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The people behind the names of Rockland's memorial parks

By Stephen Betts | May 26, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts American Legion Post member Gary Gamage salutes during the playing of "Taps" during a Veterans Day ceremony held last year at Winslow-Holbrook Square in Rockland.

Rockland — Rockland has several parks and monuments honoring both servicemen who died while serving the country but also citizens who have contributed to the community.

Perhaps the most visible is the Winslow-Holbrook Park at the intersection of Park Drive and Main Street.

Albert Davis Holbrook was a gifted student and athlete for Rockland who went on to Bowdoin College, where his success continued.

But the United States' entry into the European war that became known as World War I led the young man to enlist in the Army a month later, in May 1917.

He was sent to France, where Lt. Holbrook would ultimately be wounded in battle and die in a prison camp hospital on June 19, 1918, becoming the first person from Rockland to die in the war. He was 22.

A little more than two weeks later, on July 6 Private First Class Arthur Winslow of Rockland, who was the first Rockland resident to enlist in World War I, was killed in battle in France. He was 23.

The park has been known as Winslow-Holbrook Square for more than 90 years but a July 2009 dedication formalized the action.

The grassy area along Limerock Street adjacent to the Community Playground at the recreation center is named Merritt Park.

That park is named for Frederick Merritt who was a member of the Army Air Corps and died on July 30, 1943 after his plane was shot down over Europe during World War II. The park was dedicated with his name in 1986.

The grassy area in front of Dunkin Donuts, where a cannon sits, is named Ralph Ulmer Square. That is named after a Rockland officer who served in the Spanish-American War. He died in Rockland in 1898, two weeks after returning home. He had contracted typhoid while serving in Cuba.

A triangle of land at the intersection of South Main and Water streets is named for Gen. Hiram Berry. Berry served Rockland in the Maine Legislature and was elected Rockland's second mayor in 1856, according to the Shore Village Story. He later started a manufacturing company that produced doors, sashes, and blinds.

Berry entered the Army at the start of the Civil War and rose to the rank of brigadier general and a major general of volunteers. He was killed by an enemy rifleman on May 2, 1863 during the battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia.

Walter Butler Square, located at the corner of Broadway, North Main, and Cedar streets, was named after a district court judge. Butler also served in World War I and was the first commander of of the Winslow-Holbrook-Merritt American Legion Post in Rockland. The park was dedicated in 1984.

Chapman Park at the intersection of Park and Main streets is named after Rockland Police Officer John Chapman who was shot to death on Feb. 16, 1938 near the site of the monument. The patrolman was shot by a man he had arrested earlier in the day for public drunkenness Chapman was 39 years old.

Mildred Merrill Park overlooking Harbor Park is named after the woman who led the effort to preserve that land as a park. She was a teacher for 40 years, being named Maine Teacher of the Year in 1978. She also served two terms on the council from 1977-83 and was twice elected mayor (1979 and 1982).

Marie "Sis" Reed Park at the end of the Samoset Road next to the path leading to the Rockland Breakwater was named in 1991 for the woman who for many years volunteered to beautify local parks. She also worked as a clerk in the city's assessment office.

Sandy Beach Park is also officially named Berliawsky Park after Nathan Berliawsky. He was a local businessman who owned the downtown Thorndike building. He and his wife donated the land where the park is to the city in 1963.

Berliawsky and his family, including his sister Louise who would become a famous artist Louise Nevelson, immigrated to Rockland from  Kiev, Russia in 1902. He died at the age of 81 in 1980.

Snow Marine Park off Mechanic Street was named after the Snow family who operated a shipyard at the current site of Rockland Marine and the Sail, Power and Steam Museum which is located next to the park. That operated as a shipyard from 1862 to shortly after World War II.

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Comments (7)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | May 31, 2019 09:49

Valerie, as long as you can spell "update later", you will be a good reporter.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | May 31, 2019 07:02

Well, Steve and Debbie, Guess I will not make a good reporter.  I never caught it!  LOL

Posted by: Bradley Ketcher | May 28, 2019 08:22

Thanks for this informative piece.

Posted by: Stephen Betts | May 27, 2019 11:06

Yes, 1918, thank you for catching that typo.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | May 27, 2019 07:30


"He was sent to France, where Lt. Holbrook would ultimately be wounded in battle and die in a prison camp hospital on June 19, 2018."

Posted by: Deborah Clarisse Morrison | May 27, 2019 06:28

I think you meant Holbrook died in 1918





Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | May 26, 2019 09:29

Steve Thank you for your timely and heartfelt accounting of those who gave some and some who gave all for their country.

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