Quilt Shop Hop


Kathy Thrall was busy handling visitors and writing up sales inside her big tent of quilts and quilting supplies at the Rostay last Saturday.  Most of the visitors were Quilt Shop Hop participants. Mrs. Thrall said to one that she had already exceeded last year’s shop hop business.  Mrs. Thrall also pointed out that the location of the Rostay Quit Shop about midway among the various participating quilt shops is also good for local eating places.


As can be seen from the list of participating quilt shops, starting at the north end or from the south makes the Bethel area a fine stopping place for lunch.  Pins & Needles, Farmington, Threads Galore Quilt Shop, Rangeley, North Woods Quilting ,Wilsons Mills, The Quilt Shop at the Rostay, Bethel, Kedar Quilts, Waterford, Babbling Brook Quilt Shop, Norway, and Oxford Mill End Store, Oxford.


This year’s Quilt Shop Hop ran - September 26 through October 6.


Energy Independence Day at Maine Energy Systems


Temperatures were in the low 50’s but a crowd I estimated to be around 200 or more people enjoyed themselves at the MESys open house Sunday.  Kids had a chance for horse drawn wagon rides and for the sandbox group there were pellet barrels.


Two important displays of interest to adults were the typical pellet boiler setup one could expect for a home heating system.  The other was a demonstration of pellet home delivery – like oil and propane deliveries the company stresses that it is an AutoPellet system.  After most of the crowd had eaten, Les Otten explained how the system worked while a pellet delivery truck actually blew pellets into a home sized pellet bin -  a frame supported bag pellet storage device which is part of the heating system – similar in location and arrangement as an oil tank is to an oil fired heater. (Photos of the display are in the Bethel Journals online news.)


Tours of the MESys plant at Bethel Airport were conducted hourly. In the entrance hallway, there was a complete burner unit on display showing how the circular flame nozzle would operate inside a boiler.


There were many New Hampshire cars in the parking lot when I got there.  Mr. Otten said that the company does a lot of business in New Hampshire.


Remembering Pat Dooen


Probably about 1947 or 8 at the beginning of summer Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bond drove into our driveway.  Our Riverside Farm was a customary first stop in Bethel for the Bonds when they arrived for their summer vacation.  They always stopped here first to get milk before going to their place near Bear River. Years later the Bond place became Lone Pine Camping.


The Bonds drove a blue Dodge sedan. This time when they stopped the rear door opened and Patty slid out. She wanted to see the young heifers in our barnyard pasture.  She loved animals even then. So I was her escort to show her the newest arrivals and tell her their names. Usually three or four of the curious ones came over to see close up who was visiting and get their noses rubbed.


Jeep Jamboree – Who Named the Jeep?


One story is that soldiers at Fort Holabird in Baltimore came up with the name.  General Purpose vehicle as a name was shortened to “GP” which was pronounced Gee Pee which then became “Jeep”.


In early 1941 Willys-Overland delivered its Bantam four by four machine to Fort Holabird for testing and evaluation as a GP light scout vehicle with four wheel drive.  Irving Haussman, a Willys test driver, demonstrated the vehicle’s off road capability by driving it up the steps of the Capitol in D.C. When asked what it’s called by  syndicated columnist, Katherine Hillyer, Haussman answered, “It’s a Jeep”.


Senator Meade of New York drove the Army’s new scout car known as “jeeps” or “quads” up the Capitol steps with Representative Thomas of New Jersey in the passenger seat. Two soldiers were in the rear seat made for gunners.*


The WWII Jeep’s iconic radiator grill however was designed by Ford and used on the “Jeeps” (GP vehicles) manufactured by Ford.


Fort Holabird was a famous place for us because that is where Kathy and I first met.  I ended up having three short tours there from 1957 to 1965. We last visited Fort Holabird in 1989 when in Baltimore for Kathy’s 30th high school reunion. By then the property had been transferred to the City of Baltimore for a business park.


*Source Wikipedia.



Forefathers of the River View Part II – Jacob A. Thurston


In 1891 Jacob A. Thurston bought the farm in Mayville formerly owned by Benjamin Bryant and before Bryant known as the Bartlett farm - land where the River View Resort stands.


Jacob Thurston (1843-1917) was born in Eaton, NH, (south of Conway) but his family moved to Errol, NH when he was still an infant.  He was the oldest son of ten children. In his early twenties he started lumbering by himself, logging primarily spruce, along lands bordering the Androscoggin.


Jacob Thurston married Flora Dinsmore of Colebrook, NH, on January 1, 1879. They had three children, Maud graduated from Gould Academy in 1900 and studied at Bates College; Ruby remained at home after the family moved to Bethel and Paul born in 1887 in Newry graduated from Gould in 1905; he attended Bates also but had to leave on account of pneumonia.  Paul Thurston will be coved in Part Three of Forefathers of the River View.


In 1881 Jacob gave up lumbering and moved to Newry (corner) where he succeeded Calvin Bisbee as a general trader at the Corner. (Calvin Bisbee had moved to Bethel – he was the builder of the store now known as Ruthies.)  Later Thurston purchased a dowel manufacturing mill and spool stock from a John Wyman, at the Corner; he rebuilt this mill and added a new 40 hp engine which was still running in 1904.


A few years later he acquired a similar plant on Sunday River in Riley. This mill later burned and was not rebuilt.  In 1893 he began manufacturing spool stock, dowels and staves at a mill at Swan’s Corner.  (This mill was located near the current Great American Ski Renting Co. building.) This mill burned in 1903 but Thurston rebuilt it and installed a 50 hp engine and boiler.  In Ruth Crosby’s “I Was A Summer Boarder” she mentions the Swans Corner mill as passing it while walking to the Charles Swan house to pick up mail.


In 1897, Jacob Thurston moved his family to Bethel.  At the same time he built a store opposite his house in Bethel. However, a fire in May 1900 destroyed the house and all his farm buildings built during the Spencer Bartlett and Bryant era.  Thurston soon replaced the loss with a splendid new house – the one that stands today as part of the River View complex.


By 1904 along with his mills at Newry Corner and Swans Corner, Jacob Thurston also had a similar type of mill but operated with water power at Frye, north of Rumford Falls on the Swift River – these industries made up the J. A. Thurston Co.  The Bethel News reported that he also operated one of the best and most completely stocked general stores to be found in the county.


To wind up, Jacob Thurston was first selectman of Errol for many years, for ten or a dozen years he was clerk and treasurer of Newry and he was also postmaster of Newry for fifteen years.


Airport Work Begins


Monday, September 30, Glen Builders of North Conway began work at Bethel Regional Airport.  As of Saturday, the visible results are primarily in excavation.  The main fence from the corner of cemetery property to the current entrance road, Davis Road, has been rolled up and grading for the new parking area has been mostly completed. Flagged stakes and painted outlines show the location, size and shape of the new terminal building – “Bethel Tower”.  Photos of the work to date are in this week’s online Bethel Journals news.



Parsons Bridge at Bethel Outdoor Adventure


Parsons Bridge is still a work in progress.  Saturday Jim Sysko and company were on Hastings Island working on the island end of the bridge abutments.






Thurston store built about 1897

Thurston home built after fire destroyed house in 1900

Dowel mill at Swan’s Corner—Locke Mt in background

Text Box: Les Otten explains steps in the auto pellet delivery system as delivery

Parsons Bridge map—bridge to be located east of campground

Swain Farm bridge of 40 plus years ago




Last Jeep—1970—Vietnam War

Jamboree Jeep



Po Box 763

Bethel, Maine 04217


RIGHT:  Arrow points to flagged stakes marking location of terminal building