Commercial Street was originally known as North Street until 1897
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.
Most of the future Hartland Village area including Commercial Street was purchased by William Moor of Goffstown, New Hampshire who first came to explore the area around 1796. Moor’s expansive lot, reaching along both sides of the Sebasticook River, was purchased from Land Proprietor Dr. John Warren and was originally part of Township No. 5, later becoming St. Albans, as noted on the 1798 Surveyor Map .
William Moor’s Lot S-17 in Township No. 5 – 1798
When Dr. John Warren purchased Township No. 3 in 1799, the future town of Hartland was a 30,000 square acre lot which had been surveyed as a uniform rectangular lot. This uniform method was standard practice for the surveyors laying out the numerous new northern Maine “wilderness” townships which had just recently become available to sell to Land Proprietors following the end of the Revolutionary War. Albeit convenient for the latter parties, it typically ignored the area’s natural boundaries and often made for unrealistic future access to education, town affairs and services for the settlers who came to live there. Hartland was no exception and each of its 4 original town lines, including those in the Village, were eventually altered to follow closer to its natural boundaries.
Hartland – 1820
Moor first built a small raceway dam on the Commercial Street side of the Sebasticook River Island then located his sawmill along its banks and built a nearby temporary log cabin for shelter. He returned to New Hampshire where he married Sally Moor, daughter of Abraham Moor, in 1797. In 1802, William and Sally returned to their lot with their 2 oldest children in tow where Moor later built their first permanent stick home.
William Moor (1776-1848)
William Moor’s first sawmill used some of latest technology at the time utilizing a new water powered “Up-and-Down Saw” design. Family legend holds that Moor would often leave his saw running overnight to ward off wild animals coming around their home located next to the mill.
Samuel Slater’s “Up-and-Down Saw” Design
An original working “Up-and-Down Sawmill” from Levant on display at the Maine State Museum
The early settlers of this area referred to it as “Fairhaven” although it was still part of St. Albans at the time. There were roughly 2 dozen families living in a handful of homes in Fairhaven by the 1810 U. S. Census. Settlers living at the time in the North Hartland & West Hartland regions were reported on another Census page as Township No. 3.
Transcription of the 1810 Census below by Head of Household and number of people in the household as listed in order; William Moor, Issachar Cook, Samuel Grant, John Lyford, Asa Rowell, Abraham Moor, Isaac Rowell, Samuel Moor, James Martin, Abel Hackett, Judah Hackett, John Smart, Paul Felker, Asa Wiggin, Joseph Watson, Jonathan Hilton, Willoby Cook, Luke Grover, Joseph Dearborn, James Palmer, Benjamin French.
1810 U. S. Federal Census for Fairhaven
Although William & Sally Moor were the first to settle at what became Hartland, they moved to Corinna with the 6 youngest of their 8 children soon after 1810 as noted in “A Brief History of Corinna, Maine 1804-1916”. Moor sold some of his Hartland property and businesses to Captain Joseph Ireland, formerly of North Newport then Corinna, and in turn Ireland sold his sawmill and gristmill in Corinna to Moor and moved to Hartland. The 2 elder children, Maria Moor , who would marry John Stinchfield, Sr, and James Moor, remained in Hartland. William & Sally, as well as several of their younger children, remained in Corinna for the rest of their lives and are interred at Corinna Village Cemetery.
Replica of William Moor’s Sawmill Sign
Decades of debate over the borders of Hartland and St Albans in the Village area would follow with several changes made, then undone, and then made again until 1846 when the current town lines between the two towns were finally established.
Hartland Village Town Lines – 1860
Living on Outer Commercial Street in 1860 are Matthew B. Stevens (1814-1883) and his wife, Mary Jane Fowler (1815-1863) of Portage who are both interred at Ireland Cemetery . With them are their 9 surviving children ranging from age 4 to 21 years old (including a set of 7 yr old twins) at their homestead seen above just before the St. Albans Town Line. Also living with them is a 10th child, 19 yr old Angeline (Stevens) Fuller and her newly wedded husband, 22 yr old Edward K. Fuller.
In the decades leading up to the 1860s, the Village had expanded substantially with new businesses, merchants and houses, however there were still only a couple known merchants located on Commercial Street at the time.
1860 Map of Hartland Village
Research continues on houses on Commercial Street shown on the 1860 Map but we have found some information for several of them below.
S.M.: The original sawmill location built by William Moor. The sawmill was razed in 1862 to make way for the new Linn Woolen Mill.
S. E. Prescott: Sewell E. Prescott served as a Town Selectman and Post Master in Hartland before moving to Skowhegan. He is a son of Sewell Prescott, Jr (1798-1837) who arrived in Hartland from Monmouth in the 1820s and likely built this house which was located near the original home built by William Moor. Prescott would build a store at Warren Square around 1827 which was later bought and operated as Fuller & Buck General Store. The house would later be owned by Archibald Linn as his residence, Edward K. Fuller, Elmer Burton and Reggie Knowles. It was razed in 1999 and is a parking lot today.
G. Prescott: Gorham Prescott (1801-1878) is a brother of Sewell Prescott, Jr. He likely moved to Hartland from Monmouth around the same time as his older brothers Sewell and Jason. He served as Post Master in Hartland in 1848 and moved to Bangor after 1870. The house originally had an attached barn and would later be owned by Archibald Linn, Ira Page, Lagorio Brothers, Claire Currie and Rae Fuller Randlett and still stands today.
P. C. Haskell: Peleg C. Haskell (1796-1873) moved to Hartland from New Gloucester in the early 1820s and likely built this house. Peleg was on the original Board of Directors at Hartland Academy in 1832 serving as Vice-President. He was Post Master in Hartland in 1845 and Town Coroner in 1856. Peleg’s younger sister, Louisa Haskell, married Dr. Calvin Blake. The house would later be owned by his son, Plummer T. Haskell, Reverend Augustus T. Bowman and Ervin W. Martin and still stands today.
D. Annis: Dudley Annis, Sr (1796-1870) moved to Hartland soon after 1830. It is presumed this was his residence but still unconfirmed. It is currently unclear exactly which house this is today so no photo is available at the time.
J. Billings: Josiah Billings arrived in Hartland in 1856 and built a Tannery at the Upper Dam off North Street. Billings left town in 1867 for Iowa. It is currently unclear the exact location of this house although it may be the future Century House.
J. Leadbetter: James Leadbetter remarried and moved to Skowhegan following his wife, Harriet Hogdon’s death in 1875. She is interred at Ireland Cemetery with their 4 year old son, Newell Monroe Leadbetter.
Technically, the façade of the T. S. Moor Store (future Drug Store Block) faces Main Street however side entries for its front and rear sections have always emptied out onto Commercial Street so its details have been included on this page instead of Main Street.
The origins of the building operated as a store by Thomas S. Moor on the corner of Commercial Street & Main Street in 1860 are unknown nor is it known what his store sold for goods, however the future Drug Store Block would become a well known center piece of the area over the decades and remains as one of the few buildings from the era still standing today.
By the mid 1870s, the former T. S. Moor Block housed 2 separate businesses with Miss Ella F. Davies operating her “Millinery and Fancy Goods” business in the front section and Alden Sampson operating his apothecary business in the rear section. This had also become the new location of the Hartland Post Office where Sampson served as the Post Master for several years. Following his marriage in 1885 to Nellie G. Lancey , daughter of Samuel & Clarinda (Moor) Lancey , Sampson and Nellie soon moved to the newly formed town of Woonsocket, South Dakota along with her widowed mother where he set up his apothecary business and remained there until his death by 1909.
Drug Store Block – Corner of Main Street & Commercial Street – c1877
Interior of Miss Ella F. Davies Millinery & Fancy Goods Store – c1877
In 1862, Archibald Linn came to Hartland and built the Linn Woolen Mill on Main Street. The new mill induced numerous other businesses and merchants to emerge in the Village including a surge of stores built on Commercial Street. Linn also built the mill’s main office on Commercial Street noted below as Building No. 6 which would become the future home of the Hartland Public Library.
Original Linn Woolen Mill – 1874 (Photo courtesy of American Woolen Mill Museum, Ohio)
Archibald and his wife, Grace (Wilson) Linn, purchased the former Sewell E. Prescott house next to his new main office on Commercial Street where they would remain until their respective deaths in 1884 and 1889. They were known for regular social gatherings of family, friends and employees at their home.
Archibald Linn (center) with Linn Woolen Mill Employees at his Commercial Street Residence – c1877
Archibald & Grace Linn Commercial Street Residence
Family & Friends Gathering at the Linn Residence on Commercial Street
Following construction of the Linn Woolen Mill in 1862, several new stores and houses were built on Commercial Street along with the new Linn Woolen Mill Main Office. George Lancey, Jr was one of the first to build a dry goods store on Commercial Street (1st building on right).
George Lancey, Jr (1828-1895) is the grandson of Palmyra pioneer Samuel Lancey. George married Frances Blake, the daughter of Dr. Calvin Blake & Louisa (Haskell) and a sister of Peleg C. Haskell. George & Frances first lived on Academy Street at the future Hartland Academy Vocational Building which had been built by her father in the late 1820s. They moved into her father’s second house he built on Academy Street following Dr. Blake’s death in 1870.
Commercial Street with Additional Buildings seen from Warren Square – c1877
By 1883, Commercial Street (still known as North Street) had experienced significant business and residential growth as well as a new church as the Village transformed into the eventual industry, business, political and population center of Hartland.
1883 Village Map
Greenville Jefferson Shaw (1843-1903) came to Hartland in 1867 where he and his father, Charles Shaw, purchased the Billings Tannery at the Upper Dam off North Street. He operated the Shaw & Son Tannery with his father until about 1887 and lived at the Century House on Commercial Street where he raised thoroughbred horses before moving to Stetson. Shaw was the Executor of Archibald Linn’s Will in 1889 and oversaw future Linn Woolen Mill operations by Linn’s heirs until his death in 1903.
John S. Flanders lived at the corner of Commercial Street & Water Street where he operated a market in the attached barn in the 1880s.
Former Flanders Residence & Market – 1923
Andrew Hanson Buck (1841-1932) moved to Hartland from Fairfield about 1865 with his newly wedded wife, Lucy Maria Burden. He first operated his tin & stove business at the Fuller-Buck General Store with James Fuller, Jr at Warren Square until it burnt in 1878. Buck opened his own store on the lower side of the Sebasticook River Island until the building was heavily damaged during the Great Flood of 1887. He then opened a new shop on Commercial Street operating as “A. H. Buck Stove & Tin Shop”. Following Lucy’s death in 1920, he moved to Ripley to live with the oldest of their 2 sons, Arthur C. Buck, until his death. Their youngest son, Frank Clifton Buck, married Nina Webb in 1891, the daughter of Nathan Webb & Almeda (Moor). After divorcing in 1903, Frank remarried and moved to Auburn where he worked as a Tinsmith.
A. H. Buck Stove & Tin Shop – Commercial Street
Andrew Buck was known for carrying an extensive line of fine porcelain products at his store with many of them featuring local landmarks.
Baptist Church Dish (Photo courtesy of Ann Foss)
Opera House/Town Hall Dishes (Donated by the Estate of Mary Anderson Butterfield)
Hartland Academy Teacup & Saucer (Donated by the Estate of Mary Anderson Butterfield)
Methodist Church Bell (Donated by Meredith Knowles Randlett)
Following the death of his son Plummer T. Haskell in 1876, the former Peleg C. Haskell residence was purchased by Reverend Augustus Thomas Bowman (1823-1880) and his wife, Rhoda Lowe. They arrived in Hartland around 1865 where he served as Free Baptist Minister and operated a Dry Goods Store (possibly at the building next door; future Charles York Tailor Shop) until his death. Mrs. Bowman remained at the house later living there with her granddaughter, Iola (Merrow) Hatch, until her death in 1905. Iola and her husband left Hartland in 1906 for California. Reverend Bowman was known for performing Baptisms behind his residence at the Mill Pond Lagoon off Water Street.
Gertrude Anderson, Crystal Bowman & Freda Bowman at Mill Pond Lagoon behind Commercial Street – c1900
In early 1883, work began on a new dedicated church for the Methodists on Commercial Street led by the efforts and financial support of Mrs. Grace (Wilson) Linn, wife of Archibald Linn. It cost $2,800 and was built by Amasa J. Moor of Hartland and opened in December of 1883.
Grace Linn Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church
Mrs. Linn unfortunately passed away on January 26, 1884 and her funeral was the first Memorial Service held in the new church she worked to have built. On March 26, 1884, the church was officially dedicated in her memory as the Grace Linn Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church.
Original 1884 Invitation to Albion K. Libby (Photo courtesy of Wayne Libby)
The former Gorham Prescott residence was purchased by Archibald Linn probably soon after Prescott moved to Bangor around 1870. It is unclear exactly what purpose Linn used the buildings for but he added an additional barn and other out buildings. Linn also purchased several others buildings on Commercial Street by 1883 including the former Leadbetter Homestead on Outer Commercial Street.
By the early 1880s, George Lancey, Jr. had built another building for a new dry goods store near the corner of Commercial Street & Academy Street which he operated up until his death.
George Lancey, Jr’s New Store near corner of Commercial & Academy Streets
After he built his new store, Lancey leased his original building to St. Albans native Charles Henry Skinner, who operated the “C. H. Skinner Dry Goods & Groceries” store at the location. In the early 1890s Skinner left with his family for Everett, Washington to open a store in the new upstart railroad town and start a new life there. Skinner unfortunately died soon after in 1894 and was buried there but his family remained.
Charles Henry Skinner (1838-1894) and his Memorial Stone in Everett, Washington
The house on the corner of Commercial & Water Street was occupied by H. Graves on the 1860 Map then L. Patten by 1883. Soon after, William Anderson (1851-1917) and his wife, Alice Jean Nicol (1853-1925), resided there with their 2 daughters, Jean Anderson (1885-1972) & Mary Anderson (1888-1985). Mary became a school teacher in Hartland and married Percy Coy Butterfield in 1913.
Former Graves-Patten Residence seen as Anderson Home before renovations – c1930
Margaret E. Nicol was a sister of Alice (Nicol) Anderson and came from Glasgow, Scotland to Hartland where she lived with the Andersons for a time. During her stay in Hartland, she offered her services as a mid-wife as seen in this 1886 advertisement in the Pittsfield Advertiser.
Pittsfield Advertiser – November 4, 1886 (Courtesy of Maggie Smith)
Other stores also operating on Commercial Street in 1883 included George Lancey Jr’s brother, William Lancey who operated a clothing store and John Butterfield, Jr who operated a confectioneries store.
Origins of the 2 buildings to the left of the former Peleg C. Haskell residence (noted as Mrs. Bowman’s residence) are currently unknown but neither appear on the Map of 1860. The first building was possibly where Augustus T. Bowman had operated his dry goods store but is unconfirmed. Charles York operated his Tailor Shop there by 1883. The second building next to York’s is unmarked in 1883 and its origins and purpose at the time is unknown.
Commercial Street from Warren Square – c1886
In the mid-1880s, Walter Ernest Mebroy Seekins (1860-1910) came to Hartland from St. Albans and built a dry goods & grocery store on Commercial Street between the former Skinner Store Block and William Lancey Store Block. The unique windows and molding on the 2nd floor corners of the building made the Seekins Block distinctly recognizable for decades.
Elberton P. Dyer (left) & Walter E. M. Seekins in front of Seekins Store
Following Alden Sampson’s departure to South Dakota in 1885, Albert W. Miller purchased the Drug Store Block moving his business from Main Street which he had opened in the mid-1870s across the street. The Post Office was also relocated to Miller’s front section of the building. Miller remained at this location for another decade or so before eventually moving back to his original Main Street location.
New Location of A. W. Miller Drug Store – c1886
In 1888, just a year before his death, Archibald Linn built the building seen below between the Linn Woolen Mill Office Building and the Drug Store Block. It featured 2 units downstairs and 2 offices upstairs. The Post Office was moved here from A. W. Miller’s Drug Store Block soon after it was built where it remained until 1922 when it moved to Main Street. Early tenants included Dr. Lynn H. Blanchard and Attorney William B. Brown. It’s unclear exactly what Linn’s original intention was for the building but it would be used for various businesses over the decades.
New Linn Block on Commercial Street – 1888
Commercial Street from Warren Square with new Linn Block – c1897
Mary (Anderson) Butterfield (right) and a friend in the Post Office at the Linn Block – c1905
Unknown Group in front of the Linn Block
Following Greenville J. Shaw’s departure to his newly acquired Sunny Brook Farm in Stetson, his Commercial Street residence known as the “Century House” was purchased by Robert Wilson Linn, Sr (1844-1927), son of Archibald & Grace Linn and one of the three heirs to Linn’s Estate. Robert and his wife, Eva May (Weymouth), and their family would live there until his death.
Century House on Commercial Street
In 1889 following his father’s death, George M. Lancey took over the dry goods & groceries business near the corner of Commercial & Academy Street operating as “G. M. Lancey Dry Goods & Groceries” and became a very successful local merchant. His store was also the original location of the Hartland Public Library following their official establishment in 1903. Lancey would often make boat trips to Castle Harmony and The Commodore Club on Great Moose Lake to bring members and guests needed supplies.
G. M. Lancey’s Dry Goods & Groceries Store – c1900
George Merrill Lancey (1861-1942) is the son of George Lancey, Jr & Frances (Blake) Lancey. In 1885, he married Annie Clapperton Linn (1861-1948), the daughter of William Linn, Sr & Elizabeth (Patterson). William is a brother of Archibald Linn. Following the death of George’s Uncle Calvin Blake, Jr in 1905, “G. M.” and his family moved into the house his maternal grandfather, Dr. Calvin Blake, built on Academy Street where he would later sell insurance until his retirement. G. M. was also very active in town affairs serving on numerous committees including a group trying to sell the former Linn Woolen Mill eventually purchased by the American Woolen Mill. G. M. and Thomas Archibald Linn built a dual family camp on Great Moose Lake in the 1890s naming it “Camp DeLancey” where G. M. passed away in 1942.
George Merrill Lancey & Annie Clapperton Linn (Photos courtesy of Joan Joy Tibbetts)
Merchants like G. M. Lancey would often pack a customer’s purchased goods into a box and wrap the box with twine then attach a handle to the twine for easier carrying of their items as well as providing some good advertising like this one seen below.
G. M. Lancey Store Box Handle (Photos courtesy of Mike Massey)
On November 18, 1889, Archibald Linn died at 71 years old and was interred with his wife, Grace and 2 of their young deceased children at Ireland Cemetery . In his Will, Linn appointed his trusted business colleague and long time friend, Greenville J. Shaw, as the Executor of his estate and overseer of his business interests of the Linn Woolen Mill. Soon after, Shaw and Linn’s 3 surviving heirs incorporated as the Linn Manufacturing Company and continued with the woolen mill operations and future expansions.
Linn Woolen Mill seen from Commercial Street
The former Gorham Prescott residence, now owned by Archibald Linn’s Estate, was leased by Ira W. Page following Linn’s death in 1889. Page was operating the Hartland House at the time and his wife, Ann Maria (Folsom), opened a millinery shop here operating it until her death in 1906. Their daughter, Florence Belle Page, married Walter H. Moore in 1890.
Mrs. Maria Page’s Millinery Sign on Commercial Street
In 1892, Hartland’s town affairs were centralized in the Village when the new Opera House-Town Hall opened on Academy Street. In 1897, the original building burnt but was replaced within a year with an almost identical structure.
Rebuilt Hartland Opera House-Town Hall on Academy Street
In 1892, the newly formed Linn Manufacturing Company expanded operations with a new building on Main Street which had been previously proposed by Archibald Linn. The new building provided additional woolen manufacturing jobs and part of it would become home to a new business venture established by Henry Fuller and his son-in-law George T. Osborne in 1901 called Fuller-Osborne Company with numerous business interests including real estate, printing and clothing production.
New Linn Woolen Mill Addition on Main Street – c1892
Still known as North Street in 1896, the future Commercial Street was fully lined with merchants offering medicine, dry goods, groceries, meats, confectioneries, men’s & women’s clothing, barber shop and various other goods and services including the Methodist Church. Several more residences had also been built on both sides the street all the way to the St. Albans Town Line.
Commercial Street – 1896
By 1896, Allen R. Burton’s older brother Willard Burton (1863-1951) opened a Barber Shop at the former Charles York Tailor Shop. Willard married Allen’s wife’s younger sister Nellie Woodbury (1867-1927). Following Nellie’s death, Willard later lived with his nephew Elmer M. Burton.
In 1897, Commercial Street was officially given its new name by a vote of Hartland citizens at a Special Town Meeting as noted; “From said (Warren) Square to St Albans town line going north; ‘Commercial Street’. Its former North Street name would replace the Billings Street name.
For several years leading up to the turn of the century, Albert W. Miller maintained a Circulating Library at his store where he rented out roughly 200 books until he moved his business again. Soon after his relocation, the Hartland Public Library incorporated on December 30, 1903 with its first location at G. M. Lancey’s Dry Goods & Groceries Store on Commercial Street for a couple of years before moving to the Opera House.
In 1902, Albert W. Miller left the Commercial Street Drug Store Block location and moved his business back to his original building on Main Street. Miller had recently hired a young new pharmacist who had just moved to Hartland named Ralph C. Hamilton.
A. W. Miller’s Full Page Ad from the Hartland Town Report – February 28, 1903
A. W. Miller Drug Store on Main Street
Dr. Lynne H. Blanchard opened his business following Albert Miller’s return to Main Street operating as the Hartland Drug Store. Dr. Blanchard had arrived from Springfield, Maine in the mid-1880s when he began his medical practice in Hartland.
Commercial Street from Warren Square
In 1901, Dr. Lynne Harry Blanchard (1872-1935) married Carrie May Linn (1879-1964). Carrie is the only child of Thomas Archibald Linn & Clarabelle Osborne and a granddaughter of Archibald & Grace Linn. The newlyweds resided at their Blake Street home which had been purchased from Dr. Charles A. Moulton as a wedding gift from Carrie’s parents. They later moved to Pittsfield where he pursued his medical practice full time but still served as a physician for many Hartland residents. Dr. Blanchard moved to California in the late 1920s where he remained until his death.
Dr. Lynne H. Blanchard
Blanchard was a licensed Medical Doctor and delivered many local children as well as witnessing and signing death certificates.
Medicine Bottle “Hartland Drug Store – L. H. Blanchard M.D. – Proprietor”
Medicine Bottles from the Hartland Drug Store (Photo courtesy of Sam Fuller)
By the turn of the century, electricity arrived in Hartland with many of the first power lines located on Commercial Street & Main Street before eventually spreading throughout the Village. The new power source would forever change how businesses and households functioned.
Commercial Street from Warren Square with New Power Poles, Electrical Lines & Hanging Street Light
In 1901, Waterville Trust Company opened a branch location within G. M. Lancey’s Dry Goods Store as one of Hartland’s first banks. One popular advertising campaign used by banks at the time were Pocket Coin Banks given to customers to encourage savings and eventual deposits.
Waterville Trust Company Coin Banks (Photo courtesy of Sam Fuller)
Waterville Trust Company Branch at G. M. Lancey’s Store – Commercial Street
Soon after 1900, Allen Richard Burton (1865-1932) purchased the former C. H. Skinner Store built by George Lancey, Jr from Lancey’s son, G. M. Lancey. Burton had been in the undertaking profession when he began his new business first named “A. R. Burton Furniture & Undertaking”. Allen married Adeline M. Woodbury (1864-1929), a daughter of Isaiah Woodbury III & Mary Jane Nevens.
In the early 1900s, Varney & Buker Sporting Goods was operating in the former John Butterfield, Jr Store Block. It is unknown who was operating at the time in the former William Lancey Store Block next to it.
Varney & Buker Sporting Goods Store
In 1901, Walter E. M. Seekins purchased land from Calvin Blake, Jr and extended a throughway from the Methodist Church on Commercial Street to Blake Street. Many of Walter’s family built their homes along the future Seekins Street as well as a new hall in 1910 for Hartland Grange #452.
Mary Anderson & Friends on Commercial Street with the new Grange Hall on Seekins Street in the background – c1915
In 1903, Dr. Charles Moulton incorporated the Hartland & St. Albans Telephone Company expanding his original St. Albans Telephone Company with new telephone lines throughout the Village and adding full-time Telephone Operators who worked from his Elm Street location.
Hartland & St. Albans Telephone Company Directory – 1908
Around 1903, Elberton P. Dyer (1869-1947) opened “E. P. Dyer Clothing” at the newly constructed building next to Walter E. M. Seekins’ store. Elberton had moved to St Albans from Brighton in the late 1880s and in 1891 married Hartland native Georgia Ellen Annis (1870-1963). Dyer was a teacher and became Principal of Hartland Academy and later served as Superintendent of Hartland Schools in 1897. They moved to Newport for a couple of years living there in 1900 where he was a Teacher before returning to Hartland. Georgia is a sister of Wendell D. Annis who married Walter’s daughter, Edna Alice Seekins. She is also a sister of Maude Annis who married Carl Randlett and Mary Annis who married John F. Connelly.
Elberton P. Dyer at his E. P. Dyer Clothing Store
E. P. Dyer Clothing Store Advertisement 1908
Following the death of his Uncle Calvin Blake, Jr in 1905, G. M. Lancey eventually moved into the house his grandfather Dr. Calvin Blake had built on Academy Street with his wife Annie Linn and daughters Frances Linn Lancey & Ardis Elizabeth Lancey.
Former Dr. Calvin Blake Residence on Academy Street
Several of the businesses on Commercial Street operating in 1905 are seen on the advertisement below including those operated by Elberton P. Dyer, George M. Lancey, Andrew H. Buck, Dr. Lynne H. Blanchard and Allen R. Burton.
Ralph C. Hamilton, who had recently been hired from A. W. Miller’s Drug Store to work as a Pharmacist for Dr. Lynne H. Blanchard purchased Blanchard’s drug store business around 1906 continuing his operations as the Hartland Drug Store. Hamilton remained in business for the next 45+ years until his death in 1955.
Hartland Drug Store operated by Ralph C. Hamilton – c1908
Ralph Carlton Hamilton (1882-1955) was born in Springvale, Maine and moved to Hartland shortly after 1900 when he took his first job as a druggist at A.W. Miller’s Drug Store while staying at the Park House Hotel. In 1910, he married Gertrude Mae Patterson (1877-1940), the daughter of Alexander S. Patterson & Evelyn Sanford. Following their marriage, Ralph & Gertrude lived with her parents at their home on the corner of Main Street & Mill Street where they remained following her parent’s deaths. In 1914, Ralph built the Hamilton & Young Shirt Factory on Mill Street which he operated for several years into the early 1920s. He was very active in town, county & state politics and civic affairs throughout his life including serving as President of Hartland Academy Board of Trustees, Maine House of Representatives and Hartland Town Treasurer.
Ralph Carlton Hamilton
Following Mrs. Maria Page’s death in 1906, the Lagorio Brothers of Pittsfield opened a store in Hartland on Commercial Street at the former Gorham Prescott Block operating as Lagorio Brothers Fruit Store.
Lagorio Brothers Fruit Store – Commercial Street
Mrs. Margaret (Brown) Smith operated her millinery business from G. M. Lancey’s Dry Goods Store for several years up until her death in 1909, according to her grandson. She married Harry L. Smith and their daughter Jean Brown Smith married Birney J. Moore in 1918.
Independence Day Celebration – July 4, 1908
In 1909, Elizabeth A. Linn (1879-1973) opened her store in the rear section of the Hartland Drug Store Block operating as “The Specialty Store”. The store featured fountain soda, ice cream, stationary supplies, various confectioneries and post cards as well as many other items. Elizabeth is the oldest child of William Linn, Jr & Luella Greene and a Great Niece of Archibald Linn.
Window Display at The Specialty Shop (Photo courtesy of Joan Joy Tibbetts)
Store Front of The Specialty Shop (Photo courtesy of Joan Joy Tibbetts)
Elizabeth A. Linn & 1909 Invitation to The Specialty Store Grand Opening
Commercial Street from Academy Street – c1910
Soon after 1910, Perley Moses Hanson and his wife Alberta Wilkins moved from Palmyra to Hartland with their 2 young children Maurice & Gwendolyn Hanson. “Bertie” began working at G. M. Lancey’s Store selling millinery goods while the family lived on the 2nd floor of the building.
Interior of G. M. Lancey’s Dry Goods & Groceries Store – c1915 (Photo courtesy of Joan Joy Tibbetts)
Advertisement – 1912
On February 27, 1911, Lagorio Brothers Fruit Store was heavily damaged by fire. Numerous photos of the aftermath of the huge fire were taken by several people as seen below. The building was eventually remodeled although its function for the next several years is unclear.
Lagorio Brothers Fruit Store Fire – 1911
Traveling the dirt roads of Commercial Street wasn’t always a pleasant experience.
Commercial Street with Grange Hall in the background
Commercial Street with Century House to the right
By 1911, Elmer Merle Burton (1889-1947) had joined in business with his father and the new “A. R. Burton & Son Hardware & Undertaking” business name was established. Elmer had been working at the store since he was a young man and noted himself as an Embalmer on his 1912 marriage certificate to Marguerite Hatch (1893-1977).
A. R. Burton & Son Hardware and Undertaking
Commercial Street Stores (L-R); Varney & Buker, (Unknown), E. P. Dyer, Halver Whitney, A. R. Burton & G. M. Lancey – c1912
Commercial Street (L-R); Hartland Drug Store with The Specialty Store, Linn Block, Linn Woolen Mill Office, former Linn Residence – c1912
The Specialty Store Advertisement – 1913
By 1915, the Linn Manufacturing Company had run into substantial financial hardship and filed for bankruptcy. A short term lease was made with the American Woolen Company who continued operations while Linn Trustees sought a viable long term tenant. Although plans for an auction to sell the mill were announced, a purchase agreement with the American Woolen Company was made before the auction took place and they began full-time operations in Hartland in 1916.
American Woolen Company
Under the terms of the sale, all former Linn Manufacturing Company holdings in Hartland, including the woolen mill buildings, became the property of the American Woolen Company. This also included most of the Linn Family Real Estate holding including some two dozen additional residential houses and lots throughout Hartland. Several of these houses and lots were on Commercial Street including the former Archibald & Grace Linn residence, Linn Woolen Mill Main Office, Linn Block, former Gorham Prescott Block and the Century House.
Century House occupied by Robert W. Linn, Sr – c1915
Commercial Street with Century House to the left
Noted only as “Hartland”, this photo of an unknown store reveals a typical store interior of the era.
Unknown Hartland Store Interior – c1916
Grace Linn Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church
Following the death of Walter E. M. Seekins in 1910, Halver Whitney operated a store at the location until about 1917 when Harry L. Sterns purchased the former Seekins Block and opened a Sterns Department Store while living upstairs with his family until the late 1920s.
Sterns Department Store and A. R. Burton & Son Hardware & Undertaking – 1924
Harry L. Sterns (1884-1935) had immigrated from his homeland in Russia to Bangor about 1900 where he married Russian born Bessie Shiro (1883-1961) in 1905. They lived in Bangor in 1910 with their 2 sons, George Harold Sterns (1905-1969) and Frederick James Sterns (1908-2002). Their 3rd son, Herbert Daniel Sterns, was born in Hartland on March 11, 1918 and was delivered by Dr. Charles Moulton. Sterns also had other store locations including one in Newport. They remained in Hartland until the late 1920s when they moved to Waterville.
As noted in a 2011 interview with Harry’s grandson Harvey Sterns, “My father (Fred) graduated from (Colby) college in 1929. My grandfather (Harry) had some illness that also affected my father’s ability to go to graduate school. He had been accepted at Harvard Business, but because of my grandfather’s illness he could not go. So what he was doing was running sales (from the principle store in Waterville) for my grandfather in vacant stores and one of the sales that he ran was a vacant store in Skowhegan. He decided that he liked it there. This would have been either ’29 or ’30, and he decided then to establish a branch of Sterns’ store in Skowhegan.”
Sterns Department Store Engraved Pencil Box
In September of 1918, most men who resided in Hartland enlisted for the World War I Selective Service Draft at the Hartland Drug Store with their applications signed by Ralph C. Hamilton. Hamilton later registered Hartland men and women for the World War II Draft.
World War I Draft Notice – 1918
In 1919, Hartland held its first post-war Memorial Day Observance following Allied Victory in “The Great War”.
Memorial Day – Warren Square – 1919
Memorial Day – Commercial Street – 1919
1924 Town Report – Article 28: “To see if the town will vote to allow A. R. Burton & Son to build a cement sidewalk from their line at the Hanson block to their line at the Sterns block, same to be built of cement blocks laid off in two-foot squares, the entire length being about seventy-five feet; also, to allow them to put in a cement slab in front of the gasoline tanks, about forty feet long and thirteen feet wide, no more and probably less in width. The said A. R. Burton & Son agree to keep this cement slab on a level with the street at all times; and it is agreed they shall be allowed to put in one-half of the sidewalk in 1924 and one-half in 1925, provided they cannot see their way clear to put it all in in 1924.”
A new concrete sidewalk and a fresh paint job in the process at A. R. Burton & Son Hardware & Undertaking – 1924
George Samuel Woodman (1860-1945) and his wife Mary Tarr moved from St Albans to Hartland with their 5 surviving children, Forest, Etta, Florence, Fred & Edgar about 1920. They settled at the former Matthew B. Stevens Homestead on Outer Commercial Street near the St. Albans Town Line where George soon began dairy farming. Forest, known as Clair, took over the family homestead following his father’s death and continued operating the dairy farm where he bottled and delivered fresh milk for many years in Hartland. Clair eventually sold the house in the 1960s to Walter Butler who operated the Hartland Western Auto Store at the location.
Woodman Homestead – Outer Commercial Street
By 1920, G. M. Lancey retired from the grocery business but continued selling insurance from his Academy Street home. He sold his Commercial Street building and business to Perley & Bertie Hanson where she continued operating as a dry goods store adding clothing to her offerings.
Sterns Department Store, A. R. Burton & Son Hardware & Undertaking and Hanson’s Dry Goods & Clothing Store – c1924
Clair Isaac Currie (1888-1962) and his family moved from Drew, Maine to Hartland soon after 1920 where he purchased the former A. H. Buck Stove Shop on Commercial Street and opened a grocery store. Their daughter Eleanor (Currie) Parsons became a school teacher and would go on to write numerous books including “A Town called Drew & Beyond” with several references to her life growing up in Hartland.
C. I. Currie Groceries & Greene’s Cobbler Shop
Eddie Greene operated a Cobbler Shop in the small building next door to Currie’s Grocery Store for several years.
Interior of Greene’s Cobbler Shop with Clair Currie seated on the left and Eddie Greene standing to the right
Soon after they married in 1920, St Albans native Ervin Wilbur Martin (1900-1977) and his wife Vivian Cookson moved to North Hartland where their 3 sons, Selden, Gerald & Raymond were born. Ervin worked as a Supervisor for the State Highway Commission until 1924 when he began his logging business. By 1934, they moved their family into the former Peleg Haskell house on Commercial Street where he located his business office two buildings down toward town. The house remained in the Martin Family until 2019.
Ervin & Vivian Martin Commercial Street Residence – 1935
Willard Burton’s Barber Shop building was later purchased by John F. Seekins, son of Walter E. M. Seekins, who operated a store there for several years. In September of 1925, Perley A. Gowen purchased the building where he and his wife Fidella operated a grocery store until the early 1940s.
Perley A. Gowen Store Advertisement (with typo)
Commercial Street from Warren Square
Following Harry Sterns move to Waterville, Lewis Henry Barden (1876-1960) leased the former Seekins Block in 1930 and moved his store from Main Street to Commercial Street and in 1932 purchased the building. One of the many young men Lewis Barden employed at his store was Lloyd Vernon Cookson, Sr while he was attending Hartland Academy.
L. H. Barden’s Economy Store
Lewis H. Barden at his Commercial Street Store
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.
American Woolen Mill
After the Post Office was moved to Robert E. Latty’s building on Main Street in 1922, Walter Earl Seekins (1891-1962), son of Walter E. M. Seekins, opened his restaurant on the first floor of the Linn Block next to the Hartland Drug Store. The office of Dr. Charles E. Norcross, D.D.S. and the law office of J. H. Haley had been located upstairs for several years prior.
Former Linn Block with Seekins’ Restaurant, Dr. Norcross Office & J. H. Haley Office – 1932
By 1930, Bertie Hanson had been joined by her son Maurice Wilkins Hanson (1902-1973) who had begun as a salesman at the store. Although she still maintained her dry goods inventory for a time, the store’s business focus was shifting to clothing and footwear. Bertie’s daughter, Gwendolyn F. Hanson, had married Rae Fuller Randlett in 1927.
B. W. Hanson Advertisement
Although unconfirmed, it is believed this photo is the interior of B. W. Hanson’s Clothing Store based on the merchandise.
B. W. Hanson’s Clothing Store Interior (Unconfirmed)
Following the death of Allen R. Burton in 1932, Elmer Burton and his wife Marguerite took over the family business retaining the store name, however Elmer soon closed the undertaking services of the business.
A. R. Burton & Son Hardware & Undertaking and B. W. Hanson’s Dry Goods & Clothing Store – 1932
Bert Hubert Lovely (1900-1978) was a familiar face for customers at A. R. Burton’s where he worked for many years after gasoline pumps were installed and it became a full service gas station as well as remaining a hardware store and offering undertaking services.
(L-R) Bert Lovely, Will Deering & Marguerite Burton at A. R. Burton & Son Store
February 8, 1933 “Cash on Account” receipt for Robert Kendall Snow from A. R. Burton & Son. By this time, the undertaking business has been removed after Elmer & Marguerite had taken over the family business.
Robert K. Snow Receipt (Photo courtesy of Dana Perkins; Robert’s grandson)
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)
The auction did not include the 2 main mills or several of the smaller buildings on the mill’s lot which were surrendered to the town along with the former Linn Woolen Mill Main Office but over 2 dozen houses and properties remained. Numerous locations on Commercial Street included the former Archibald & Grace Linn residence, the 1888 Linn Block, the former Gorham Prescott Block and the Century House.
Auction Map 1 – Upper Commercial Street
1. NO. 44 COMMERCIAL STREET: Approximately 79,800 square feet of land with two-story frame cottage. Having seven rooms, bath, toilet, hard pine floors, heater. (Purchased by Mrs. Corliss for $800)
2. NOS. 40-43 COMMERCIAL STREET: Approximately 15,200 square feet of land with two story frame four-family dwelling, having five rooms to each family, toilets, electricity. Old Green Show Place. (They meant old Greenville Shaw place, aka Century House). (Purchased by Mr. Bean from Dover for $300. He sold to Carl Randlett)
3. NOS. 45-46 COMMERCIAL STREET: Approximately 15,400 square feet of land with two story frame two-family dwelling having seven rooms to each family, bath, heater. (Purchased by Elmer Burton for $800. He sold to Lloyd Cookson, Sr)
4. NO. 47 COMMERCIAL STREET: Approximately 14,100 square feet of land with two-story frame cottage, having seven rooms, bath, toilet, heater.
(Purchased by George Merrow for $975)
5. NO. 20 COMMERCIAL STREET: Approximately 19,000 square feet of land with one and one-half story frame cottage having seven rooms, shed and barn. (Purchased by J. Haley for $500)
6. TRACT OF LAND: Approximately 3.7 acres of land. With framed 4 car garage. (Purchased by Frank Withee for $100)
7. NO. 19 COMMERCIAL STREET: Approximately 3,100 square feet of land with two-story frame cottage having five rooms with shed attached.
(Purchased by William Brawn for $200)
Auction Map 2 – Lower Commercial Street
8. NO. 18 COMMERCIAL STREET: Approximately 9,700 square feet of land with two-story frame cottage having six rooms, also barn in rear.
(Purchased by Cora Davis for $750)
9. NO. 33 COMMERCIAL STREET: Approximately 7,290 square feet of land with two-story frame cottage, having nine rooms with electricity, bath, toilet, furnace heat. (Purchased by Elmer Burton for $675)
10. BUILDING LOT: Approx. 2,600 square feet of land. See auction plot.
11. NOS. 5-6-7-8 COMMERCIAL STREET: Approximately 2,060 square feet of land with two-story frame building having two stories and two offices.
(Purchased by Mr. Shandling from out of town for $1450)
12. NOS. 16-17 COMMERCIAL STREET AND REAR NOS. 10-11-12-13: Approximately 2.2 acres of land with one and one-half-story frame two-family dwelling having five rooms each and two-story four-family dwelling having five rooms each, also framed sheds. (Purchased by Clair Currie for $100 & $675)
Following their purchase of the former Archibald & Grace Linn Residence (No. 9) at the Great Auction of 1932, Elmer & Marguerite Burton moved into their new home across the street from their store where they remained until the widowed Marguerite sold the home in the late 1950s.
Former Prescott-Linn Residence purchased by Elmer & Marguerite Burton – 1945
Citizens knew the future of Hartland rested upon finding a suitable and long term replacement at the abandoned American Woolen Company facility. A search began at once by various factions including the newly formed Hartland Chamber of Commerce but came up empty.
In early 1934, a group of citizens banded together in an unprecedented effort to bring a new industry to town. They decided to create and incorporate as a company to take over the former mill’s remaining holdings with $10,000 worth of Capitol Stock offered to interested citizens in 2,000 units of shares valued at $5.00 each. The grassroots movement secured roughly $4,100 worth of initial stock share commitments from 51 citizens by the time it held its first Stock Subscribers Meeting on December 14, 1934 to vote on empowering the committee to officially incorporate as Hartland Mills, Incorporated.
Hartland Mills, Incorporated Advertisement – 1935
Throughout 1935, several offers were made to lease or buy the mills but none were accepted with Hartland Mills, Inc. siting unfavorable lease conditions or various other unacceptable terms. In April of 1935, the Ohio Carpet Company stated it had a firm interest in locating a business at the mills pending the process of a loan. Major work and investments were done in preparation for the new owners however their loan application was rejected in November and the deal fell through.
Following the very disappointing collapse of the Ohio Carpet Company deal, the Directors were informed of a request from Irving Tanning Company of Peabody, Massachusetts to meet with the group on December 16th and tour the mill with an interest in establishing a new subsidiary for their company. In a follow-up meeting with Meyer Kirstein in Peabody on December 19th, members of Hartland Mills, Inc. returned with a note for Two Thousand Dollars in good faith on a contract for the establishment of a new tannery business. The tanning industry in Hartland was about to be reborn and the new Hartland Tanning Company would soon open in 1936.
Hartland Tanning Company
One of several buildings Hartland Mills, Incorporated acquired was the former Linn Woolen Mill Main Office on Commercial Street which had been built in 1862 when the mill opened. Several unsuccessful attempts by Hartland Library Trustees to purchase the building were made until a special Hartland Mills, Inc. Stock Holders Meeting was held on September 25, 1935. Library Trustees Dr. Charles A. Moulton & George M. Lancey again pleaded their case in detail for the building to be sold so it could be used as a permanent home for the library which was operating in the basement of the Town Hall at the time. This time the proposal was accepted by a substantial majority of the stock holder shares and following a special Town Meeting to formally vote on the proposed sale, it became the first dedicated home of the Hartland Public Library in 1935.
New Home of the Hartland Public Library – 1935
Following the 1932 sale of the former Linn Block at the Great Auction, Walter Seekins closed his restaurant. It was later opened by Thor Stromback in the late 1930s into the late 1940s as a Restaurant & Tavern and was a very popular spot for Hartland Tanning Company workers. It was eventually purchased by Lloyd Page who operated a cafe at the location until 1950.
Commercial Street from Warren Square – 1937
Former Cook Residence just past Water Street
Renovations at the former William Anderson residence at the corner of Commercial Street & Water Street.
Former Anderson Residence before renovations
Former Anderson Residence after renovations
Backyard of former Anderson Residence after renovations
Commercial Street was a thriving center of commerce in Hartland by the late 1930s with several stores featuring various types of merchandise, gas stations, a drug store, restaurant, dentist and law offices, the Town Library and numerous houses along its path out of town.
Commercial Street from Warren Square – c1939
By 1940, Maurice Hanson had become a full partner in the family business and the store became known as B. W. Hanson & Son Clothing Store. Maurice had married Lucille Braley in 1932 and the couple were raising their only child, Gary Hanson, while Lucille worked as a Nurse at Scott-Webb Memorial Hospital.
Property Ownership on Commercial Street from the 1943 Hartland Village Map.
Commercial Street – 1943
Following the death of George Merrill Lancey in 1942, Lewis H. Barden and his 2nd wife Eda B. Stafford soon purchased and moved into the former Blake-Lancey home on Academy Street with their 2 children, Lewis Henry Barden, Jr & Laura Saville Barden.
Former Blake-Lancey Home on Academy Street from Commercial Street
Although Ervin Martin’s Logging Company had incorporated many trucks into the fleet, they still used old fashioned horse power when needed.
Raymond Martin leads Maud & Queenie up Commercial Street – 1943 (Photo courtesy of Maynard Ross)
In the early 1940s, Rae Fuller Randlett (1904-1984) purchased the A. R. Burton & Son Store from Elmer & Marguerite Burton where he began operating as “Rae’s General Hardware”. Rae was recently widowed after his wife Gwendolyn Hanson passed away unexpectedly in 1938 at 33 years old leaving their 2 children, Rae Jean Randlett & Rogen Randlett. Rae also serviced the town school buses and provided gasoline for them for many years from his store. He was an active member in numerous town affairs including being on the Board of Hartland Mills, Inc., and serving on the Hartland School Committee & Hartland Volunteer Fire Department.
Rae’s General Hardware Ad – 1945 Ripple
In the fall of 1944, Ervin Martin began construction on his garage behind his Commercial Street home with the help of his sons.
New Ervin Martin Garage foundation with his house to the left and office to the far right
Rear side of the completed Ervin Martin Garage – November 5, 1944 (Photos courtesy of Maynard Ross)
In the early 1940s, illness had forced Elberton P. Dyer out of his clothing business and his wife Georgia converted the building into a bowling alley she operated for a short time. In 1945, she sold the building to the Knowles Sisters, daughters of Guy Bertram Knowles & Relief Giles. Geraldine Euleta Knowles (1921-1977) had married Ken Bishop in 1941 and Meredith Ellen Knowles (1923-2019) had married Frank Hollister, Jr in 1942. They operated “B & H Market” together at the location until Meredith sold her half of the business to Geraldine in 1950 when she remarried to Rae Fuller Randlett.
B & H Market Article
By 1943, Thomas Fuller Randlett had purchased Perley Gowen’s store. Norman Bennett McCormack (1921-1994) then purchased the building in 1946 after serving in World War II and opened “McCormack’s Market” where “Betz” remained in business for the next 25 years.
McCormack’s Advertisement – 1970
By 1943, Rae Fuller Randlett purchased the former Gorham Prescott Block from Clair Currie which Clair had purchased in 1932.
Former Gorham Prescott Block from Ervin Martin’s Residence – 1945 (Photo courtesy of Maynard Ross)
Ervin Martin being pulled out by Lloyd “Red” Hubbard at the former Gorham Prescott Block – 1945 (Photo courtesy of Maynard Ross)
Velma Vanadestine (1928-2009) waiting on customers at Ralph Hamilton’s Hartland Drug Store Counter while attending Hartland Academy.
Hartland Drug Store – 1945
Ervin Martin’s logging company had become a mammoth operation growing from an early annual production of 3,000 cord of wood in the 1920s to over 25,000 cord cut annually by the 1940s with his main office located near his home on Commercial Street.
E. W. Martin Logging Company Trucks in front of his Commercial Street Home – 1945 (Photo courtesy of Maynard Ross)
Following his service in World War II, Lloyd Cookson, Sr opened his first grocery store in the rear section of the Hartland Drug Store where Elizabeth Linn’s former Specialty Shop had been located.
Commercial Street Store Facade in the rear of the Hartland Drug Store next to the Linn Block
In 1949, Lewis H. Barden purchased the former Davis Block at Warren Square and moved his grocery store business there. Barden sold his Commercial Street Store to Fred & Ellen (Worthen) Cooper that same year. They operated as Cooper’s IGA Store until 1961 when they moved to St. Albans and Ellen became a school teacher. (Special thanks to the Cooper Family for providing the photos and information below)
Cooper’s IGA Store with remodeled facade and entryway
Cooper’s IGA Store Article
As noted by Mary (Cooper) Lary, “My parents, Fred & Ellen Cooper, were living in St. Johnsbury, Vermont when my sister Carol was two years old and just before my brother Dana was born in 1949. My father was a manager at the First National Grocery Store there. My mother’s Uncle Harry Hilton and Uncle Harlan Wilkins decided they needed to come home to Maine so they bought the store in Hartland.”
Ellen later wrote about the family’s experiences when they first purchased the store and returned to Hartland.
Ellen Cooper’s “Living in Hartland” Memories
In 1950, Meredith (Knowles) Randlett joined her 2nd husband Rae Fuller Randlett to form Randlett’s General Store. They later purchased the B & H Market in the former E. P. Dyer building in the mid-1950s where Meredith also operated an Ice Cream & Soda Shop until the early 1960s.
Meredith (Knowles) Randlett & Rae Fuller Randlett at Randlett’s General Store
In 1950, the former Linn Block was purchased by the Butera Brothers of Bangor who opened a new restaurant at the location called “Calogeno’s Restaurant”. A 1951 newspaper article notes, “Italian Food on Menu at new Hartland Cafe. The only restaurant in Hartland is that operated by Charlie & Benjamin Butera, who hail from Bangor. The restaurant, formerly Page’s Cafe, was taken over by the Queen City Brothers and features Italian and American foods.”
In 1952, fire ravaged the building and it remained abandoned for several years.
Calogeno’s Restaurant Fire at the former Linn Block on Commercial Street – 1952
Ervin Martin was joined in business by his sons Selden and Gerald and later Raymond Martin, and began operating as E. W. Martin & Sons with the main office still located near his home on Commercial Street. Martin’s successful logging business was noted in a newspaper article in 1951.
E. W. Martin & Sons Article – 1951
Wes Harrington in front of Randlett’s Store with Hartland Drug Store and L. H. Barden’s IGA at Warren Square in the background.
1954 Town Meeting – Article 51: “To see if the town will vote to authorize the selectmen to contract with the Central Maine Power Company for the installation of 2 four-way flashing traffic beacons. One in the center of Warren Square at the intersection of Main Street, Commercial Street, Elm Street and Academy Street and one in the center of the intersection of Main Street, Mill Street, Pleasant Street and Pittsfield Avenue.”
In 1956, construction began on the new Hartland Branch of the First National Bank of Pittsfield located on the corner of Commercial Street & Academy Street becoming the first fully dedicated bank location built in Hartland.
Hartland Branch of the First National Bank of Pittsfield – 1956 (Original photo by Jean Stedman)
While living in Pittsfield, Reginald Knowles had opened a Barber Shop in Hartland at the time the new bank was built. His wife Beatrice wrote an article for the Hartland Historical Society sharing her personal experiences working at the bank and their family’s eventual move to Hartland.
In 1957, Reginald & Beatrice Knowles purchased the former Haskell-Linn residence from the widowed Marguerite Burton where Reggie would set up his new Barber Shop while Beatrice continued working at the First National Bank Branch in Hartland.
Former Haskell-Linn-Burton Commercial Street Residence
Knowles siblings on Commercial Street with Guy Wood’s Barber Shop and Star Jewelry & Home Supply in background – c1958
In 1958, Violet Bickford purchased the Hartland Drug Store building following Ralph Hamilton’s death in 1955 where she operated as Hartland Variety until 1977. Vi’s store was one of the popular gathering spots for locals to mingle over breakfast or lunch.
Hartland Variety Ad – 1970
A February 28, 1958 newspaper article noting various events from 1957 included the passage, “The Butera Building, which was gutted by fire several years ago, was purchased by Norman McCormack with plans to renovate for public hire.” Betz leveled the remains of the former Linn Block but it has remained a vacant lot to this day.
Carl Tash & Neal Stanley on Commercial Street with the vacant lot of the former Linn Block in the background – 1963
Rogen Haven Randlett (1933-1966) operated a garage attached to his father’s store for several years before his tragic death at Unity Raceway.
Rogen Randlett’s Garage at Randlett’s General Store – 1961
Following Bertie Hanson’s death in 1960, her son Maurice continued operations at the store and in 1963 was joined by his niece-in-law, Joan (Levasseur) Randlett, wife of Rogen Randlett. Joan continued operating the store following Maurice’s death in 1973 when his son Gary Hanson took over ownership of the building and the business.
Randlett’s General Store, B. W. Hanson & Son Clothing Store & Maine First National Bank – 1980
In 1961, Lloyd Vernon Cookson, Sr (1908-1983) purchased Cooper’s IGA Store at the former Seekins Block where he moved his Cookson’s Super Market. Cookson had been operating his first store across the street at the rear section of the Hartland Drug Store since he had returned from his service in World War II. Lloyd had worked for L. H. Barden as a store clerk while he was attending Hartland Academy in the Class of 1927 and later served as the Hartland Post Master in 1934 & 1935. Lloyd’s wife Vivian Merrow was a well known hairdresser in Hartland for over 60 years following in the footsteps of her mother who had been a long time beautician in Cambridge.
Randlett’s Ice Cream & Soda Shop and Cookson’s Super Market – 1961
In 1968, Maine’s U. S. Senator Edmund Muskie took to the campaign trail in Hartland as a candidate in the Democratic Presidential Primary.
U. S. Senator Ed Muskie on Commercial Street – 1968
In August of 1970, the First National Bank of Pittsfield merged with Maine National Bank of Portland. Maine National Bank continued their operations at the Hartland Branch however just a month later, the bank was robbed in a daylight heist on Thursday, September 10th.
Morning Sentinel Bank Robbery Article – September 11, 1970
Beatrice Knowles’ article continues below sharing her personal experiences of the merger and subsequent bank robbery.
Commercial Street – 1970
Maine National Bank eventually closed its Hartland Branch and the building was abandoned for several years and later privately purchased.
Maine National Bank – Hartland Branch – 1986
This farmhouse on Outer Commercial Street was owned by James Leadbetter in 1860 before being purchased by Archibald Linn by 1883 as one of his many properties. It was sold during the Great Auction of 1932 to J. Haley and later owned by “Pinky” & Faye Snowman, among others.
Former Leadbetter Homestead – Linn Property – 1988
This duplex was part of the Linn Estate and was purchased by Elmer Burton at the Great Auction of 1932 who soon sold it to Lloyd Cookson, Sr.
Linn Estate Duplex – 1988
The Century House was purchased by Carl Randlett immediately following the Great Auction of 1932.
Several upgrades were made to the Methodist Church over the years but its basic structure remained unchanged.
Grace Linn Memorial Methodist Church – 1988
The former Gorham Prescott Block was purchased by Clair Currie at the Great Auction of 1932 who later sold the building to Rae Fuller Randlett.
Former Gorham Precott Block – 1988
The former E. W. Martin & Sons Logging Company Main Office on the left remained in the Martin Family for years. It was rented out as an apartment and was the residence of Ervin’s son, Gerald Martin for a time.
Norman “Betz” McCormack sold his store on the right in 1971 to Linwood & Carolyn Wheeler who also operated a store there for a year before selling to Charlie Pelkie in 1972 who operated his business as “Pelkie’s Market”. Rocky Rice & Vicki Getchell purchased the building in 1977 and opened as “V&R Market” before moving to the Hartland Drug Store location in 1981. Numerous families lived upstairs over the years.
Former Martin Logging Company Office and former York Taylor Shop – 1988
The Hartland Public Library remained at the former Linn Woolen Mill Office from 1935 until 1991 when it moved to its new home on Mill Street. The building would later become a leather outlet store for the tannery before being closed and abandoned.
Former Linn Woolen Mill Office – 1988
In 1977, Florence “Flossie” Southard & Charles DeGuisto briefly operated a store business at the former Hartland Drug Store Block. When it closed in 1978, the building was purchased by Bowman & Littlefield Construction of Hartland who used the rear part for storage and leased the store out for a time to Harry Graff. In 1981, Rocky & Vicki Rice moved their “V&R Variety” store here from their previous location on Commercial Street. In 1984, they moved to the former Davis-Barden Block in Warren Square taking over the former Wright’s Shurway Store location.
Former Hartland Drug Store Block – 1984
Following Clair Currie’s retirement in the 1950s, Claude Fisher and his wife, Elizabeth Hart, purchased the former A. H. Buck Store Block and opened “Star Jewelry & Home Supply” which they operated for many years at the location. Next door to the right at the former Greene Cobbler Shop, Guy Lloyd Wood opened “Guy’s Barber Shop”.
Former Buck – Currie Block and Former Greene Block – 1986
The former Butterfield Block was owned Lewis H. Barden in the 1940s and eventually became an apartment building in the 1960s. A tragic fire on September 20, 1984 destroyed the apartment building and claimed 5 lives; 3 of them young children.
Former Butterfield – Varney & Buker Block – 1970s
A smaller building was eventually built on the lot of the former Butterfield Block by 1986.
Former Lot of Butterfield Block – 1986
The former William Lancey Block was owned by Lewis H. Barden in the 1940s and served numerous businesses over the decades including a Bowling Alley for a time.
Former William Lancey Block – 1986
In 1966, Mike and Martha Greene opened the “Hartland Pizzarina” at the former E. P. Dyer Block. A couple of years later, Joe Bizeau & “Gertie” Grignon moved their restaurant from Warren Square into the building until Towne Reynolds purchased it in 1972 operating a pool hall & pizza shop known as “TJ’s Pizza” until 1987. Roger Carr purchased the building and opened the “Hartland Diner” operating it until 1994 when Elaine (Bowdoin) Delescluse purchased the building where she continued operating as the Hartland Diner until 2000.
Former E. P. Dyer Block as Hartland Diner – 1988
In 1972, Lloyd Cookson sold the former Seekins Block to Towne Reynolds who operated it as Reynold’s Market until 1974. Bill Doyle then bought the store operating it as Bill’s Market until around 1978.
Former Seekins Block as Bill Doyle’s Market – 1978
Former Seekins Block – 1986
Following Rae Fuller Randlett’s death in 1984, Meredith continued operations for several more years with assistance from their children, Daphne & Rae Fuller Randlett II. In the late 1990s, the store was sold to David Wright, son of Fod Wright, who still operates “Wrights’ General Store” at the location today. Rae & Meredith’s daughter, Daphne Randlett married David’s older brother, Thomas Wright.
Former Skinner – Burton Block – 1988
In the 1990s, an entire section of the western side of Commercial Street was razed and a parking lot was built. The lot was the former location of the Knowles’ Residence, Martin Logging Office and former V&R Store where a laundry mat was built in its place in front of Martin’s Garage.
Left & Right side of the Commercial Street Parking Lot (Google Maps)
Lower Commercial Street – 2010 (Google Maps)
100 year comparison of Store Blocks which lined the eastern side of Lower Commercial Street in 1912.
Lower Commercial Street Store Blocks – 1912
1. Former Buck – Currie – Fisher Block (unseen in 1912 Photo) & 2. Former Greene – Wood Block – 2012
3. Lot location of former Butterfield – Varney & Buker Block – 2012
4. Former William Lancey & Bowling Alley Block – 2012
5. Former Dyer Clothing – B&H Market – Bizeau Restaurant – Hartland Pizzarina – TJs Pool Hall – Hartland Diner Block- 2012
6. Former Seekins – Whitney – Sterns – Barden – Cooper – Cookson – Reynolds – Doyle Block – 2012
7. Former George Lancey – Skinner – Burton – Randlett Block – 2012
8. Former George Lancey – G. M. Lancey – Hanson Block – 2012
(2012 photos courtesy of Laurel Knowles White)
Commercial Street – 2018 (Photo courtesy of Dana Morgan)
Commercial Street – 2019 (Photo courtesy of Will Bunker Photography)