The Bethel Journals  Donald G. Bennett, PO Box 763, Bethel, Maine 04217



Bethel  -- all eyes turn to Barker Mountain in Newry where  Sunday River Skiway opened   






 Plus, in nearly every woodworking industry additions were  completed, and at the Chadbourne plant a new sawmill replaced older equipment. Machinery for converting waste lumber into chips for paper manufacture was in use at the Davis, Chadbourne and Hanover Dowell Co. mills. New motels completed were the Thunderbird Motor Inn of Max Zallen on Main Street and the Red Rooster built and operated by Roland Glines at Mayville. Of importance to the entire area Sunday River Skiway opened in December.



1967 Headline News 


Town Manager Michael Houlihan resigned.

Former Bennett’s Garage (SAD 44 Transportation Center 2011) being converted to a shoe factory.


Norma Jodrey named chairman of Bethel Winter Carnival. New A&P Store to be  built on Railroad Street. Bid accepted to build new “Telstar Regional High School” and middle school. Bethel Area Development Corp voted Henry Hastings president. Bethel Water District approved by voters. New Casco Bank & Trust Co. building started at corner of Main and High Streets.



Steam boat service Rumford to Bethel. 


Town to build new corn canning factory


 Bethel to build a lock-up


Chair factory rented Rialto Hall

Incorporation: Water Company and Bethel Village

Wyman brothers, Millbridge, Maine, A.S. Bean, J.A. Thurston, J.W. Bennett in the news.

1890 Round-Up-


Bethel water system opened


Corn factory moved;

2d Congo Church in Mayville closes;

Town school system survives a vote to return to District Schools


New water system including Chapman Brook reservoir and pipe from reservoir to Main Street—a major accomplishment—Main Street hydrant tested in October, 1890.


1892 County Seat will move; Rumford Falls booms; new Bethel creamery; vote by Australian ballot, Pinckney Burnham died; Timothy A. Chapman of Milwaukee died; Cole Hall (Odeon Hall) dedicated


The Bethel News is published; new County buildings get corner stone; Popular Tavern expands; J.A. Thurston is moving the machinery from his old mill in Ketchum to Swan’s Corner.  R.J. Virgin is putting several new machines into his mill. 

Text Box: Rialto Hall

The Skating Rink 

1884 – A company of investors (J.B. Chapman, H.C. Andrews and Elmer Young), referred to locally as the syndicate,  built the Rialto Skating Rink on Main Street.

Molly Ockett and the Nathaniel Swan family

To show her gratitude to the Swan family Molly Ockett collected duck feathers and made a bed which she presented to Mr. Swan


Nathaniel Swan, son of James Swan who came to Sudbury Canada from Fryeburg in 1779, married Mehitable (Elizabeth) Colby of Sutton, Mass., and settled in Sunday River (Swan’s Corner) in 1791. Between 1798 and 1806, Mehitable Swan gave birth to six children.

According to Mr. Swan’s account Molly Ockett lived with the family several years. Also according to Swan family history, Nathaniel Swan built their house in 1791—where it still stands.

Ruth Crosby wrote about getting her mail while Charles Swan lived in the same house and was North Bethel Postmaster.

Michael and Eileen Broderick live in the former Swan home today.


Nathaniel Swan (1769-1856) and Mehitable Swan (1775-1852) are buried in Riverside Cemetery and Molly Ockett is  buried in Andover Cemetery.


Sources: William Lapham, History of Bethel Maine; James and Marilyn Swan, and Ruth Crosby, I Was a Summer Boarder.

Charles Swan house—North Bethel Post Office 

C 1905, I Was a Summer Boarder, Ruth Crosby

Nathaniel Swan’s 1791 house early 1900’s

Nathaniel Swan’s 1791 house, above,  and below, as it appears 2010 at Swan’s Corner.

V8 Power on the Ski Tow

You’d release the rope and become airborne


Roger Adams, Gould 1952, on the ski team in 1950-52 related this story about the Swan’s Corner ski tow:


“The Gould Academy ski jump, may have been the only ski jump to have its own rope tow. 

Being parallel to the jump's landing made the lift line extremely steep. 

It was powered by a brand new Ford V-8 engine. When the engine ran at a slow speed it was very difficult to hang onto the rope as it would pull on your arms severely. 

The alternative was to run it at a fast speed or about 25 to 30

mph.  At that speed you would get a nice fast ride up the hill!  Frequently, when you reached the top you would release the rope and become airborne! 

One of the problems with high speed was getting on because the rope was zipping so fast it would burn your mittens.  Wearing leather mitts or gloves was an answer but even then they would wear out from the rope zipping through your hands.

The ski jump rope tow was a great concept as we could get in many more training jumps and ultimately improve our skills.  This also gave us a competitive advantage over other school's jumping teams.

Gould Academy’s Ski Area at Swans Corner  “The First Sunday River Ski Area”

Text Box:


Steamboat ‘Round the Bend

August, 1889

Bethel: “The steamer, North Star, built by the Androscoggin Steamboat Company, Charles L. Kimball of Rumford, Pres., J.B. Roberts of Hanover, Secretary and Treasurer, is lying at her pier at the mouth of the Alder River, Bethel.” The boat is 47 feet in length and 10 feet in beam and draws 13 inches of water. It is propelled by a steam wheel six feet in diameter driven by two non condensing engines, 13 horsepower.”

Text Box: 1968 News Highlights

Telstar High School opened; 
Zoning repealed... 
Van Tel & Tel sold;
 A&P moved to Railroad Street; 
Casco Bank into new building; 
Train station closed   

Read more

The Eddy – New School at Newry Corner


The Eddy, a new private school for students in grades five through eight, opened at Newry Corner on Tuesday with seven students and Mrs. Deb Webster teacher. The Eddy has its own “Little Red Schoolhouse” building with a welcoming, home-like entrance porch and brand new interior. It is a re-cycled and completely renovated former Bear River Cabin.  Three students are from Bethel, one from Andover and one from Albany as well as Deb and Doug Webster’s two girls. The Eddy is administered and primarily taught by Mrs. Deb Webster, a K-8 Maine certified teacher with 20+ years of teaching experience in public, private, and home schools. She received her B.S. from M.I.T (1990) and her M. Ed, from Lesley College (1991). She maintains her Maine certification with regular professional development activities. She has been          (The Eddy continued from Page 1 ) homeschooling her own children from birth into middle school. She has been an educational consultant for 15 years, working in both homes and businesses.

Inside The Eddy, schooling space is divided into four sections, entrance way, student desks, teacher’s alcove and toilets. The building is heated by a Renai monitor heater. The walls are Earth Plaster, a breathable, negative ion-emitting natural substance. Although the building is a remodeled tourist cabin, it appears to be brand new in all respects.


Entering the classroom space from a front porch takes away all the visual impressions of a typical school entrance – no hint of it being a public building.

Bethel Water Connects to  West Bethel Customers


On September 1st, 2011 the Bethel Water District, Cross Excavation and A E Hodsdon Engineers began installing a new water main from the BWD treatment plant on the North Road to water mains of West Bethel village. 


As of Wednesday, September 14th, the new water main has crossed the Androscoggin River in the vicinity of the Ferry Road canoe landing. It is a special composition plastic pipe 13 inches in outside diameter and 11 inches inside that was pulled from West Bethel through a channel in the river bed that had been bored from the north bank.


The under river crossing pipe is 530 feet long. It will be connected to a regular 12 inch main that runs from the river crossing site to the treatment plant. On the West Bethel side the special crossing pipe will be connected to a 12 inch main running along the path of the Ferry Road and thence connected to the existing distribution system.


For the first time since the West Bethel system was established by the Town of Bethel in 1959, West Bethel water customers will receive fully treated water that has been chlorinated, fluoride added, and aerated for the healthiest water possible. 


Don Katlin, Bethel Water District looks across the Androscoggin to the old ferry landing area of West Bethel.  Drilling equipment sits to his right.  U.S. Dept of Agriculture grant funds paid for this water service improvement.

 1897  Bowler buys Bethel News;  all eyes on Maine Music Festival; West Bethel Union Church dedicated.  Dr. Gehring announced the opening of his medical practice in Bethel; Frank E. Hanscom  became principal of Gould Academy.

William Rogers Chapman, impresario, director and coach of the Maine Music Festivals which debuted in 1897

Text Box: 1891—All This Happened - 

American Bobbin, Spool and Shuttle Inc (a syndicate) acquired Skillings and E.L. Tebbetts mills

Cyclone demolished Methodist Church
Butter factory planned
 Wild River Railroad begun
Cole building erected;
 Riverside Trotting Assoc. grand opening in Mayville
First Bethel Agricultural Fair also in Mayville
Gould Academy Alumni Association formed.

Top clockwise—Christine Greenleaf, NTL office; Oakley and Barbara Godwin, Mollyockett Day parade 19661;  Hanover Dowel Co 1962