“It would enlarge the power of doing good, augment the facilities of business, swell the population, give spirit and vivacity, cause a union of exertion, contribute to diminish jealously, increase happiness and prosperity and produce efforts salutary and desirable.”

From the 1846 Petition to change the existing Hartland – St. Albans Town Border

Academy Street

 

Currently, no maps of Hartland detailing the locations of homes, businesses and merchants before 1860 have been discovered. Various documents provide us with enough information to know many existed in its early years of settlement, but most of the specific details of when they were built or by whom remain unknown. The following is based on our best interpretation of known maps, town records, census data, historical book references, photos, artifacts and family genealogical information. Updates will be made as new information is discovered.    

 

Academy Street was part of the first road system commissioned by Dr. John Warren around 1804 to connect his 4 Townships of Hartland, St. Albans, Corinna and Palmyra which were constructed under the guidance of Samuel Lancey of Palmyra. Its eventual street name likely occurred after the Academy was built in 1832.

Academy Street was also originally part of St. Albans when the area was purchased by Dr. Warren in 1799. The often heated town line debate was brought up several times at Town Meetings between 1820 & 1845 until finally in August of 1846, the Maine Legislature approved an Act brought to them by petition of the citizens of Hartland to change the Hartland – St. Albans line on Academy Street to its current boundaries.

Hartland – 1820

 

The petition noted the existing borders cut up the village, made it difficult to properly tax and made schooling a problem. It ended by stating the proposed line change, “Would enlarge the power of doing good, augment the facilities of business, swell the population, give spirit & vivacity, cause a union of exertion, contribute to diminish jealously, increase happiness & prosperity and produce efforts salutary and desirable.”

Re-established Hartland – St. Albans Town Lines – 1860

 

Building dates of homes present on Academy Street by 1860 are unknown but undoubtedly several existed early in the settlement of the area. 

Hartland Village – 1860

 

The oldest known photograph of Academy Street comes from an original stereoscopic photo taken from the Baptist Church Steeple about 1877. Many of the homes from 1860 are seen including the T. S. Moor Residence in the foreground and Hartland Academy in the background.

Academy Street from Baptist Church Steeple – c1877

 

Dr. Calvin Blake (1798-1870) arrived in 1825 to begin his 45 year medical practice in Hartland. Dr. Blake owned a large parcel of land on Academy Street where it is likely he built his first home before moving further down the street. By 1860, George Lancey, Jr was living in the house following his 1856 marriage to Dr. Blake’s oldest daughter, Louisa Blake.

Former George Lancey, Jr Residence as Hartland Academy Vocational Department – 1940s

 

Dr. Blake’s large lot ran alongside the future Academy location and extended back behind Commercial Street as far back as the St. Albans line. The Academy Street front of the lot eventually became Blake Street in 1897 while another portion was sold in 1903 to become Seekins Street. The lot is noted in 1883 after being inherited by his son, Calvin  Blake, Jr who made the land sales.

Former Dr. Calvin Blake Property – 1883

 

Chartered in 1832, Hartland Academy’s first schoolhouse was located at the future Albion Keith Libby Homestead then know as the Strafford Mills Homestead. The homestead was still part of St. Albans at the time which is why Hartland Academy took its original name as St. Albans Academy. A new wooden schoolhouse was built soon after at the current location of the future familiar brick structure.

Former Albion K. Libby Homestead – 1940s

 

In 1856, the wooden schoolhouse was sold and moved onto Academy Street and a new brick building to house the Academy was built at its current location at a cost of $3,500. As noted in an article of its history in the 1932 Ripple Yearbook, “It was a commodious brick building containing a well equipped high school and grammar school.” 

New Hartland Academy – c1900

 

By 1860, Dr. Calvin Blake had built his new home further down Academy Street near the corner of Commercial Street.

Former Dr. Calvin Blake Home

 

The Pennell Homestead also existed by 1860 appearing to be the former J. Towle Homestead. Jason Pennell and his family moved into the house by 1880 living there until his death in 1910. His son George D. Pennell and his wife Georgia Parkman remained there until George’s death in 1927. Several families would occupy the home including the Boulanger Family and Killam Family in the 1960s until the building burnt.

Pennell Homestead – c1900

 

Following his father’s death in 1870, Calvin Blake, Jr (1837-1905) and his wife Jeanette Turner moved into his father’s home on Academy Street.

Former Dr. Calvin Blake Residence

 

Archibald Linn purchased the former T. W. Smiley Homestead where his nephew William Linn, Jr (1852-1903) eventually lived. William had come to Hartland from Scotland with his father William Linn, Sr and his 5 siblings in 1864 where he married Luella Green of Wilton in 1878. They raised 6 children at the Academy Street homestead while he worked for his Uncle Archibald at the Linn Woolen Mill as a Foreman until his death.

Linn Family Portrait (L-R); Elizabeth, Otho, Eunice, William, Bertha, Luella, Willis & Albertus – c1895

 

Ownership had changed but most of the houses from 1860 still existed by 1883 with several new homes built along the northern side.

Hartland Village – 1883

 

About 1892, Thomas Archibald Linn (1855-1914), son of Archibald Linn, purchased land from Calvin Blake, Jr and built the first house on what would become Blake Street at the corner of Academy Street where he lived with his wife Clarabelle Osborne and daughter Carrie May Linn.

Former Thomas A. Linn Residence (Left) & former George Lancey, Jr Residence

 

In 1892, the Hartland Town Hall & Opera House was built only to be completely destroyed by fire a few years later in 1897 and rebuilt in 1898.

Hartland Opera House-Town Hall after 1898 rebuild

 

At the 1897 Town Meeting, the people of Hartland voted to accept an updated list of names for streets in the Village. Most of the streets retained their original names at the vote including, “From said  (Warren) Square to the St. Albans Town Line going east; Academy Street.”

 

The former T. S. Moor residence was purchased by Civil War Veteran Charles Frank Pratt (1843-1913) who moved to Hartland from Bangor following the war and married Hartland native Mary Woodbridge. He operated “C. F. Pratt’s Dry Goods & Groceries” on the first floor and the family lived upstairs.

(R-L): Former C. F. Pratt Residence & Store, Opera House/Town Hall & former Lyman Cook Residence

 

Looking down Academy Street from Blake Street

 

Looking up Academy Street from Town Hall

 

Looking up Academy Street from the roof of Linn Woolen Mill – c1900

 

A massive fire at Hartland Academy on December 7, 1923 reduced the building to a brick shell.

The remains of Hartland Academy following the fire – 1923

 

Within a year, Hartland Academy was rebuilt using the original facade as its center and reopened to students in the fall of 1924.

Rebuilt Hartland Academy – 1924

 

Baptist Church, former C. F. Pratt Residence & Store, Opera House/Town Hall and former Lyman Cook Residence

 

Following the death of Calvin Blake, Jr in 1905, his widow Jeanette Turner remained living at their home until her death in 1915 with her sister-in-law Hattie Blake. In September of 1920, Calvin’s nephew George M. Lancey sold his Commercial Street store block and moved into the Blake house with his wife Annie Linn and the youngest of their 2 daughters Ardis Lancey. George’s mother Frances Blake, who married George Lancey, Jr, is an older sister of Calvin Blake, Jr.

Former Dr. Calvin Blake Residence (1st house)

 

The streets of Hartland began getting tarred in the early 1930s with Academy Street among the first streets to be paved.

Academy Street before paving from the corner of Elm Street – c1930

 

Ownership of Academy Street properties in 1943.

Hartland Village – 1943

 

Following the death of George M. Lancey in 1942, Lewis H. Barden (1876-1960) purchased the former Dr. Calvin Blake home living there until his death when his daughter, Laura Saville Barden and her husband Donald R. Crummett took over the house.

Former Dr. Calvin Blake Residence from Commercial Street

 

Looking up Academy Street with Thomas A. Linn’s former Blake Street Residence in background

 

Elm trees and paved streets highlight this shaded view of Academy Street from the roof of Hartland Tanning Company – 1945

 

Former C. F. Pratt Residence & Store – 1987

 

The Hartland Town Hall & Opera House had deteriorated beyond saving without a very large financial investment by the town and was abandoned following the Town Office’s move to Elm Street. The historic building was sold to a private owner along with its small lot of land. In December of 2018, after some 125+ years of service to the community, the building was razed.

Demolition of Hartland Town Hall & Opera House – 2018