When I am being very good, I do something in the way of exercise around 7 p.m. Lately that has been a nice ride on my newly rebuilt bicycle. It takes me to places all around town.

On one of these occasions I was riding down Union Street and was passed by an electric BMW emitting a glow of the future. I thought back to when I was 13, riding down the same street. Would I ever have imagined I would see an electric car back then? I headed for the South End.

This was not an exercise ride, it was a “see what I can see” ride. A bike will take you places you might not drive around, like Halls Lane. Halls Lane has not been a part of the revitalization going on in the South End. It is progressing in its own way, apart from the oceanfront neighborhoods.

I continued down what I call South Main Street to Mechanic Street. (There has recently been an effort to claim there is no South Main Street – just Main Street.)

Mechanic Street got its name from a clipper ship – Young Mechanic, built by Francis W. Rhoades, designed by his 18-year-old son William. Rhoades died in 1854 while the ship was being built. The vessel was launched in 1855.

I continued around the bend and looked up at David Grima’s former residence, the cement grain towers. Across the street, towering over the land on 5 South St., is a new home with modern design and many windows. This was the location of the Atlantic House, a boarding house for shipbuilders, also built by Francis Rhoades.

The Atlantic House was famous for being the subject of Edward Hopper’s painting “Haunted House” in 1926. My grandfather Don Karl, the last owner of the Atlantic House, had the building torn down in 1929.

I suppose he waited until Hopper finished his painting before taking it down.

A ride I sometimes take for the exercise goes west up North Main Street to the intersection of Maverick Street (90 feet above sea level). I ride west and look down into the Crockett Quarry, the last working quarry. By the time I reach Old County Road, I am at an elevation of 180 feet.

Sometimes I break off and ride around Acorn Cemetery, where two of the most prominent monuments belong to Civil War Generals: Davis Tillson and Hiram Barry.

Acorn Cemetery looks up at the mountain and is very quiet. I continue down Old County toward Thomaston, between rows of quarries. I ride by the Timothy Williams Mansion, now resplendent with fresh, new coats of dark paint.

The Colonel would approve.

A third ride I like takes me down Waldo Avenue toward the Samoset Resort. Some nights I ride down old Samoset Road. The view of Rockland Harbor near sunset is something most do not see.

Riding to the end I park the bike, sit on the stone bench and look out over the breakwater. Straight out ahead are what I call the Beggars Moorings. These are moorings the Harbor Masters use for boats with unpaid mooring fees – The Raw Faith being the most famous of them all.

Back on the bike, I ride toward Seaview Cemetery, across from the entrance to the Samoset. On one of my visits to Seaview, a monument caught my eye. I thought I saw the ornament on top move.

A closer look revealed a red hawk perched on top of Colonel Timothy Williams’ grave.

A hawk perched on Colonel Timothy Williams’ grave at Seaview Cemetery. Photo by Glenn Billington

Why Timothy Williams would be buried so far from his stately mansion is something to ponder… on my ride home.

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

Glenn’s old bike. Photo by Glenn Billington

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