Moore Street was originally only an entry from Mill Street into the Moor Family’s various lumber mills operations at the Upper Dam

Mill Street & Moore Street from North Street – 1920s

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.    

In 1802, James Moor arrived with his parents William & Sally Moor who settled on what became Commercial Street in Hartland. Following his parents departure to Corinna around 1816, James remained in Hartland and began an important role in the early years of development of Hartland’s town affairs and its industry.

James Moor (1800-1873) married Dorcas Wiggins in 1821 and they built a modest home atop the highest hill on Main Street where they began raising their family of 9 eventual children. In 1847, James & Dorcas built a new, larger house on the same location which would eventually become the Scott-Webb Memorial Hospital in 1932.

Former James Moor Residence – Main Street – c1910

By 1825, James had built the Upper Dam on the Sebasticook River just off Mill Street and opened a sawmill on the site. Given its name, it could be likely Mill Street was originally cleared by Moor to get to his sawmill operations from his Main Street home.

Moor Furniture Mill & Moor Sawmill – c1870

The original Mill Street Bridge connecting Mill Street to North Street (then Billings Street) was built in October of 1850 following the opening of North Street as a throughway earlier in 1850 according to early town records. For many years, the connecting road between the bridge and North Street was known locally as Bridge Street. 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 town lines were re-established in 1846 and it officially became part of Hartland. The bridge would eventually be replaced with an iron structure.

Mill Street Bridge – 1942

Both of James’ surviving sons became involved in the family wood business. Amasa James Moor (1827-1899) was the business by the 1850s and eventually took over operations at his father’s sawmill where he produced ‘long & short lumber’ along with the furniture building business. A. J. Moor built his house on North Street with his wife, Florence Belle Page, daughter of Ira W. Page & Ann Marie Folsom.

Original Amasa J. Moor Homestead on North Street – 1923

James’ other son, James William Moor (1830-1902) operated a casket & coffin manufacturing business in one building and a chair & settee furniture business in another separate building. James W. Moor and his wife Martha Folsom built the first house on the future Moore Street on the hill at the corner of Mill Street.

James W. Moor Residence at Mill Street & Moore Street

In 1856, Josiah Billings, Jr built a tannery at the Upper Dam on the north side of the Mill Street Bridge which eventually became North Street and part of Mill Street. Billings also built a hide drying house and a boarding house for some of his dozen or so tannery employees.

Billings-Shaw Tannery at the Upper Dam – c1877

The Moor Wood Mills and their respective homes along with the Billings Tannery and a Blacksmith Shop were the only known buildings to exist on Mill Street by 1860.

Hartland Village – 1860

Following their father’s death in 1873, the Moor Brothers continued making everything from sawed lumber to furniture, shingles, doors, sashes, blinds, chairs, settees, coffins & caskets. In 1867, Josiah Billings sold out his tannery to Greenville Jefferson Shaw and left town for Iowa. Only a few additional houses had been built on Mill Street by 1883.

Hartland Village – 1883

Amasa and Jame Moor had 3 male heirs born between them but James W. Moor’s only child, Herbert Moor, died at 16 yrs old in 1875. Amasa had 2 sons but the youngest, Charles L. Moor (1861-1919 by suicidal drowning) didn’t appear to have an interest and is not shown working at any of the mills in any Census during his life leaving A. J.’s youngest son, Walter H. Moor, as the heir apparent to the family business.

By the early 1880s, Walter H. Moor (1856-1931) became a partner in his father’s business after working in the various Moor Family mills throughout his youth. In 1885, they built a new mill operating as “A. J. Moor & Son Woodworkings”. James W. Moor continued his casket & furniture operations after moving one of the original buildings behind his home to make way for his brother’s new mill. The new mill had a very creative system of shafts, pulleys & belts tied directly into the dam to supply its power.

A. J. Moor & Son Woodworking Mill

At the 1897 Town Meeting, the people of Hartland voted to accept an updated list of names for streets in their village and the connecting street between Mill Street and North Street officially became part of Mill Street as noted, “From A. J. Moor’s to said Main Street going south; Mill Street”

At the time of Amasa Moor’s death in 1899, Walter was living at his father’s North Street house. James W. Moor’s wife, Martha, also died the same day as Amasa. Walter continued production at the new Moore Street (known then as Webb Street) mill as the “Walter H. Moore Woodworking Company” making wheelbarrows, tables, etc., until a few years after the death of his Uncle James W. Moor in 1903.

Walter then appeared to be out of the family wood business for a time, at least as an owner, and in 1909 he sold the entire Moor Mills Lot including the remaining buildings to the Linn Manufacturing Company. Future deeds indicate Walter retained the rights to the Upper Dam which eventually were purchased by the Town of Hartland. The Linn Manufacturing Company seemed to have a great interest in the Upper Dam and were in part responsible for its reconstruction soon after they purchased the Moor Lot although they would eventually lease the buildings.

The Great Flood of 1887 caused major damage to numerous Hartland industries along the Sebasticook River including extensive damage to the Upper Dam and Greenville Shaw’s Tannery as noted by the Pittsfield Advertiser, “The Boat House at the Upper Dam and a wing dam connecting to the end of Shaw’s Tannery were carried away. Mr. Moor’s Sawmill is all right but on Sunday, some 10,000 logs belonging to him went down river.”  The flood was likely at least part of the cause of the tannery’s eventual demise as Shaw ceased operations soon after this and moved to his newly purchased ‘Cream Brook Farm’ in Stetson.

There appears to be two separate reconstructions of the Upper Dam following the Great Flood of 1887 but before the Great Flood of 1923. There are several undated photos below taken during an unknown flood event and various stages of different reconstructions; some of which we think may coincide with dated photos from 1911 of the Lower Dam on Main Street while the Sebasticook River had been blocked off for construction. Details in changes to the dam’s structural components as well as two distinct light or dark colors of A. J. Moor’s Sawmill in various photos seem to support this theory however we continue research into the exact timeline of these photos and events. It is to be noted the Shaw Tannery appears on the Hartland Village Map of 1896 but was razed soon after and is absent from any of these photos.

Upper Dam Rebuild – Light Colored A. J. Moor Sawmill

Upper Dam – Light Colored Moor Sawmill – Wooden Gate

Flood Waters at Upper Dam – Light Colored Moor Sawmill – Wooden Gate Structure – Steel Beam across the Dam

Open Flow at Upper Dam – Steel Beam across Dam

Upper Dam from Mill Street Bridge – Light Colored Moor Sawmill

Flood Waters at Upper Dam – Dark Colored Moor Sawmill – Wooden Gate Structure

Flood Waters at Upper Dam – Dark Colored Moor Sawmill

Rebuild of the Upper Dam – Dark Colored Moor Sawmill – 5 Concrete Gate Buttress

Dated Photo of Great Flood of 1923 – 5 Concrete Gate Buttress

Following the Linn Manufacturing Company Bankruptcy in 1915, the American Woolen Company took over the Moor Lot as part of their buyout but it appears they had little interest using it for themselves as they continued leasing the lot and the former A. J. Moor & Son Woodworkings building to Fred S. Burrill who was operating his business there in 1917. The Burrill Family had operated a large sawmill business in North Hartland for many years.

F. S Burrill & Company Woodworking Mill – 1917

Walter Moore eventually built another woodworking mill on North Street in 1923 with his son, Merrill Amasa Moore (1897-1976), and began operating as “W. H. Moore & Son Woodworking”.

W. H. Moore & Son Woodworking Sign

Our thanks to the many folks including Ted Griffith’s children, John, Joan & Susan, his nephews Jack & Jim Dyer and Ken & Geraldine Bishop’s children for providing numerous details to assist us in accurately portraying the Griffith Mill timeline below.

Frank Lee Griffith (1877-1937) was born in Hartland, the son of Lamont Griffith & Frances “Fannie” Olive Wright. Lamont had been a carriage maker on Main Street in Hartland in the 1880s. Frank married Annie Mabel Pickard in 1901.

About 1904, Frank purchased the former James W. Moor Casket & Furniture Manufacturing building from Walter H. Moor which had been attached to the rear of James’ homestead on Moore Street. Frank moved the entire building down to the river lot next to the Mill Street Bridge and began his woodworking business in what came to be known as the “Big Shop” aka Finish & Planer Shop.

The former James W. Moor Building as Frank Griffith’s “Big Shop” with his daughter Esther – 1923

The river side lot where Frank located the Big Shop had been the location of a Blacksmith Shop as far back as at least the 1850s. Howard Temple later operated the Blacksmith Shop for Frank for several years. When the Sebasticook River was running high the entire lot would be flooded. During major flood events, water would rise up to and over Mill Street as seen during The Great Flood of 1923 which once again engulfed the Upper Dam & Mill Street area with high waters.

The Blacksmith Shop on Frank Griffith’s lot during the Great Flood of 1923

Mill Street Bridge engulfed by the Great Flood of 1923

Frank Griffith assisting with an automobile rescue during The Great Flood of 1923

Frank had lived on Water Street (at the future Nichols house) in 1920 but soon moved his family to the 2nd Floor of the Big Shop. Other families would later live in the apartment including Fred & Barbara Harding (with their sons, Mark & Skip) as well as Roland Perkins. He also built a small garage sometime after this to the right side of the Big Shop where he stored some of his tools and later on, his automobile.

Frank Griffith at the Big Shop – c1930

Frank’s granddaughter Susan recalls, “My sister (Joan) and brother (John) and I were in and out of the Big Shop and the (future) sawmill all the time as children. My grandfather died long before I was born but the shop is just as I remember it (as seen in the photo above with Frank). When I was little, I used to run in there and drink from the water tap (seen to the right) by the window. The funny looking machine straight back with the fancy wheels was driven by hand. My father (Ted Griffith) told me that when he was a boy, he found a hole in the ceiling above the machine and one day, while his father was working it, he dropped a stone down through the hole that bounced and pinged my grandfather in the face. He said my grandfather never looked up, just flew up over the stairs and he got a “wicked” smacking.”

Frank didn’t have a saw mill on the lot and instead purchased lumber as needed for orders. He made hundreds of wood items in his shop ranging from small to large orders for about every business and many people in Hartland. Several of Frank’s Work Order journals from 1915-1916 donated to the Hartland Historical Society by the Griffith Family document just some of the numerous projects he did including an order from Thomas Randlett for a wooden body for his ice delivery truck and another for Harold Baird’s fire wood delivery truck.

Looking back from Upper Mill Street onto Frank Griffith’s lot with the Blacksmith Shop to the right and the Big Shop to the left

The Great Auction of 1932 of the real estate holdings of the American Woolen Company included 2 properties on Moore Street as seen below from the original auction drawings & descriptions for lots #26 & #27 with purchase notes from the day of the auction.

26. NO. 49 WEBB STREET: (Moore Street) Approximately 8,600 square feet of land with two story frame cottage having seven rooms, bath, electricity with barn attached. (Purchased by Charles Wilford Mills for $325)
27. LAND & BUILDING: (Moore Street) Approximately 1.6 acres of land with Factory Building thereon. Detailed description will be available at time of sale. (Purchased by  _____ – The former Amasa J. Moor & Son Woodworking Mill eventually purchased by Ivar Pearson)

Ivar Pearson, Sr purchased the former Amasa Moor Factory soon after the 1932 Auction and produced bowling pins and wooden shoe inserts before selling it to the SellWell Products Company in 1946 and moving to Athens where he opened another factory for the same products.

Great Auction of 1932

Upon Frank Griffith’s death in 1937, his son Theodore Franklin Griffith (1913-1968) inherited the mill just before his 27th birthday. Ted and his wife, Evelyn Faye Hersey, who he married in 1935, eventually lived a little further up Mill Street next to the future library.

According to his family, Ted hadn’t worked at his father’s shop much before this point working instead at the American Woolen Mill and for Harry Randlett at the Hartland Hardware Store as a young man. At the time of Frank’s death, Ted was working for the Hunting & Rowe Sawmill on Pittsfield Avenue (behind the future Tasker house) which closed in the early 1940s. At this point Ted decided to go into business for himself but instead of continuing his father’s wood working operation, he built a saw mill in between the Big Shop and the Black Smith Shop purchasing much of the sawmill machinery from his former employer. He left the Blacksmith Shop intact where Stanley Bates housed his team of horses.

Ted first began sawing large pine & hemlock logs into lumber using his Moore Street lot to stockpile larger logs before they were sawed up. He later re-tooled the sawmill to saw smaller cedar logs which were used as cabin stock. To the left of the sawmill next to the bridge is where many local Hartland kids peeled and draw shaved bark with the finished pieces of cedar cabin stock sold to the L. C. Andrews Company in Portland.

The mill changed hands once when Ted sold the business to Everett Wesley Ham in the late 1940s. Hammie operated it for a couple of years while Ted planned to build another mill on his Moore Street lot however Hammie was discontent with the purchase of the mill so they traded. Ted owned the shop once more and Hammie acquired the land on Moore Street where he would build his house.

Around 1955, Ted sold the sawmill to Joe Cianchette (an Uncle of the Cianchette Brothers of the Cianbro Company) but he continued operating it for Joe for several years. It was around this time the old Blacksmith Shop was torn down. In 1958, an addition to the sawmill was built on the bridge side where the old blacksmith shop had stood which was built for Joe by Ted, his son Keith Griffith, E. Claire Russell & Earl Page.

Ken Bishop (1910-1992) and his brother Harold had operated a cedar sawmill in St. Albans in the 1950s where they specialized in cedar fencing which later burnt. When the St Albans mill operation ceased, Ken began talking with the Maine Forestry Department to discuss possible new wood business ideas. Through these discussions, he discovered there was a great demand for all wooden elm barrels and an abundance of elm trees in Maine at the time. He decided on finding an appropriate location to begin his new business venture and around 1960 purchased the former Griffith Sawmill from Joe Cianchette. Ken had married Geraldine Knowles in 1941 and lived on Blake Street.

Ken re-machined the sawmill to his needs and began making the all wooden barrel hoops which were sold to potato farmers in Northern Maine, fishermen on the coast of Maine as well as Chesapeake Bay fishermen in Maryland. Wooden barrels with wooden stays were used since they could be steam cleaned and would not rust. The barrels were made from only elm trees because they grew so straight. Ken tore down the “Big  Shop” soon after he purchased the business as it had deteriorated to an unusable condition.

Ken operated the mill into the late 1960s when he sold it to Kermit “Topper” Badger who continued operating the hoop mill into the early 1970s.

The Hoop Mill while owned by Kermit Badger in the early 1970s. The addition to the original sawmill can be seen to the left.

The Hoop Mill burnt to the ground in the early 1970s and has since remained a vacant lot.

Part of the vacant lot where the former Griffith-Bishop-Badger Mills stood – 2012

In 1914, Ralph C. Hamilton, who also operated the Hartland Drug Store, and Mr. Young built the Hamilton & Young Shirt Factory on Mill Street and began operations soon after however it appears the business venture only lasted into the late 1920s before it was sold.

Original Hamilton & Young Shirt Factory built in 1914

We believe this photo may have been taken at the Hamilton & Young Shirt Factory however the ceiling height is a bit low so it may be from the Fuller & Osborne Manufacturing Company on Main Street. We do know it was taken in Hartland but is only noted as “Shirt Factory”.

Workers at the Hamilton & Young Shirt Factory – c1920

Guy Elwood “Ed” Knowles purchased the Hamilton & Young building in the late 1920s and began using the 2nd floor as a dance hall known as Knowles’ Mill Street Dance Hall. It was one of several dance hall venues in the area where dozens of couples gathered on Friday & Saturday Nights in the late 1920s & mid 1930s. Ed is the father of Meredith (Knowles) Randlett & Geraldine (Knowles) Bishop.

Couples pose for a photo at the Knowles’ Mill Street Dance Hall – c1929

In 1936, Rae Fuller Randlett purchased the former Hamilton & Young Factory building which was vacant at the time. The lower floor was leased to H. C. Baxter & Brothers Canning for storage. Rae eventually elevated the building 3 feet and leased the upstairs to Frank Allen who operated the “Skateland Roller Skating Rink” for several years.

Edmond H. Seekins and Corinne Moore (his future wife) are crowned King & Queen at a Skateland Roller Rink Event in the 1940s.
Also in the photo are Glenis Hanson (standing behind Corinne next to the throne) and beside her, Margaret (Bizeau) Gardner.

Junior Miss Skateland Competition – 1951
(L-R) Sandra (Southard) McNichol, Donna (Goforth) Lindquist, Ruth (Seekins) Wilber (sister of Edmond H. Seekins),
Priscilla (Deering) Halle, Priscilla (Rice) Butler & Betty Lou (Grignon) Morrison. Betty won the competition that day.

It was then purchased by Ed’s son, Robert “Bob” Knowles and became the “Blue Moon Skating Rink”. The downstairs portion was used by the Hartland Fire Department in the early 1950s for storage of some of their new fire trucks until 1956. It was sold to George Mead & Gerald Martin and continued operating as the Blue Moon Skating Rink. In the early 1970s, the building became inhabitable and was razed.

The last photo of the abandoned Blue Moon Skating Rink awaiting its demolition that same day

A car wash was eventually built on the empty lot in early 1980s.

Former Blue Moon Building Lot – 2017

Following the  Map of 1896 but before the 1917 Sanborn Map, the Linn Manufacturing Company built 4 identical houses on Upper Mill Street for management employees of the company. At some point before the Great Auction of 1932, these 4 houses were privately sold and did not appear on the auction listing. They also built 3 of these identical houses on Hubbard Avenue which were part of the Great Auction and were mistakenly identified as their Mill Street counterparts in the description listing although they were correctly placed on the auction map.

In 1943, the 4 homes were owned by (L-R): Frank Hollister Jr, A. Cook, R. Hunt & Vincent & Fannie (Griffith) Dyer

 

Former F. Hollister House – 2012                                                                               Former A. Cook House – 2012

 

Former R. Hunt House – 2012                                                                               Former V. Dyer House – 2012

Mill & Moore Streets below with property ownership in 1943. The house on Moore Street noted as “E.W. Mills” should be Charles Wilfred Mills. The house on Moore Street noted as “C.W. Mills” should be Horace Wesley Mills. The “M. Huff” on Mill Street should be Norman Huff.

Hartland Village – 1943

Former Frank A. Withee House

Former A. Steen House

Mill Street seen from North Street – 1944

In 1948, the mill originally built by Amasa J. Moor and his son Walter H. Moor in 1885 and later operated by Ivar Pearson, burnt to the ground.

    

Sell Well Products Company Fire – August 5, 1948

In 1955, Moore Street officially became a street in Hartland when citizens voted in favor of the proposed Article 43 at the annual Town Meeting.

“To see if the town will vote to accept the town way as laid out by the Selectmen and to raise and appropriate the sum of $1,000 for the construction and tarring of this street described as follows: Beginning at a point where a line drawn 31 ft. 6 inches easterly from a stone post in front of the Scott-Webb Memorial Hospital intersects a line drawn 45 ft. 8 inches westerly from a stone post in front of the residence of Ralph C. Hamilton, being ten feet on each side of a line extending North to Mill Street. No damages to be allowed to the owners of the land over which the way passes. The above course is center of the street to be 20 feet in width and to be called Moore Street.” 

In 1956 the Town Report noted, “Moore Street was constructed, tarred and added to the village street system during 1955.”

Donald Shorey Funeral Home was built on Mill Street in 1956.

Construction of Donald Shorey Funeral Home – 1956

Shorey’s building was purchased by the Town of Hartland in 1991 and converted into the new home of the Hartland Public Library moving from its former location at the original Linn Woolen Mill Office on Commercial Street where the library had been since 1935.

Hartland Public Library – 2017

Funds raised through private donation along with a large donation from the Irving Tanning Company enabled a 2,880 square foot addition to be built in 1995 providing additional space for a community room and children’s materials.

Hartland Public Library – 2017

A tribute to long time Hartland Consolidated School Teacher Ernestine A. Carson in the new Children’s Activity Room.

Ernestine A. Carson Tribute

The library currently has approximately 35,000 items and 7 public computers with Internet Access. The library continues its ongoing mission today as an important learning and research venue for its citizens as well as serving as the temporary home of the Hartland Historical Society.

Click below to access their website:

Hartland Public Library

During the infamous April Fool’s Day Flood of 1987, the Upper Dam held against the raging flood waters but was weakened enough to cause concern for its future stability and was rebuilt once again by the Town of Hartland in 1991.

Upper Dam April Fool’s Flood Newspaper Article – 1987

Upper Dam Rebuild – 1991

Upper Dam Rebuild – 1991

Upper Dam Rebuild – 1991

Upper Dam – 2019 (Photo courtesy of Will Bunker Photography)