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Calais, Maine

Pictures from the Past - St. Croix Historical Society
Contact Al Churchill jaclaw1@gmail.com
Click picture for enlarged view.

       
1976 Parade Band in Front of Amoco Ford Garage Amoco Station became Fenderson Insurance in 1949
Fountain at Sailor's Park Behind Old Post Office  Hutchins Sail Loft & Gates & Wentworth Lumber Park in Back of Old Post Office Post Office October 1909
St. Stephen from Back of Old Post Office Gem Demolished March 5, 1958 Main St., Gem Restaurant & St. Croix Hotel 1931 Main St., Trimble Bros., Gem, etc.
Main St. 1950s, Gem Restaurant, Levi, Trimble Main St. from Bank Corner Looking Toward St. Croix Hotel Bank Corner in the Early 1890s Bank Corner When Entrance Faced Corner
Interior of Calais National Later Merrill Bank Lobby of Calais National Bank Lobby of Calais National Bank Main Street 1950s Merrill Bank
1956 Senior Class Play What's Their Claim to Fame? Post Office & Early Car Post Office Demolition
Post Office Near Completion June 3, 1909 Post Office Under Construction 1909 from Salen St. Post Office with Loading Dock to Left Calais Band
Grant Anderson & Olympia Ice Cream at Bridge - The Olympia was owned by Greek immigrants, James Theodore and Manual Arides. Main Street About 100 Years Ago -   While most of the buildings and, sadly, the streetcar, are now gone the brick building to the left, somewhat modified, still exists and is a very busy place many nights of the week and on weekends. Many will also recognize the church. Two questions: What two streets intersect at this spot and what were the names of the two Italian families who, at different times, owned the store to the far right? - Contact Al Churchill Pirates Little League Team
Seated from the left: B. Hartford, J. Wilson, D. Dineen, C. Rowe, B. O'Brien, W. Donovan, R McPhail, G. Tapley, W. Donovan and J. Rowe; Standing from the left: Paul Sabattus, R. Casey, Scribner, John Pomeroy, B. Hartford, Scribner and Paul Donovan
Mid 50s Church Choir -  the kid with the bow tie, dead center, is Hoodie Seeley, to his right front is Dougie Archer and to his left front is Dale Berry. Nellie Gibson is beside Dale and Edith Pomeroy is directly behind Dale Berry. The girl to the far left is Barbara Hall and the tall boy in the white robe to the far right is Eddie Leeman. Who are the rest? - Contact Al Churchill
Main Street Andrews Store Formerly Andrews Hotel Andrews Tobacco Corner of Whitney Street Andrews Tobacco Just Before Demolition 1980s

  The Andrews Hotel and Tobacco Stand From at least the early 1870’s until March 3, 1989 a large wooden building occupied the riverside corner of Whitney and Main Streets in Calais. The building was originally a part of J.A. Murchie’s shipping and lumber operations. Its many windows overlooked the Ferry Point Bridge, upper wharves and had a commanding view of the river and St Stephen. It is no exaggeration to say the history of Calais literally passed before its eyes. For the last 100 years of its existence the building was in the possession of the family of Israel Andrews whose two granddaughters, Dorothy Burns and Lillian Marino still live in the area. Israel Andrews was a native of Grand Lake Stream. Dot Burns says he moved to Calais in the 1880’s and bought the building soon after his arrival. In Richard Rees book “Images of the Past”, a caption under a photo of the building says Israel moved to Calais in 1892 at the age of 68 and opened the Riverview Hotel, later the Andrews Hotel. A blacksmith and renowned hunter and sharpshooter, he is described as a strong temperance man who refused to have liquor in his hotel. It is said he could thread a needle without glasses and continued to do all the buying for the hotel, on foot, until his late 80’s. There is some reason to doubt this history because according to Joe Hinton and photos in our files, there was a much smaller Riverview hotel located on adjacent River Street. Probably the Andrew’s hotel was, as shown in the early 1900’s photo, always the Israel Andrews Hotel. The photograph of the hotel shows a large, three storied building with staircases to the porch which ran the length of the second floor. The people in the photo are probably guests. According to Dot Burns, the ground floor contained the hotel lobby, a small store and a dining room for the hotel guests and the general public. Dorothy confirms that no liquor was sold in the restaurant or from under the counter of the store. This was somewhat unusual in this part of town as Main Street from Union to the bridge was notorious for bars and speakeasies and was the first place a thirsty sailor would go to a drink after a long, dry passage. Maine had prohibition long before the Volstead Act but the bootleggers in the Union always assured a steady supply of alcohol to the locals. The second floor of the building was the family quarters, the third contained 10 rooms for guests and the attic had 4 large rooms which were also rented when demand was high. In back was a large barn which Dot says was called the “eel house”. For many years the St. Croix was harvested for its eels which were as much a delicacy as lobster to the Germans and Dutch in New York. These were packed in wooden barrels with a large block of ice and shipped by sea to the city where they arrived alive and well. John Brooks of Robbinston says he made enough profit in one three month period of the late 30’s shipping eels to pay for a new Ford pickup. Neither Dorothy nor Lillian remembers much about their grandparents. Their father, Thomas Andrews was born in Grand Lake Stream and helped his father Israel operate the hotel. In fact, it was Thomas Andrews who eventually purchased the hotel from the Murchie’s in 1912. Until then Israel had leased the building. Thomas married Elizabeth MacDonald who was born in Landsdown, N.B. and had married a Jennings and moved to Chicago. She eventually returned to Calais with her two children, Thomas and Geraldine Jennings and married Thomas Andrews. Thomas and Elizabeth had two children of their own, Dorothy and Lillian, both born during the First World War. Also born in September of 1914 to the Burns family of St Stephen was a son Barry, who will play a prominent role later in this history. Dorothy and Lillian were both born in the family quarters of the hotel and lived either in the hotel or the house on the other corner of Whitney Street until the late 40’s. Dorothy has vivid memories of the hotel, the bustle of the docks, sailors and transients taking rooms and the “big beautiful ships” coming up the river to turn and dock at the upper wharf or the other working docks on both sides of the river. In those days the regular steamships, the Charles Houghton, Rose Standish and Henry Eaton disembarked large numbers of people at the upper wharf just below Ferry point on a daily basis. Many would have strolled up Main Street and some would have stopped at the Andrews Hotel dining room for a meal. They would have observed. two little girls, Dorothy and Lillian eating at their own private table.
   By the 1930’s the general economic decline of Calais and especially the waterfront resulted in the closure of the hotel. Only Albert Murchie, a long time resident, was allow to keep his rooms. The family continued to live second floor but the ground floor was transformed into what many of us remember as “Andrews Tobacco Stand”. The porch was removed as were the stairs on either end of the building. It probably looked much like the photo of the store from the 1970’s, without the ice cream stand. In the mid 30’s Dorothy Andrews married Barry Burns of St. Stephen. They moved into the house on the other corner of Whitney Street in the late 30’s and had their first child, also named Barry, in 1937. By the 1940’s Barry was much involved in the operation of the store and after his return from military service in the Second World War, he took over the daily operation from Tommy although Tommy and Elizabeth continued to occupy the family apartments on the second floor. Tommy Andrews died in 1960, survived by Elizabeth and his two daughters.  Barry Burns was a very astute businessman whose motto, according to his niece Pat Tocchio, was to never, ever pay someone else to do something you could do yourself. The photo of Barry and Tommy Jennings shows them in a familiar pose behind the main counter. This counter was to the left as you entered the store and behind them is the vast array of tobacco products sold in the store. The store also sold penny candy, ice cream, souvenirs, soda, books, magazines, beer and comic books. For a mere 5 cents young scholars could chose from a large selection of Classic Comic Books and avoid the drudgery of reading Ivanhoe, Silas Marner or a hundred other classics assigned for book reports. Ice cream on a stick, hand made by Barry was in cooler to the right of the main counter as were many flavors of soda, bottled by Barry. By the 1960’s Barry, Tommy Jennings, Dot Goode and Barry’s sister Molly were working in the store and Barry had introduced the ice cream stand to the right of the store entrance. Jane Marino, Lillian’s daughter, recalls helping Barry make the ice cream which he served at the dairy bar. Large metal milk containers were lifted with pulleys from a refrigerated tub and the flavors, also prepared by Barry, were stirred in by hand with a large paddle. These were put in four gallon containers and sold in the dairy bar. Andrews always had vanilla and at least one other flavor, banana, orange pineapple, chocolate, strawberry or coffee. Barry taught his niece Pat Tocchio the art of making ice cream in the 1970’s, an art she still practices at her take out on Whitney Street. Barry also bottled his own soda with a bottling machine which cleaned the bottles, added the syrup, the carbonated water and cap the bottle in one operation. Pat Tocchio recalls Barry setting aside a few days a year for bottling soda, a time when everyone in the family had to help out. In the 1960’s Barry added hot dogs to his inventory when Randy Burns, his brother, lost his business in St. Stephen to fire. Frank and Randy’s was one of the most popular spots on the border, selling fish and chips for 35c and a hot dog for a dime. After the fire, Randy came to work for Barry and brought his unique method of cooking hot dogs with him. By the 1970’s much had changed in the local economy and Barry had more competition from places like Hardwick’s but he continued to operate the business almost until he died in 1985. However Pat remembers the store being very busy during the evenings into the 80’s. Pat leased the ice cream stand from Dot for a couple of years after Barry’s death but in 1988 she moved the business to a house on the opposite side of Whitney Street where the same ice cream and specially cooked hot dogs can still be purchased. On March 23, 1989 the building was demolished and another part of Calais history was gone forever. The Andrews family, their guest, customers and friends had as fine a view of Calais history for 100 years than nearly anyone in the city. I would give a great deal to have spent just one day in the 1900 sitting on the porch of Israel Andrews Hotel watching the ships docking at the piers, the streetcar taking on and leaving passengers on the sidewalk just below the porch, the people and wagons on the bridge and the beehive of activity which was the Calais waterfront at the turn of the century. - Al Churcbhill

Andrews Hotel Andrews Hotel Barry Burns & Tommy Jennings St. Croix Club Billiards & Pool Room
Card & Reading Room St. Croix Club St. Croix Club now Bowling Club St. Croix Club Decorated for the Fourth - Cones Stable St. Croix Club Interior 1904 - now Bowling Club
Cone's Livery, St. Croix Garage Main St., near Intersection Avenue Main St. Looking from Ave. near Holmestead A.R. Checchi Elba Fruit Market Pisani's Store Ave. & Main 1970s
The building which now contains the bowling club was once the St Croix Club. Ed Cook correctly pointed out that the present building is new, built after the fire in the late 50's in which Bataan Death March survivor Doc Foster died. The St Croix Club occupied the same spot. The St Croix Club was a social club for the business elite of Calais from the late 1800's until the 1930's. The 2 story building contained reading, dining, billiard and card rooms, a library and was quite elegant. It was strictly a mens club, of course, and I imagine for every member enjoying a good book in the reading room there were several playing cards or billiards. By the 1940's it had become primarily a bowling club which it remains today. Up the street from the club, where Roger's Auto is now located, was Cone's Stables and other businesses related to the mode of transportation of the day. In the 1950's this part of Main Street became "Garage Row" with every building selling a different kind of automobile and a different brand of gas. - Al Churchill
Bank with Door Centered on Corner Horses & Buggies in Front of Beckett Store Main St. Murray Store, Beckett's on Main St. prob. 1920's Rutherford's Main St.
Thursa & Ruth Sawyer Watch 1976 Festival Parade from Rutherford's - Jay Hinson then Owner Calais Advertiser Wood's Dry Goods & Sporting Store Corner North & Main Streets Bridge's Garage  When the "Airline Stage Company" finally opened a track from Bangor to Calais in the mid 1800's they were awarded the contract for mail delivery to Calais, a contract long held by the Shore Line stage company which came up the coast. This was a serious financial blow to the Shore Line because most passengers took the mail stage and switched to the Airline Route which was also 6 hours shorter. The Shore Line folks took the offensive with the attached ad which was printed in newspapers and posted in public places. They spread false stories of the "Airline" coach being regularily preyed upon by vicious packs of wolves. It didn't work as the Airline stage ran for many years over our beloved Airline even though the road became known as the "Wolf Route". - Al Churchill
Cole Bridges Garage Burned 2/18/40 Main Street Cole Bridges Shell Station 1961 Parade on Main Street by Cole Bridges  
Main Street Hill-Pike Store Before 1894 Main Street Hill-Pike Store Now Cole Bridges Corner of Church and Washington
St. up the hill toward Academy St.
Calais Grammar School Burned in 1935
Calais Grammar School from Washington St. Grammar School Fire 4/26/1935 Eaton House on Right, Silverstone House on Left H.F. Eaton House, Calais High built on this lot.
Washington & North Streets, Homes Removed to Build HS Calais HS Circa 1950 (CMHS) USO Dance at Academy Street Gym.  Calais was a central location for the Eastport Seabees, the soldiers guarding the POW's in Princeton and naturally the locals including many Canadian servicemen and women Ellie Nixon at USO Dance 1944
USO History by Eleanor Nixon & Grace Meader

PDF Format

USO Dance Grace Meader on Left USO Dance at Calais Legion.   Harriet Matthews outside Eastport USO provided by Susan Esposito
 The "contraption" was in a box of quarry tools found in a garage in Red Beach, Maine. In the wooden box were plug and star drills, chisels, pointers, plug & feathers, and the "spoon." After some checking able to determine the spoon end of this hand tool was used to remove stone dust from the quarryman's drill hole while the angled end was used to loosen the dust. No doubt original Washington County and I would like to think used in our local quarries. The usual hand made version of this tool is a large nail with the pointed end pounded to resemble a spoon. - Kerry Pinette  The building to the far right on which the sign says Duty Free Sales is not a duty free store. The arrow is pointing across the street. It was an antique shop owned and operated by a very interesting and eccentric character. The fellow who ran the antique store was Stanleigh Knowlton. He spelled his name in this rather unconventional style because he was a completely unconventional character. Stanleigh was a Brit, wonderfully eccentric with the vocabulary of a sailor on shore leave who looked, as noted by Tom Brennan, very much like Mahatma Gandhi. He was born in Rushdon England in 1908 and spent much of his early life traveling throughout Europe and Africa, sketching and painting. In Africa he discovered the place he had been murdered in a prior life and, for those who doubted the story, he had the rock which had been the murder weapon on display at his antique shop. During the war he was in RAF and spent time with the occupation forces painting scenes on the Rhine. Joe Unobskey was responsible for bringing Stanleigh to Calais. Joe needed a window decorator for his stores and somehow found Stanleigh in St. John Newfoundland. He lived initially in the Rendol Whidden house just up Union Street and eventually moved to the building at the corner of Union and Main where he ran the antique business. He spent a lot of time walking the Main Street with his parrot Mate on his shoulder and was often in conflict with the youth of the town and not a few of the adults. Stanleigh could be acerbic to say the least, firing off volleys of obscenities and oaths in a wonderful British accent at the slightest provocation. I think he actually enjoyed these encounters. Stanleigh did have some interesting antiques at the store which I presume he got in New Brunswick. I recall the day he tried to sell me Admiral Nelson telescope. Stanleigh invited me upstairs where he kept his real treasures and offered me a "nip" to lubricate the negotiations. Stanley drank as well as talked like a British sailor. He then produce a brass telescope much dented from use. He assured the telescope has belonged to Lord Nelson and was very likely in his hands at the Battle of Trafalgar. Much as he treasured it he was forced, he claimed, by his dire financial situation to part with it and he felt I was the type of person who could appreciate the significance of this historic item. As difficult as it was for him, he would part with it for $50. I pointed out to Stanleigh that someone actually possessing Lord Nelson telescope from the Battle of Trafalgar would be crazy to sell it for anything less than 50 million dollars and I was not in the market for any telescope and clearly one which was NOT Lord Nelson's. Stanley became very upset that I would question his honesty and remained angry at me for sometime over this affront. Stanley died in January of 1982. Under the terms of his will he directed "my earthly remains be cremated and given to Paddy Brogan of St John Newfoundland, and $50. for a beach party to invite some of my old friends and scatter my ashes on the bonfire". The only known "Knowlton's" in existence today are all owned by the noted local art collecter and Stanleigh's attorney, Dave Fletcher, who kindly loan me the entire collection to scan. I've attached a couple of his painting from the 1930's. In reality Stanleigh was a rather accomplished artist so perhaps Dave will enjoy a comfortable retirement when the art world comes in search of original Knowltons from his early period.
Knowlton Painting Knowlton Painting Grove's Cash Store Corner of Main & Union Whitlock Store Corner of Union & Main (same bldg as Grove's)
Whose Bar is This? Phelan's Grocery, North Street Opposite Lincoln Tom's Fish Hut 1970 Before Addition. Tom's Fish Hut North & Lincoln 1970 After the Addition.

The photo above a 1970 photo of Tom's Fish Hut at the corner of North and Lincoln. The lot is now the site of Tammy Smith's Accounting. The owner of the place was Tom Lawless. After graduating from Woodland High School Tom enlisted in the Marines where he became one of the Marines best boxers, once leading his team from Guam to the Navy championship. After the service he lived in Calais with his wife Doris on South Street and eventually opened the "Hut" where, I understand, his boxing skills were never allowed to rust. The place had quite a reputation. It sold food but was primarily a bar for rough and ready locals who would have complained to the management had an entire night of peace and brotherhood reigned behind its doors. It is fair to say the "HUT" was not the sort of place you would take a date to listen to folk music and sing the anti-war songs so popular during the period, although there is some suggestion the famous Weather Underground radical from Sanford, Ray Luc Levasseur, lived in the apartment over the "Hut" before being sent to the federal pen for 25
years for robbing banks.
Famous Hut story: Tom had several run-ins with the law and Bob Tibbetts was always Tom's attorney. John Mitchell was the prosecutor in those days so it is not
surprising the two would end up in Superior Court before a jury with Tom as the defendant. Both were excellent trial attorneys but in this particular case John was sure he had the upper hand and would easily secure a conviction. He was even more confident after the State's case was completed. However Bob and Tom had a secret weapon, Tom. He was an excellent witness in his own behalf and, with Bob's help, Tom seemed to be winning over the jurors. John was worried but, like all good trial attorneys, John quickly formulated a plan to counter Tom's success with the jury. On cross examination John decided to play the "Hut" card. Reasoning that if he could make certain the jurors realized the Tom on the stand was the "Tom" of the infamous "Tom's Fish Hut" the jurors sympathy would vanish instantly and a conviction would be assured. John: Mr Lawless would you happen to own a bar? Tom: Yes I do. John: And what would be the name of that bar? Tom: Tom's Fish Hut John: And where is this bar located? Tom: Well you ought to know John, you've been there enough. The verdict, by the way, was not guilty. Before the Hut occupied the building it was Henry Casey's Bakery and for many years prior to that it was Leo Phelan's grocery. The Phelan family lived across North Street from the store. They were a well known and well regarded Calais family, very musical and public spirited. Leo lead the Calais Band for many years and in addition to running the grocery, he was a mail carrier who died on the job of a concussion after falling on the ice on Franklin Street in March of 1943. His brother Edward was a highly decorated hero of WW1 being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Croix de Guerre for capturing a machine gun position in France which had pinned down his entire unit. The "Hut" burned under suspicious circumstances in the 70's. The fellow who set the fire turned State's evidence and testified at trial that Tom had paid him to burn the building but, after Tom's tearful testimony that he had always treated the State's witness like a son and he just couldn't believe the boy would lie about him like that, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

 

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