Camden in 1910 and on

By Barbara F. Dyer | Mar 07, 2019

Readers have called and say they enjoy reading about what was happening in the old days, so I shall continue with this article, beginning in 1910.

The old livery stable on the new post office site was being torn down. A big crew was beginning to work around March 11, under the direction of H. C. Small, and carried on as rapidly as possible (weather permitting). In April the demand for rooms in town was greater than it had been for years. There were a few vacant tenements. It seemed that quite a few number of families had moved here recently.

Ye Ol Sagadahoc Tea Room opened at Norumbega that July with a large attendance. Delicious luncheons, sherbets, ice cream and teas were served. Everyone present was pleased and glad that a place like that had opened here. A special town meeting was held on a Friday in July in regard to a purchase of the Trotting Park property. It was held in the Engine Room Hall.

Automobile owners were reminded that Wednesday of each week was reserved for autos to drive on Mt. Battie Road to the Mt. Battie Club House. (That had to have been the old dirt road from Mountain Street.)

It was big news that President Taft visited at A. H. Chatfields (before the days of the Oreo cows). All the mills on the Megunticook River were shut down one afternoon, giving them the opportunity to go to Rockland to see President Taft and hear him speak. The President paused once and a lady said,”Poor man he has forgotten his speech.”

The beautiful Maiden Cliff drive was open to the public again for the season. It stated that the tolls were not large. The road was in good shape for teams and autos; the scenery was and is something you have never enjoyed until you have been there.

In December, the schooner, Perfect, brought a load of bricks from Orland for M. C. Whitmore & Co., and the schooner , William Pendleton, brought a load from South Penobscot. Some of the businesses advertising were: L. M. Chanler (drug store), F.E. Morrow (jewelry, glasses and souvenir china), Handy Music Company and Harry Stearns (with autos to let).

In 1911, the Fairyland Theater changed hands, with R. F. Crockett selling out to Sylvester and Chapin. Mr. Libby, who ran the Fish Hatchery, had received 425,000 trout eggs and 125,000 salmon eggs. He raised them and they were used to stock our lakes and ponds.

It was the 25th anniversary for the Home for Aged Women. It is now called 63 Washington Street. Today it is in the process of getting ready to be used as a safe and monitored place for recovering addicted women, and their children, where they can stay a short time until they can find a home. Also it was the 25th season for the Mountain View House to open.

The Camden Post Office [not the present one] had been designated by the department as a Postal Savings Bank, to begin business in September. Henry Keep was before Judge Miller in September for exceeding the speed limit of 10 mph on High Street. He paid fines and costs. The Camden Yacht Building & Railway Co., had a lively business that fall. They had five of the Eastern Steamship Company steamers at their dock for repairs. There was a new machine shop at the Knowlton Brothers.

More interesting things happened in 1912. The electric lights were turned on at the Congregational parsonage on the previous Christmas evening. Also a fully equipped bathroom and other improvements were made during the year, making the parsonage most modern and comfortable. C. P. Brown had received the framing lumber for the new Yacht Club building.

There was an unusual and interesting sight in the harbor on Sunday, the breaking of a channel through the ice from the middle of the outer harbor to Whitmore's Wharf. Only three or four times in the previous forty years had Camden Harbor frozen solid enough that one could walk out on the harbor. The continued cold did the trick, and by that Sunday the inner harbor was frozen and about one half of the outer harbor. The ice was from four to seven inches thick.

There was a considerable discussion as to the exact length of Megunticook Lake. In order to settle the most argued question, it was measured by two autos going over the lake on the ice. From a point on Bog Bridge, where the teams went onto the lake near the bridge that spanned the outlet to Norton's Pond, it measured three and one-half miles.

Bucklin's Orchestra had the coming engagements: June 13, graduation in the Opera House; June 19, Graduation Ball in the Knights of Pythias Hall; June 24, Commandery Ball in the Opera House and July 4, the opening of the new Yacht Club building. (Bucklin was still at his tailor shop at 8:30 the following mornings.)

The advertisements were: for a vaudeville in Opera House, people wanted to pick dandelion greens, for hair goods;, for evening gowns, girls wanted for Brewster's Shirt Factory, George Burds for shoes and Camden's newest industry was the Brewster Shirt Factory, where the bagel shop is today.

In October of the year 1912, Angelo Picardo, employed in the quarry of the Rockland-Rockport Lime Company, was instantly killed while he worked at the bottom of the quarry.

The Trotting Park was sold by H. M. Bean to Frank Handley. It was one of the most important real estate transfers in Camden for some time. Also to end the year, the first and only postage stamp vending machine was put in the Camden Fruit Store. Only one- and two-stamp purchases could be made.

A few things happened in 1913.The first 15 days of the parcel post shows a big business at the Camden Post Office. The number of incoming packages handled were 631, averaging a little over a pound to a package. The outgoing packages numbered 6322. There were probably only one or two offices in the state that handled more parcel post business at that time.

A native of Camden, sending a dollar membership dues to the Camden Cemetery Association, wrote the following: “Hope you are making a success. There can be no more ideal location with old Mt. Battie standing as the great headstone and the river in the background, silently making its way to the ocean.”

Miss Porter, of “Porter Place” on High Street, left on the Boston Boat for a four-month tour of Europe. She is ciceroned (a guide who conducts sightseers) by Miss M. S. Smart, who is well known as a conductor of excursions abroad, this being her 10th season. (Miss Smart lived in and owned the “Peyton Place” house, when I moved to Chestnut Street in 1934.)

It cost $45 to wire your house.

On July 25, 1913, the Comique Theater opened to the public. (This followed Fairyland, and Comique was changed to The Camden, and now has antique booths in it.)

Then in 1915, if the Congregation Church bell did not ring the following Sunday, understand that it was on account of a severe illness of a resident in that vicinity. The service would be held just the same.

A landslide of over 20,000 tons of rock occurred at the quarry between Camden and Rockport that Friday night. The holes where the men had been at work during the day were completely covered with rocks the next morning. The quarry, about 375 feet deep, now filled with rock, was a sight worth seeing. The men were so lucky that it happened in the night.

That is the final blow that ends our article, until we write about 1915 and beyond.


Barbara F. Dyer has lived all her life, so far, in Camden and is the official town historian.


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