The Bethel Journals

Bethel Maine History

March 7, 2017








2016 Highlights of Bethel Journals Weekly News



New faces at the Rostay. Chris Wright and Sonja Benson are the new owners. They moved here from Augusta and Mrs. Benson is the innkeeper while her husband is still employed in Augusta. Bethel News for January 11, 2016

 SAD 44 Head Start program at the West Bethel Children’s Center Operated by Community Concepts the key three words are – (1) understanding, (2) challenging and (3) behavior.  Fifteen children were present on Thursday and all seemed well behaved.


New Mayville Office Building Planned  At Wednesday night’s Planning Board meeting Cassie Mason’s application for a new commercial building in Mayville was considered by the Board and approved. Ms. Mason is a real estate agent.  This project’s name is Maine Real Estate Network Office Building. The proposed buildings site is on land previously owned by Gloria Wilson.  The new building will be generally opposite Sport Thoma on Mayville Road, US Rt. 2

Bethel News for January 25, 2016


Bennett Automotive Expanding Service Facilities  Dwayne Bennett’s Bennett Automotive is expanding its automotive service area with an 86 x 46 addition that will connect with an enlargement of the existing service building.  The new building will enable servicing larger vehicles




Waste Water Treatment Plant’s new ¾ ton Ford truck had arrived;

Gem Theater billboard reports that the new projectors have been shipped; installation is expected to take place from February 9 to 12 – movies soon;

Entrance to the Mt Will trail looks to be in good shape for those with an inclination to hike (but the new kiosk has no postings yet)

At Café DiCocoa’s it’s Bernie For President.


Coffee Hound Coffee Bar at Sport Thoma  Chris Keegan and Jennifer Litteral serve good coffee and great food; it’s the Lift Ticket for your day. Their food truck is at Sport Thoma in Mayville for the first time this year. Their season here is November to May.

Re-opening of The Gem Theater The main event downtown this week was the re-opening of The Gem Theater at the Casablanca with new digital projectors. On Wednesday when I stopped in there was a crew hard at work getting old wood work out for a trip to the transfer station and painters up on ladders doing their thing.  Then on Friday Wade escorted me up to the projection room so I could get a photo of what the digital projectors look like. From the rear they look like an extra large desk top computer lying on its side with a portable hard drive connected by cable. The hard drive held the movie. Star Wars with a PG-13 rating should have gotten a good crowd.

New building started in Mayville  Construction of the Mason Bancroft Team’s Maine Real Estate Network office building in Mayville has gotten started, so it looks. Rapid Ralph and Son, Concrete Foundations, South Paris, are on the job. Coleman Concrete poured the footings at week’s end. The new building will stand on what I call a piece of the “milk truck” lot. At one time, many years ago the State had a shed here for storing snow fence in the summer. Snow fences are no longer part of our winter culture.


Inside work at the Huntoon Barn continues - Dan Gibbs was working in the future library research area of the Bethel Historical Society’s new building addition.  The north wall of this main area holds the former Bethel Post Office main window and individual PO boxes as they were installed in 1952.

Open House at The Eddy School - All the students were working in pairs- very impressive to see how well the young students work together. Instead of old fashioned black boards The Eddy School walls are what I would call the “Learning Walls”




GOP Caucus The Oxford County GOP caucus at Telstar had a big turnout from the looks of the crowd at voting time there.  An unofficial vote results page sent to me via Facebook showed how the county vote went:  Cruz, 329; Trump, 307; Kasich, 76 (or 16*); Rubio, 62; Carson, 12. (*hard to read).  So about 786 county Republicans voted.

Democrats Caucus At the Democratic caucuses on Sunday, March 6, there was a total attendance of 285 including a total of 40 absentees. This attendance compared to only around 150 at the 2008 caucus. Delegate tally for Bernie Sanders was 16 and Hillary Clinton five delegates. Bethel’s turnout was 114 total with 92 present and 22 absentee votes.

Maple Syrup operations Three syrup makers in Sunday River that I know of.  Fred and Rosie Burk’s Sunday River Sugar House. Their syrup is Dee-Licous.  The Burks have been at it for 50 years and have a very up to date plant and sugar maple grove.  The trees cover the area bordered by Barker Brook and Sunday River.  South Ridge, Sunday River Sugar House - I call this a ski-in/ski out sort of sugar house and sampling enterprise. Bruce Pierces’ Goose Eye Farm.  Since I was mainly interested in seeing the different evaporators at each stop and since I had been there before I didn’t go up there Saturday.  Their evaporator is what you might call the iPhone of evaporators – smaller than the others but probably more cost efficient.




Mayville’s newest building – Maine Real Estate --Facing Sport Thoma made very visible progress – framing is up; sides and roof are closed in. A new sign is up at the site: Coming Soon, Commercial Rental Space- Will Build to Suit.

Hard Core Bridge Work at the Route 2 Androscoggin River Bridge  Begun After more than two weeks of preparation, work on the Androscoggin River Bridge began in earnest this week. One lane is having its cement roadbed sections removed and rehab of the steel structure is underway.

Planning Workshop at The Gem About 30 people attended a Bethel Area Nonprofits workshop on Thursday at the Gem Theater. Sara Shifrin led the workshop: gather ideas, select an idea and make a plan to put the idea on wheels. To challenge the idea and make it effective/profitable the key would be positive answers to the “5 Why’s” about the ideas in the plan.

Big Doing’s at The Good Food Store and Catering Company The store building is getting a dose of improvements, rehabbing and expansion. You know that it will be a first class job since Dave Berry has his hands on it. Inside the rejuvenated building you will see a number of changes and improvements to make for better service, displays and catering prep. Heather and Dave plan for part of the store to be open again this coming Thursday, April 21st.


NAPA Auto Parts Store coming to Mayville Wednesday evening April 27th, the Bethel Planning Board received a presentation of a plan for a 7000 square feet (100 foot front and 70 feet deep) NAPA store in the recently purchased lot between Sport Thoma and the Bearhaven Crossing properties

Barn Restoration/ Improvement at the Shepley Farm  This week the Quality Home Builders Company of Bethel and other subcontractors have  been working on a new concrete foundation for the property’s barn.  What makes this job important is it is preserving the barn and the homestead’s long place in Bethel history.




Veterans Park Last Thursday, May 5, the Veterans Park committee met for a planning session on how the park area (also known as the Monument Park) will be organized and what should be displayed.  The starting point will be a flag pole in the center of the park lawn.

New England Mineral Conference Draws Many Visitors to Bethel

Friday a group of 4th New England Mineral Conference goers were looking over the stone and mineral displays at the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum.

Bethel Riverside Cemetery Association Annual Meeting

Officers and directors of the Bethel Riverside Cemetery Association met at the airport conference room on Wednesday evening May 11 for the association’s annual meeting.  In 1890 the 2d Congregational Church society, previous caretakers of the “Mayville Cemetery” dissolved. No party or organization had stepped up to replace the church to perform cemetery maintenance. In 1905, an association was formed to take over cemetery care and make it a credit to the town.

New House Going Up on Lovers Lane The former Catherine (Kate) McMillan prefab house was removed. Ron Savage/Savage Contracting is the builder.

Old Maple Tree Removed The old maple tree which threatened the Soldier Monument has come down. Looking at the monument dedication photo printed in the 2008 Town Report the maple tree standing to the left of the monument maybe the one just cut down.

Opening day at the Farmers Marketplace Saturday May 28 was 2016’s opening day at the Farmers Marketplace – great weather for the market’s opener

Memorial Day – Decoration Day Saturday morning Arlan Jodrey, Bill Myers, Nancy Brown, Ruth and Don Feeney, Bertha and Doug Grover and Sylvia and Norm Clanton were busy placing geraniums and other flowers at the Riverside Cemetery graves for those families who many years ago had arranged with the cemetery association for these decorations.

Memorial Day Memorial Day services were held in the Bethel fire station due to threatened rain. Representative Fran Head was the principal speaker


Bethel Historical Society Celebrated Turning 50:  Tuesday’s evening gathering at the Moses Mason House filled all the seats to hear Lauren Sansaricq on banjo and washboard and Erik Koeppel on guitar and playing Miss Maybell and Slimpickins renditions with much gusto

Veterans Park meeting - Veterans Park committee members met at the town office.  Meeting produced two important votes: (1) names of all veterans will be shown on tablets erected at the park and (2) there will be two entrances – one from Mechanic Street and one from Main Street.  Pathways from the entrances will be laid from the street entrances to a center flag pole.  Besides the committee members Selectman Don Bennett and Jarrod Crockett attended the meeting.

The Smoking Good BBQ – Into Its 10th Year


New house construction is in progress where John and Arlene Greenleaf’s house stood. This house was built  in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s by Stanley Brown.

At the large Cross Excavation facility in West Bethel, former Kendall Dowel Mill complex, a new building has been added. It will house the company office.


Town meeting voting for selectmen:  Andrew Whitney won a selectman’s seat defeating Stan Howe for the position.  Sixty eight voters attended-slightly below average attendance. At the 2013 town meeting 188 voters attended the meeting due largely to the issues of dog park and basketball court being on the agenda.

2016 although several items were questioned, the two items getting the most discussion were proposed funding of a Ethel Bisbee School fitness exam. The item was included in the Cole Block annual budget. The other item which got more discussion was the lack of progress of completing an outdoor basketball court behind the Big Apple and Dunkin Donuts stores .

Town of Bethel updated the town website with new format and more information

Bob Currier had a new house for himself; his new house is going up on the highest parcel of land in the Birch Wood subdivision.


Rotary Auction at Telstar— for some of the auction scenery Click here




Upper Sunday River School House Moved - The Upper Sunday River School House was purchased by Bill and Donna Purdie and Vaughan and Elizabeth Sanborn from the Sunday River Skiway. Tuesday morning the Dana E Watson & Son Building Movers of Naples, ME moved the school house which had been first built about 1829.  See the school move’s progress


Art Fair Weekend: participants were 1) Elements Art Gallery at the Philbrook Place; 2) Places of Memory at the  Bethel Historical Society; 3)  Art @ 53 Maine; 4) Shy, Novice and Closeted at Janet Willie’s house; 5) the Bethel Art Fair on the Common and 6) Plein Air Art at Mary Isham’s homestead. 

See more - a quick tour of the various displays


Gehring House -- the front windows of the Gehring House were boarded up this summer

Favreau Mill now Stone Veneer Mill  Brief tour of the mill shows the stone cutting machinery used to produce stone veneer pieces. Office and mill buildings being repainted to a stone gray.

Railroad Street gas station upgrade: A complete replacement of the gas storage and dispensing system was going on this week at the CITGO – Big Apple site this week.  The gas storage tanks have been replaced with new ones and the old pumps have been removed, obviously new pumps will be installed.

At the Brew Pub ran a summer carnival with rides and midway carnival was in business for summer and local visitor entertainment.




Bridge Work Progress - concrete was poured into the bridge’s southbound lane.

Basketball Park since the June town meeting --There has been a noticeable amount of work done at the basketball court site in the past month.

Cole Block Improvements -Town Meeting approved $40,000 for Cole building improvements for this fiscal year. Work is underway.. Original building cost was $10,000+ in 1891.  Some of the boards you see are 1891 boards.

Taxidermy Show and Competition - At the Jordan Hotel the Maine Association of Taxidermists displayed work of many of their members for judging.  A young woman who had only been engaged in taxidermy for a couple of years did very well by the judging..

Middle Intervale Meeting House  guests celebrate its 200th Anniversary

Golf Classic at the Bethel Inn - Monday, August 8, the Bethel Inn hosted the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce 30th Annual Leon Truman Golf Classic tournament.  Twenty-seven teams entered with 108 players.  Some team and individual scoring results were:  Top Three Gross Scores – Jasiak Group 2 (Bethel Inn guests) 57; Wal-Mart: 57 and Chalmers Insurance: 57; Net scores (actual on the field scores):  LaQuinta: 57; Bethel Inn: 58; and Twin City Financial Group: 58.

Refreshed Store Front at Ruthies - Herrick Carpentry of Bethel replaced siding from the front of Ruthies store and motel. Calvin Bisbee put up a grist mill here which is now a store in 1900.

New Office Building Up and Running - Maine Real Estate office in the Parkway building has moved to the new office building in Mayville’s growing business district. A very pleasant conference room offers pleasing views from its windows which make it an attractive place for staff meetings, deal closings and staff lunches.

Pine Tree Glass Art store to 284 Mayville Brent Badone has moved his Pine Tree Glass Art store to the Mayville Junction building from its Parkway Plaza quarters

Trappers Weekend 2016—  Bethel was represented very well by Bethel Bait and Tackle and More. Excellent weather and the typical large crowd.  See More about Trappers 2016

Shade Tree Survey Bethel village volunteers were conducting had a shade tree survey.




Facelift at the Steam Mill - Scott Hart and partner are installing new siding on one of Bethel’s most historic industrial development buildings – the 1864 store and club house built by the Skillings family of Winchester, Mass., as part of their steam mill enterprise. I learned that Warren Hart of the same family once lived in one of the six cottages built next to the office building just across the road from the one being worked on.  Nelson Hart, a classmate of mine in the Bethel Grammar School, was a great uncle of the men I met Saturday

Outward Bound 2016 - Made an early fall trip to Newry’s Hurricane Island Outward Bound L.L. Bean center Saturday morning.  The staff I met there told me that they had a very big summer. Five years ago they had enrolled about 400 teenagers, college students and veterans.  Their estimate for this year nearly doubled that. Over 50 staff members handle the various canoeing and backpacking the school runs.

Bethel’s Age-Friendly Community association joined the AARP Age-Friendly network.

At the Briar Lea – Jolly Drayman: The new owners of the Briar Lea completed a magnificent floral gateway to their property in Mayville.

New Bethel Company Opens - The Maine Ski Lodging Co operated by Matthew Hiebert and Stephanie Cayer is the latest addition to the local business community. Its office is located in the Mahoosuc Professional building at 16 Parkway.

Gould Alumni Weekend:  Saturday’s Alumni Luncheon was very well attended. The other big event at Gould on Saturday was the unveiling of a Husky monument given by the Class of 1966.

Androscoggin River Bridge opened: At the beginning of the week “the (Androscoggin) bridge” had had its final paving and the line painting trucks had laid down the customary yellow and white lines. Everyone working there has since gone home and their outdoor warehouse is vacant.

Savage Auto Service Facility Expanding -  Four additional service bays are being added to the Savage Auto Repair and Towing Station on the West Bethel Road not far from the Lovers Lane intersection.  Plans are to move the currently separate body shop into the new wing when it is ready.




Building overhaul at former SS Milton restaurant - This past week work on sprucing up the former S S Milton house turned restaurant continued. Brian of Rumford is the new owner.  The porch has been removed (for now anyway) and the spruce tree in front of the house has been taken down.  According to Brian’s Bistro website they have been in the restaurant industry for over twenty years. 

Splash Trucking in Bethel-Forage Corn Harvesting- Our small field of John Carter’s corn had in previous years been cut and trucked each fall by a crew and equipment of the Carter Farm.  This year we watched a whole new world of corn harvesting.  Instead of the usual tractor, cutter, trailer combination we watched a CLAAS Jaguar forage harvester zoom down rows of corn blowing its cuttings into a Splash Trucking large bodied truck that zoomed along with the cutter.  It seemed like they were traveling 20 MPH.  What previously took most of a day to accomplish was done in less than an hour.

Splash Trucking is a business component of the Hood Farm in Turner Maine.  Besides hauling tank truck loads of water to fill swimming pools, the Facebook page says, “We are a family run farm that focuses on cropping for local dairy farms.”

Moving a Stable: The barn on lower Chapman Street was being readied for a move away   For many years it was known as the Plaisted Livery Stable.

Basketball Court, the Bethel Public Works men were putting the finishing landscape touches to the outdoor basketball court where it joins the Bethel Pathway.  The court looks like it is ready to be paved.

We were all very glad to have a rainy weekend. At our house the rainfall amounted to 3 ¼ inches as of Sunday morning.  Twitchell Brook which had completely dried up was running full force again.

At the Sudbury Inn- During the week a crew of men was replacing the roof on the Sudbury Inn’s “new” 1912 section.

MLT in new HQ - Mahoosuc Land Trust moved from its Ranger Station building to its new office and meeting center in the late Richard Valentine and Doris home. Hanover Selectman Richard Stratton is the craftsman remodeling and adding to the house to meet its new occupants’ needs.  The conference room has another symbolic link to Bethel’s recently faded history – “NTL Institute- Excellence Through People” folding chairs.




284 Mayville News - Alldoyles Cleaning Service has opened a business office at 284 Mayville in the space recently vacated by Cross Excavation. 

New at Parkway Plaza:  Farmer’s Market & Taps is the new business that opened recently in the space recently vacated by Maine Real Estate.  Barbara Dumont, Felicia Dumont and Quinton Stevens-Palmer have opened a grocery store and pub.

Thank You and Good Night by the Senior College Players started off at the director’s desk of the Bethel Radio Theater WMSC with Ross Timberlake on the phone – the opening acts featured the flailing around by the cast who, faced with several lapses and glitches, were unready to handle “We’re Going Live Tomorrow”.  It was a full house that watched as the story unwinds at the McLaughlin Auditorium.

Sunday River opened on Wednesday November 23 and on Sunday eleven trails were open with ten of them groomed. This compares to last year’s opening on October 19.  Local Craft Fair

Local Crafts Fair Bethel Inn’s Conference Center was filled to the corners with vendors, shoppers and sight seers. I must say that I saw only a few people whom I recognized.  One display laid out a table of Baa Soap for Nanny Goat Facials along with Patchouli me Pine deodorant.  Another layout looked a little more down to earth with Christmas time greenery arrangements, a decorated sled and a decorated snowshoe. Open layout had things I could relate to – bird houses and bird feeders.  And at the Ellis River iron works display there were what looked woodland creatures made from old auto springs and what looked like a metal bike seat used as a deer face with eyes attached to the face.  And of course there were a number of pottery displays and knit items




Farmers Market at the Gem - Saturday the market was open from 1- 3 PM.  There were three “storekeepers”: Dean Richmond had the meat market, Mighty Maine Greens from Woodstock had the greens and vegetable stand and the third store had a large display of women’s clothing.

Veterans Park Meeting - Wednesday evening Craig Ryerson laid out three models for park development committee consideration and for a vote to select one. The vote was for the two wall model with flag in the center of the park. 

The Civil War soldier monument would remain as is.  Phase one development would see a flag pole and trees as shown installed first, then park benches


Bluebird Restaurant Gets Ready to Open - New sign at the former Sunday River Inn says Bluebird – Restaurant Bar Events 207 824 1054.  When I stopped there Saturday Deb Doyle and partners were getting their new enterprise ready for opening on December 14.

Oyster Bar New Feature at the Barking Dawg - When I met John Amann Saturday, he pointed me to the Barking Dawg’s new Oyster Bar. Besides the new oyster bar, it is a great place to shop for food, wine, lobsters and oysters and now the Oyster Bar. 

New Owners of Historic Chapman House

Improvements Continue at Chapman House in Mayville - New owners at the former David and Nancy Murphy (old Chapman house) in Mayville continued with renovations activity—the driveway received crushed stone and more inside work.  1890’s saw William Rogers Chapman’s favorite trotting horses paraded here

Savage Brothers Country Store to Open - At 2016’s end the former Black Diamond restaurant was turned into a full service grocery store.

GOP Caucus at Telstar

Eddy School

Huntoon Barn at BHS

Gem Theater Digital Projector

Bennett Automotive Expansion

Head Start at West Bethel

Sonja Benson at The Rostay

Converting Bethel Furniture Stock to Stone Veneer

Sunday River School on the move

 Andrew Whitney, Bethel’s new selectman at the 2016 town meeting

 Old Maple by Soldier Monument taken down

 Bethel Historical Society 50th Anniversary cake

 Site of planned NAPA Auto parts store

 Historic barn restoration at the Shepley Farm

Major bridge rehab in progress

Good Food Store remodeled  and refreshed inside and out.

Text Box: Memorial Day services held in Fire Station due to rain threat
Text Box: Veterans Park planning meeting

Mayville’s new office building

August celebration of the Middle Intervale Meeting House Bicentennial

Saturday’s Farmers Market at the Gem

Text Box: Bluebird Restaurant

Gould Alumni weekend—Husky a Gift by Class of 1966

Richard Fraser’s 1904 Cadillac


Frog jumping on Mollyockett Day 2016

Splash Trucking speeds up Bethel forage Corn Harvest

 Former Plaisted Livery Stable readied to move

 Mahoosuc Land Trust new HQ

Future outdoor basketball court gets final perimeter grading

Sprucing up Northeast Bank entrance

Compiled by The Bethel Journals, PO Box 763, Bethel, Maine 04217

Veterans Park  layout design

Farmers Market & Taps