Although it didn’t exist during his lifetime, Dr. Calvin Blake was posthumously honored by the town in 1897 with this namesake street.

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Most of the area to the north of the Sebasticook River as well as a large section of its western side and all of the eastern side were originally part of St Albans until the now familiar town lines were established in 1849 and it officially became part of Hartland.

Blake Street did exist until about 1896. It is believed the house shown on the map as “G. Lancey” was the original home of Dr. Calvin Blake before he built a new house further down Academy Street. George Lancey, Jr married Dr. Blake’s daughter Frances C. Blake about 1856. Dr. Blake owned most of the land next to and behind the Academy stretching back along the rear of Commercial Street to the St Albans town line.

Hartland Village – 1860

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Dr. Calvin Blake (1798-1870) was one of Hartland’s earliest full-time physicians and practiced medicine there for 42 years beginning in 1825 following his marriage to Louisa Haskell. He was very active in town affairs and served on the original Hartland Academy Board of Trustees. Dr. Blake owned the land on which Blake Street would eventually occupy seen below in 1883 after it was inherited by his son Calvin Blake, Jr.

Hartland Village – 1883

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Around 1892, Thomas Archibald Linn (1855-1914) and his wife Clara Isabelle Osborne (1856-1944) purchased land from Calvin Blake, Jr and built their new house on Academy Street. Although the house’s facade faces Academy Street, the common entrance was from their driveway which extended back along the length of the house and would later become Blake Street so its detailed history is included on this page.

Thomas & Clara Linn Residence – 1896 Map of Hartland

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Thomas is a son of Archibald Linn & Grace Wilson and one of the Linn Heirs operating the Linn Woolen Mill following his father’s death in 1889 along with his brother-in-law Henry Clay Fuller, husband of Mary Isabelle Linn, who was President of the company at the time and his brother Robert Wilson Linn, Sr.

In March of 1903, the untimely death of Henry Fuller from Tuberculosis at just 49yrs old propelled Thomas Linn into the role of President of the Linn Manufacturing Company which he dutifully fulfilled leading the company through some its most successful years of operation.

Thomas & Clara Linn Residence – Corner of Blake Street & Academy Street

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“Thomas A. Linn was educated in the public schools of Lawrence, Massachusetts, where the family moved when he was a young child, and he also attended an Episcopalian school at Portland, Maine. He went into the mills to work at Lawrence when very young, and learned the business of textile manufacturing from bottom to top. He engaged in manufacturing on his own account, and at the present time is Treasurer of the Linn Manufacturing Company of Hartland, Maine, and is an owner in the Fuller-Osborne Manufacturing Company of the same town.

He has taken a leading position among the manufacturers of his section and has done much to make the town of Hartland a busy industrial center. He is prominent in political and social life as well as in business. He is an active and influential Republican, has been chosen often as delegate to nominating conventions of his party and is Chairman of the Hartland Town Committee.

He is a member of Corinthian Lodge of Free Masons, Hartland; of Ira Berry Chapter Royal Arch Masons, Pittsfield; of the Commandery Knights Templar, Skowhegan; of the Maine Consistory, Portland; of Kora Temple Mystic Shrine, of Lewiston, and he is a Thirtysecond Degree Mason. He is a member also of the Hartland Lodge of Odd Fellows; the Pittsfield Encampment and the Waterville Canton; the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Waterville and a member of the Grace Linn Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church of Hartland.”

Thomas Archibald Linn’s 32nd Degree Mason Shaving Cup  (Donated)

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In 1896, Grace Linn Methodist Church purchased land from Calvin Blake, Jr and soon built a parsonage during the pastorate of Reverend I. H. Lidstone on Blake Street just past the corner of the future Seekins Street intersection which they would maintain for several decades.

 

Pittsfield Advertiser – October 14, 1897

 

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Research continues for further details but at some point before 1900, Dr. Charles A. Moulton purchased a lot(s) on Blake Street. This was likely around 1897 when he was planning to move to Hartland, however he never developed the lot and instead built his new home on Elm Street where he and his family were living in 1900. Its exact purchase date and location on Blake Street are currently unknown but it was noted in a newspaper article of its 1901 sale seen below and mentioned briefly by Hartland Librarian Mary (Coston) Smith in her 1940s journal entry. A second lot, or possibly a portion of the original lot owned by Dr. Moulton, was also sold in 1902.

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In 1896, Horace W. Stewart and his wife Mary West built a new house beyond Thomas Linn’s residence extending Linn’s driveway back into what became Blake Street. Horace, originally from Bangor, had recently moved to Hartland to open a law office located on the 2nd floor of the Linn Block on Commercial Street. He was residing at his new home in the 1900 Census with his wife and son. His father, Horace M. Stewart was born in Hartland in 1815 and moved to Bangor by 1850 where Horace W. was born in 1851.

Pittsfield Advertiser – February 11, 1897

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Over the next few decades, several well known families would occupy the original Stewart house at the corner of Blake Street & Seekins Street.

Blake Street Residence of Judge Horace W. Stewart – Dr. Lynne H. Blanchard – Elberton P. Dyer – Dr. Paul R. Briggs

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At the 1897 Town Meeting, the people of Hartland voted to accept an updated list of names for streets in the village including, “From said Academy Street at the point of T. A. Linn’s going north; Blake Street”

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In 1901, Thomas & Clara Linn purchased the Horace W. Stewart house and later that year presented it as a wedding gift to their daughter Carrie May Linn upon her marriage to Dr. Lynn Harry Blanchard on December 11, 1901. The following year, Dr. Blanchard purchased the drug store block at the corner of Commercial Street & Main Street from Albert W. Miller. He operated as the Hartland Drug Store until he sold the building and business to Ralph C. Hamilton in 1906 to return full-time to his medical practice. They remained at their Blake Street home before they moved to Pittsfield in 1915.

Pittsfield Advertiser – August 22, 1901

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Walter Ernest Mebroy Seekins (1860-1910) was born in St Albans where he married Alice Waldron of Hartland in 1877. They settled on a farm in St Albans and except for a very brief stint in Camden, New Jersey around 1880, lived in St Albans until moving to Hartland in 1892 where Walter built a dry goods & groceries store on Commercial Street and the family moved into the 2nd floor of the new 3 floor building. In June of 1900, Walter purchased a lot, or part of a lot, owned by Dr. Charles A. Moulton on Blake Street.

Pittsfield Advertiser – 14 June 1900

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While plans were announced in the 1900 article above to soon erect a new dwelling on the Moulton lot, it is unclear if a house was built as a year later in June of 1901 Walter purchased two more Blake Street lots next to the new Methodist Parsonage from Calvin Blake, Jr and soon began building the first of his houses on the newly purchased lots. Walter then built his eventual residence on the second Blake Street lot which they moved into in August of 1903.

Pittsfield Advertiser – August 21, 1902

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Following his purchase in May of 1902 of additional land on or around Blake Street from Calvin Blake, Jr ($325), Dr. Charles A. Moulton ($150) and the widow Louisa Webb ($150), Walter began a westerly extension of his Blake Street residence driveway, commonly referred to as West Court, where he built at least two more houses soon after. By late 1902, West Court (aka West Street or Seekins Street depending on the newspaper reporter) had been extended along the entire northern border of the late Seth Webb Commercial Street homestead as a new throughway to Commercial Street connecting to the driveway entry of the Methodist Church . In 1903, the first of several attempts to pass an article to recognize the new street as a public way failed but by 1910 voters finally passed the article adopting it as Seekins Street .

In 1906, owing to a serious lingering illness, Walter sold his Commercial Street Store Block however in 1907 he purchased a farm in Harmony where he and Alice and several of their children and their spouses spent much of their time for the next few years while still maintaining the Blake Street residence. Walter suffered an attack of acute bronchitis in November of 1909 which severely aggravated his other long standing illnesses and his condition weakened further. He was recorded in the 1910 Census in Harmony taken in April, but returned to their Blake Street home in late June where he passed away on July 26, 1910 at 60yrs old. Alice then remained at the Blake Street residence with some of her children & their families living with her at various times over the next couple of decades.

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Although it was never fully completed, plans for another throughway from Commercial Street to Blake Street were reported in an October 29, 1903 Pittsfield Advertiser article. The unfinished street became known at the time as Cook Place and eventually as its modern designation of Libby Street. “Another new street is soon to be laid out running exactly parallel with West Street and through what is at present a field of Fairfield Nevens coming into Commercial Street near Mr. Nevens’ buildings and into Blake Street near the Methodist Parsonage. A new house is already in process of erection on this new street being built by Charles Cook.”

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In 1906, another house was built on Blake Street by Mr. & Mrs. Flint next to the Thomas Linn residence. Vernon Clarence Flint (1878-1951) was born in Detroit, the youngest of 4 sons born to William Henry Flint & Nancy Nichols, who moved the family to Hartland Village by 1880. Vernon married Nancy Adella White (1870-1951) in Old Town on December 16, 1903 and the couple soon built a new home on Blake Street marking the event with a large dedication at their house.

       

Pittsfield Advertiser – 1906

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Although they had just built their house, Vernon & Nancy Flint moved to Seboeis Lake around 1907 living at a sporting camp in 1910 where Vernon worked as a Maine Guide and Nancy worked as a Camp Cook. By 1920, they moved to Old Town where he went to work as a Millwright at the pulp mill. They remained in Old Town until their deaths and are interred together there at Lawndale Cemetery. Vernon’s parents and his 3 brothers, George, John & Irving are interred together at Pine Grove Cemetery.

Pittsfield Advertiser – November 21, 1907

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Thomas Mahoney (1859-1927) moved from Bangor to Hartland following the 1903 death of his 1st wife where he purchased the Flint House in 1907. Living at the house with Thomas at the time of the 1910 Census taken in April was his 17yr old daughter and Nancy (Littlefield) Brennan (1867-1947) listed as a boarder, divorced and working at the Linn Woolen Mill. Nancy had been living with her sister Laura (Littlefield) Furber in Hartland in 1900 while she was separated from her 1st husband James E. Brennan. Nancy and Laura are daughters of Samuel Littlefield & Sophia Hoyt of North Hartland.

Thomas & Nancy married on December 15, 1910 and were still living in the house at the time of the 1920 Census. Following Thomas’ death in 1927, Nancy remained at the house as a Widow as noted in the 1930 & 1940 Census. They had no known children. She is noted as the owner on the 1943 Map of Hartland Village below as “N. Mahoney” remaining there until her death on February 18, 1947. Nancy & Thomas are interred together at Pine Grove Cemetery.

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John Scott would also build a house on Blake Street by 1910 which was purchased by Charles Emery in 1915. Scott would later purchase Ensign Hubbard’s Store on Main Street in 1922 and eventually operate it with his son-in-law Ellard Hebb as “Scott & Hebb Fancy Groceries, Fruits & Meats”.

Charles’ daughter Hazel (Emery) Penny at her parents Blake Street home before the new Grandstand was built – c1915

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There were undoubtedly numerous circumstances which contributed to the demise of the Linn Manufacturing Company but one significant factor which directly coincided with the company’s eventual end came with the death of Thomas A. Linn on April 14, 1914. The company seemed unable to successfully function from this point on and finally bowed to financial pressures declaring bankruptcy the following year in 1915. The American Woolen Company, which had been buying up numerous other woolen mills in the area, leased the Linn Woolen Mill buildings in 1915 then purchased it and numerous real estate holdings of the Linn Estate in 1916.

On July 16, 1916, the widowed Clara Linn transferred ownership of her Blake Street house to the American Woolen Company. The new Hartland Resident Agent for the American Woolen Company Thomas Thomas and his wife Sarah Chapman moved into the house in August. Mr. Thomas would soon contribute to his newly adopted community when he oversaw the building of a 60 foot long covered grandstand at the Hartland Academy Athletic Field which would stand until 1952 when it was replaced. In 1922, their daughter Vera Lillian Thomas married Clyde Wentworth Emery, a son of Charles Emery.

Thomas & Clara Linn Residence – Corner of Blake Street & Academy Street

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While unfortunately its layout was split onto 2 separate pages of the map, these 7 houses existed on Blake Street by 1917.

Blake Street Residences – Sanborn Insurance Map 1917

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In 1920, Alice (Waldron) Seekins was still living at her Blake Street residence with her daughters Nancy (Seekins) Leadbetter and Ella (Seekins) Getchell and their families living with her. She remained at the house in 1930 with her daughter Edda Seekins and her husband Wendell Annis living with her until Alice’s death in 1933. Edda & Wendell were still living at the home at the time of Edda’s death in 1939. Wendell was living there in the 1940 Census before he moved to Pennsylvania in 1942 to live with their daughter Audrey (Annis) Libby until his death in 1943. The 1943 Map below notes the house as the “Annis Estate”.

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Overall, the American Woolen Company business venture in Hartland had gone well until October 29, 1929; now infamously known as “Black Friday”. While the 1929 Stock Market crash didn’t adversely affect Hartland immediately, the resulting national Great Depression brought the first signs of trouble to town in 1931 when the American Woolen Company requested a large tax break on their mill holdings in Hartland because of their own overall economic woes throughout all their New England operations.

Although the American Woolen Company made some efforts keep the mill open, in 1932 they officially announced they would close the Hartland location and surrender all their property holdings and soon filed for bankruptcy. Shortly after their bankruptcy filing, much of the vast real estate holdings it had purchased in Hartland from the former Linn Manufacturing Company and Archibald Linn’s Estate were sold off at the Great Auction of 1932 held on December 2nd.

Great Auction of 1932 Flyer Cover
(Original Flyer owned by Fred Libby – Photo courtesy of Wayne Libby)

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Although the former Thomas Linn residence was prominently featured on the cover of the flyer, it was pulled and held in “Reserve”.

Illustration and description from the 1932 Auction Flyer

22. NO. 36 ACADEMY STREET: Approximately 14,600 square feet of land with two and one-half-story frame dwelling, having twelve rooms, electricity, bath, toilet, hardwood floors, hot water heat with barn attached. (Reserved and not sold at auction)

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Elberton P. Dyer (1869-1947) and his wife Georgia Annis (1870-1963) purchased the former Stewart-Blanchard house sometime after 1920 and were residing there in the 1930 Census while operating the Dyer Clothing Store on Commercial Street. A fire in December of 1933 caused considerable interior damage although the house was saved due to the efforts of the Hartland Volunteer Fire Department as noted below. Walter J. Rideout had recently taken the position of Superintendent of Hartland Schools in June of 1932.

Pittsfield Advertiser – December 14, 1933

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Dr. Paul Revere Briggs moved to Hartland in 1935 to join the Scott-Webb Memorial Hospital Medical Staff residing on Elm Street in 1940 shortly before he and his 2nd wife Marion Ada Estes purchased the former Stewart-Blanchard-Dyer house. Ada passed away in 1943 and Dr Briggs remarried twice but remained at the house until his death in 1985. Dr. Briggs also established an office at his Blake Street residence where he regularly saw his local patients.

Blake Street from Academy Street

 

Blake Street Residence Ownership in 1943.

Hartland Village Map – 1943

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Following Nancy (Littlefield) Mahoney’s death in 1947, her house was purchased in 1949 by Kenneth & Geraldine (Knowles) Bishop.

Pittsfield Advertiser – July 28, 1949

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Flint – Mahoney – Bishop Blake Street Home

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Following the sale of the Hartland American Legion Christopher G. Linn Post #141 building on Elm Street where they had previously provided an outdoor ice skating rink, Dr. Briggs took matters into his own hands with a new skating rink on his lawn for local children to enjoy.

Pittsfield Advertiser – December 18, 1947

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In 1964, Mr. & Mrs. Neil Turcotte purchased the former Thomas Linn Residence and began operating it as Crestwood Nursing Home.

Pittsfield Advertiser – 1964

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Former Thomas Archibald Linn Residence – 1987

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The former Thomas Linn residence was eventually purchased years later by a private owner and beautifully renovated.

Former Thomas Archibald Linn Residence following renovations by a Private Owner – 2018

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Currently, we have very few photos from Blake Street but our ongoing quest to find and add more continues.

Partial View of Blake Street – 2014