On Jan. 20, 1960, brothers Lowell and Roger Jones began their career as two of Midcoast Maine's most enduring barbers, cutting hair and serving as friends and confidants for generations of local families. For the past 27 years, the brothers have worked side by side in their barbershop overlooking Mechanic Street.

Situated on the third floor above the French & Brawn market, to an outsider the Jones Brothers Barbershop is rather well hidden. The brothers don't advertise: a small placard next to the door and a red-and-white barber pole outside their window high above the street is the only notice of their establishment.

The smell of freshly baked pastries from the store below wafts up the stairway as men make their ascent each day to await their turn in Lowell or Roger's barber chair. For nearly 60 years, the brothers have been working in Maine towns such as Camden and Rockland, and the past half-century has given them time to perfect their craft and build a solid rapport with their customers and each other.

"The way I look at it, we've gotten along pretty well over the years. We've had our squabbles, but we're pretty easygoing, and there haven't been any fisticuffs yet," said Lowell Jan. 19.

The walls in the barbershop are decorated with photographs of family and friends, as well as a framed photograph of Sarah Palin, newspaper clippings and even action figurs" bearing George W. Bush's likeness. A Trump/Pence sign is in one of the windows. Many of their customers go to the shop not only for a haircut, but to listen to the brothers' banter as they talk politics.

"Some people come in just to stir us up," said Lowell with a laugh, adding that their nearby neighbor and barber school classmate Eric Marshall of Eric's Barber Shop has said that some people have switched establishments because of their outspokenness. "I had someone come in and look around and ask me, 'Do you cut Democrats' hair?' I told him 'Sure, but we probably won't agree with you.' I think the whole town knows how we stand on politics."

"And probably neighboring towns, too," quipped one of the men waiting his turn.

One of the things that sets the Jones Brothers' shop apart from others in the area is the fact that there are no female hairdressers, and customers are transported back in time and to a fraternal environment where "men can be men."

"Where do you want them to go, a beauty parlor? You get a bunch of men together, and they can let loose and get a little rowdy," said Lowell. The windows in the shop look out on downtown Camden and the harbor — a view they have seen change over the years.

"The town has changed a lot, from a working town to a tourist town. When we were first cutting hair, there were people working in the mill, there were fish factories and the tannery," said Lowell. The buildings that housed these operations have since been torn down or renovated to create luxury apartments.

The barber gene was in the brothers' blood: their father was a barber and so was their older brother. Their first shared shop was across the street in Camden on the ground level, but their rent was increased and eventually the space was overtaken to make room for a restaurant and bar. Without missing a proverbial beat, Lowell and Roger packed up their shop on a Saturday night, moved everything to their third-floor location, and opened back up for business Monday morning, 27 years ago.

The brothers refer to their customers as friends and treat them like members of their family. The pair have gotten to know generations of Mainers, and have even cut the hair of five generations of one family. They say that it is this closeness and personal touch that their clients have come to expect, along with some other details of the grooming treatment:

"Our prices are reasonable, and we'll do the nearest to what they want without all the fuss. And we still shave around their ears," said Lowell of a barber technique that has fallen by the wayside over the years. The industry has changed as well: there is no longer a barber school in the state, nor a Barber Board, and with the advent of popular franchises such as Super Cuts, a lot of the personality unique to barbers like Lowell and Roger has been lost.

"I don't know about another 58 years, but we're going to keep doing this until we run out of customers," said Roger as he deftly clipped the beard of one of his customers. "Maybe we'll stop once we're too old to climb the stairs."

"I'll know it's time if you send me home with one ear," said Richard Pease, seated in Lowell's chair. Pease played basketball with Lowell when they attended Rockport High School. At that time, the mascot for the boys team was the Beaver, and the girls were the Beaverettes. Pease jokingly asked Lowell if he planned to offer a discount in light of the pair's 58-year milestone.

"No, I'm thinking about doubling the price," said Lowell.

In all his years of cutting hair, there is one instance that Lowell remembers when he did refuse to give a customer a particular hair style. It was the late 1960s, and a young man came in and asked to have his hair shaved into a mohawk. The man burst into tears, and Roger said that he would do his best to satisfy the request. Moments later, the brothers saw the man, his hair spiked high, jaunting down the street with a wide smile, showing off his new style to passersby.

"At this stage of the game, we're just having fun and enjoying our customers," said Lowell as he finished cutting Pease's hair, picked up a brush and swept him off. "Who has more fun than barbers? If you don't have a sense of humor, you're in the wrong line of work."

The Jones Brothers Barbershop is open most days, but there are no exact hours posted on the door. Instead, if you're looking for a good haircut and a conversation to boot, Roger and Lowell say to look up at the red, white and blue barber pole outside their windows on Mechanic Street: if the stripes are spinning, the brothers are in.