Maple Lane Farm—Barker Road—West  Bethel

October 18, 2011

An old fashioned Bethel  boarding house for memorable summer vacations


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.

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.