Bethel News for December 12, 2016


Improvements Continue at Chapman House in Mayville

New owner renovations activity continued this week with the driveway relayed with crushed stone and more inside work.  Most viewed Bethel Journals photo of the week was one of William Rogers Chapman showing two of his favorite trotting horses in front of the stable.

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.  We love the Barking Dawg steaks. If you haven’t been in there yet, see photos on this week’s Bethel Journal news at

Country Store to Open

At the now closed Black Diamond restaurant on the Sunday River Road the sign reads Coming Soon - Savage Brothers - Country Store

Tuxedo Dining Is Coming

For the Bethel Selectmen’s meeting this week they had on the food serving application agenda four new names of businesses applying for local license:  La Choza, Saltbox Café, Fiddlesticks Farm and Jimmy Seas Pan Pasta.

La Choza Taco Bar says we are new in town and looking for dynamic seasonal servers. We are a casual and fun restaurant. La Choza will open in the Mountain View Mall or so I believe.

 The SaltBox Cafe is Maine's only Tiny House Food Truck serving gourmet breakfasts, lunches and beverages in Bethel and Portland according to their Facebook page. At this point their Bethel operating locations are not known to me.

Jimmy Seas Pan Pasta will, according to a web item, operate at the Victoria Inn on Main Street. Their summer location has been at Martha’s Vineyard. Jimmy Seas has quite an extensive menu starting off with an appetizer of Jimmy Seas Spicy Sicilian Style Seafood Soup; one of the house specials is butternut squash ravioli.  Their menu items should attract a goodly number of winter diners to the Victoria. They will be open 5-10 PM Wednesday through Sunday.

The humorous part of the Jimmy Seas information is that it calls its winter location Sunday River at the Victoria Inn, 31 Main Street, Bethel, Maine. Ski at Sunday River; dine at Bethel.

Bethel’s Victoria Inn and Its Historic Past

The Victoria Inn can justifiably be called Philbrook Place II.  John Philbrook had this marvelously styled house built in 1895. Rollie Chapman’s research about this home showed that Gilbert Tuell of Bethel was the contractor and the house was built for $8,000.  Mrs. Chapman found an 1893 Oxford Advertiser news item that described Mr. Philbrook as the cattle dealer who “has sent more cattle to the (Brighton, Mass.) market than any man in the state”. 

John and Pauline Philbrook owned the large farm in north Bethel now owned by the Harrington family and known locally one time as the Roberts Poultry Farm.  John and his brother, Samuel, were extraordinary livestock dealers. Their weekend livestock auctions took place in the 1880’s at Samuel’s large barn and grounds on Main Street now known as Philbrook Place.  I recall reading one news item where at a weekend auction at the (Samuel) Philbrook Place over two dozen yokes of oxen were sold – think about two dozen farm trucks or tractors being today’s equivalent of 1885’s yokes of oxen.

John Philbrook shipped so much livestock to Brighton that Grand Trunk Railroad built a stockyard with two chutes in the Bethel station area and a smaller corral at West Bethel – this comes from a 1907 booklet of Grand Trunk Stations, Buildings, Agents’ and Section Houses, Stock Pens, etc.  Railroad historian John Davis passed on to me another 1880 report that noted Mr. Philbrook passed through this place (in New Hampshire) with a drove of 200 store cattle, enroute for Maine. They were purchased in Essex and Orleans counties in Vermont where Mr. P. bought 175 head of cattle last year.

More evidence of John Philbrook’s livestock dealings along the Bethel – Brighton axis comes from a 1920’s postcard showing the home and telephone office of the Van Tel and Tel Co. and the brick grammar school on today’s Elm Street.  At the time the post card was made though, today’s Elm Street was called Brighton Avenue –connecting the Philbrook home with the stock yards at the railroad.










The Bethel Journals

Weekly News

December 12, 2016