First in line on Saturday morning at the Rockland dump. Photo by Glenn Billington

My first memories of the Rockland dump, (I will always call it that) were very scary.

Back then the entrance was on upper Park Street. You took a right and drove most of the way to Limerock Street. The protocol was to back up to the edge, in the family sedan to a knee-high guardrail made from railroad iron.

Rockland dads used this opportunity to back up really fast and stop a foot away from the barrier, scaring the daylights out of little boys, of which I was one.

Mister man, that quarry was very deep back then – 300 feet deep at least. We know this now from listening to Dave Hoch, the last operator of the Lime Company. The cranes that lowered the dredges down into the quarry had spools that held 300 feet of cable. So, it was, more-or-less, that deep.

I did not want to get anywhere near the edge, for fear of going over. When I did get brave, I would toss something over the edge and count down till it landed with a crashing sound. One, two, three, four, five… Smash!

“Did you see that?!”

Also, back then pickup trucks were primarily for tradesmen, and were not as prevalent. Everyone went to the dump in the family sedan. These days sedan drivers at Rockland dump may experience “CTE” or “Contemplative Truck Envy.” A new pickup in this town gets christened on Limerock Street. Unless your truck comes with a bedliner, the first scratches will occur on a “dump run”… as it should be.

We thought the dump would never fill up, just never. I went away to college and spent a couple of summers in Boothbay Harbor, and it did not fill up. It was not near as scary and we now entered on Limerock Street. Later, in 1990, we bought our old Rockland home and began renovations. I would demo a room full of lime plaster and head up Limerock Street to put the plaster back where it was quarried from back in the 1880s.

The dump has always been a meeting place. A place to see people from town who you might not see very often. One day I was talking to someone I had never met before, and he told me, “This place is the happiest place in town!” He continued, “it is the place where everyone goes to get rid of the stuff they don’t want anymore.”

This guy is very close to a real Rockland thing: The Crown Jewel of being a Rockland Tax Payer, is access to the dump.

When we have summer guests, they often wonder where it is I am going on Saturday morning with two trash cans, a recycling tote and a bunch of cardboard boxes. “Don’t you have pickup?” – No I drive one. “Why would you want to do that?” My explanation is hard for them to comprehend. It is just so satisfying. I load my truck a certain way so that everything is in order when I unload. When I get into the hopper building there can be no fooling around. I do not want to hold anyone up.

Saturdays can be very busy here at the Grass Ranch and I have lost track of time on occasion. The dump closes at 4 p.m. This can create something unpleasant indeed.

I call it “dump panic.”

You look at the dashboard and the readout says 3:40. “Holy old bald-headed Moses! Can I load the truck and get there by 4??”

You may be making dump runs all day and not get them all in. That can happen too. When we bailed out my mother’s house, it took a couple of months of weekends to empty out. There were Saturdays where there was not time enough during the day. We had “run out of dump runs.”

Honor the traditions of the Rockland dump, and as you create new ones to be handed down, remember this.

The dump closes at 4 p.m.

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

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