It was our hope to establish a photo gallery for me and a place from which we could conduct higher visibility interaction with the buying public. It didn't really work out. I got way too antsy sitting around hoping people might walk through the door to buy some of my work or schedule time. I had set up a formal studio there as well. Sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. Bug time!
The day we closed on the building I made a photo with Clayton Pottle, real estate broker, Alfred Lewis, Dickie Spofford (present Boothbay Fire Chief), Susan my wife, Swing Lewis (a past chief) and Mr. Brown, Timber's dad. I think that's correct – my memory pills have not yet arrived in the mail. Anyway, it was quite a big day for us, and maybe for the Boothbay fire folks – a wee bit of a jump start for their new building.
We knew Swing though our dear mutual friends George and Phyllis Reed. Reeds and Lewises were camping cohorts. We knew George and Phyllis Reed from the many years that George did work at the Merry Music Box in the Harbor and the Musical Wonder House in Wiscasset. George had nothing but good to say about “the Swing man.” They enjoyed their travels.
Over the years we have known Swing through his school bus driving. He was a major transporter of many area schoolchildren. There are a few Swing stories from those days, but we have limited space. Richard Spofford, the present Boothbay fire chief, told me about the six children, dating back to kindergarten days, who awaited Swing's bus out in front of the White Anchor motel. Richard and sister Sally, Billy Callahan and sister Julie and Jay and Paula Manner met Swing at the southbound terminal.
Swing worked for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, too. Stories exist of local youth “parking” at Ocean Point receiving his visit(s). He was Boothbay Fire Chief from 1959 to 1996. He dealt with a lot of fires in his career with equipment far less sophisticated than the present day department. Tommy Nickerson followed Swing as fire chief and Chief Spofford took over in 2001.
Stanley “Swing” Lewis is an institution. The photograph I've included this week was made Chief's night at Southport Town Hall. Also present for that gathering was Warren Page, who was fire chief in Boothbay Harbor for many years, now moved back to the Harbor from the Greenville, Maine area. We in the region who know Swing and other public servants should be very grateful. We are lucky to have been looked after by people like him.
Thank you for your service, Chief.