MAPLE LANE FARM—Edward P. Grover
October 18, 2011
Along with the former Mayville boarding house inns still standing count the former Maple Lane Farm’s boarding house for summer vacationers, which in the History of Bethel Maine is noted as being owned by Edward P. Grover. Michael and Nina Wheeler are the current owners. The farm is located on Barker Road in West Bethel. Like all of the boarding house inn farm houses, it is big. During the farm’s boarding house years it operated much like the other Bethel boarding houses – picnics, berry picking and probably wagon trips for the boarders (now called guests or just plain tourists.) After 1865 arriving boarders could get off the train at the West Bethel rail station. Nina told me that the Grover farm was also known for its dogs.
Nina told me that as far as she knew one of the surviving articles of boarding house days was the registration book. Fran Head said that the third floor’s small rooms for the help are still there (and in one of them is the register?). Fran also told me that many of the large homes there had curved or arched truss beams in the basement that were built to support a large fireplace above them. (These trusses would be like smaller versions of the Paddleford trusses used in covered bridges.)
Andrew Grover (1805-1863) was Edward Grover’s (born in 1839) father. On the 1858 map of Bethel, the dot representing the farm’s location is marked A Grover. Next to the Grover farm is a dot for the Seth Wight farm. Edward Grover married Seth’s daughter Augusta and one of their children was a son named Adrian. Nina Wheeler talked about Adrian Grover as being a previous owner of their farm.
July 1892 in Oxford Democrat weekly newspaper, a summary of boarding house guest counts reported: S.B. Twitchell accommodates: 20 guests; Mrs. A.W. Valentine: 25; Deacon E.C. Chamberlain: 16; the Locke’s in North Bethel: 40; E.P. Grover in West Bethel: 30; The Alpine House, Bethel Hill: A. Chandler, 20.
If the old boarding house guest book is found, it will be interesting to see who some of the guests were back then in the good old days.
The former Edward P. Grover farm known as Maple Lane Farm
Found – the Town of Bethel’s first safe
September 27, 2011
Thanks to Steve and Rebecca Hastings who passed the story on to me last week, the official Town of Bethel safe was tracked down. It is safe in Lloyd Carver’s garage and in use. Steve Hastings told me about the safe having been purchased by Harold “Babe” Carver. Mr. Carver had it removed from the selectmen’s former office on the second floor of the Cole Block.
Lloyd Carver speculated that possibly Roderick “Mush” McMillan supervised getting the safe out the front window and lowered into a truck. Right now anyway we don’t know who actually got the safe out of the second story window. The safe is generally similar in appearance to the Ceylon Rowe safe now owned by Brooks Bros. Town of Bethel is lettered on the top over the doors. It was made by the Victor Safe and Lock Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. Carver has not found a date of manufacture inside the safe. It may be on a plate inside the safe doors which are covered with panels.
In 1892 the selectmen had requested voter authority at a special town meeting to purchase a safe for the selectmen’s office. The article was passed over. In 1895, an attempt was made again to see if the voters will grant and raise money for the purchase of a fire proof safe. Town meeting minutes record that authority was granted to the selectmen to arrange for the town records to be secured in a fire proof manner. But the voters did not specifically authorize purchase of a fire proof safe nor did they vote to raise a certain amount of money. Town records for the following three years do not show purchase of a safe; therefore the selectmen kept town records in the Bethel Savings Bank safe.
So the safe history mystery continues a while longer. The other question is how did the safe get moved up to the selectmen’s office? A picture of the safe will be in the online edition of Bethel News for September 27.
Right: the Town of Bethel safe which had originally been placed into the second floor Selectmen’s office in the Cole Block and moved to Lloyd Carver’s place.