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 soon after 1820, 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 Wiggin 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 Wiggin 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 his home, a hide drying house and a boarding house for some of his dozen or so tannery employees.
Former Billings Tannery at the Upper Dam – c1877
The Moor Family Wood Mills, James W. Moor’s home 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 his tannery off North Street to Greenville Jefferson Shaw and his father Charles 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) didn’t appear to have an interest and is not shown working at any of the mills in any Census during his life leaving Amasa’s youngest son Walter H. Moor as the heir apparent to the family business.
By the early 1880s, Walter Henry 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 focused his efforts on his trotter breeding operation at his Maple Lane Farm on Commercial Street and other business ventures..
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
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. In 1905, 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.
Pittsfield Advertiser Article – 1905
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 owned and operated the Hartland Drug Store, and a Mr. Young built the Hamilton & Young Shirt Factory on Mill Street and began operations soon after however it appears the business venture, specializing in flannel shirts, only lasted into the late 1920s.
Original Hamilton & Young Shirt Factory built in 1914 (Courtesy of Maggie Smith)
We believe this photo may have been taken at the Hamilton & Young Shirt Factory however we only know it was taken in Hartland and noted as “Shirt Factory”.
Workers at the Hamilton & Young Shirt Factory – c1920 (Courtesy of Maggie Smith)
In 1936, Rae Fuller Randlett purchased the former Hamilton & Young Factory building which was vacant at the time. Rae eventually elevated the building 3 feet and soon after leased the basement floor to H. C. Baxter & Brother Canning Company for storage. In 1938, Rae leased the 2nd floor of the building to Guy Elwood “Ed” Knowles who began operating as The Blue Moon Rink featuring dancing & roller skating. The Blue Moon was one of several popular dance venues in the region including dance halls in St Albans and Solon where dozens of couples gathered on Friday or Saturday Nights.
Couples pose for a photo at The Blue Moon Dance Hall & Roller Skating Rink (Courtesy of Maggie Smith)
In the early 1940s, Ed ceased operations at The Blue Moon and began working on a couple of other business ventures around the state culminating with his plan to build a racecar track which opened in 1948 as Unity Raceway. In Ed’s absence, several local groups used the 2nd floor of the building for various fund raising events including the Hartland Fire Department’s Annual Ball and the Hartland Lion’s Club Game Supper. In 1945, the Hartland American Legion began sponsoring occasional benefit dances and in January of 1946 leased The Blue Moon for a series of scheduled dance events throughout each weekend of the year.
In June of 1947, Frank B. Allen, Jr leased the 2nd floor from Rae and operated as Skateland Roller Rink. Frank had managed several rinks including Riverside Rink in Skowhegan for his father over the years who had opened his first roller rink in Bangor in 1913. Frank opened a Skateland Roller Rink in Sebec in 1949 and eventually another in Dexter in 1959. Along with the regular skating schedule, Frank held several different roller skating carnivals, roller skating dance classes and numerous unique skating competitions at the Hartland rink attracting people from all over Maine including annual competitions for Miss & Mister Skateland, Skateland King & Queen and Junior Miss Skateland.
Skateland Roller Rink Carnival Event
Edmond H. Seekins and Corinne Moore (his future wife) were crowned King & Queen at a Skateland Roller Rink Carnival Event in the late 1940s.
Also in the photo are Glennis Hanson (standing behind Corinne next to the throne) and beside her Margaret (Bizeau) Gardner.
Junior Miss Skateland Competition – 1951 (Won by Betty Lou Grignon)
(L-R): Sandra (Southard) McNichol | Donna (Goforth) Lindquist | Ruth (Seekins) Wilber
Priscilla (Deering) Halle | Priscilla (Rice) Butler | Betty Lou (Grignon) Morrison
In the early 1950s, the fire hall at Hubbard Avenue began experiencing major floor support issues so for several years Rae stored a couple of the fire trucks in the 1st floor of The Blue Moon until a new fire hall was built in 1957.
In 1957, Frank left Hartland to open a new Skateland Roller Rink in Dexter. For the next couple of years, the 2nd floor was again used by local groups including the fire department for fund raising events until late 1959 when Robert Elwood Knowles, son of Ed Knowles, took over the building leasing it from Rae, his soon to be father-in-law. Bob was living in Hartland at the time with his step-grandmother Relief (Giles) Knowles on the corner of Blake & Seekins Street.
Bob installed a new heating system, painted the walls and windows blue, added new lights and opened for business soon after. In May of 1960, Bob had John McClegg from Waterville refinish the floor and coat it with a plastic sealer. The new nonskid, dustless floor was advertised as “speed skating on the new plastic floor”. Although the rink was operating in 1960, its official “Grand Opening” as The Blue Moon Ballroom & Roller Rink was held on Saturday, January 7, 1961 with a dance featuring the Al Corey Orchestra. Bob’s brother-in-law Rogen Randlett helped operate the rink and his wife Joanne (LeVasseur) Randlett also worked the concession stand.
The Blue Moon Ad – 1960
Roller skating at the “new” Blue Moon was typically held on Friday nights and Saturday & Sunday afternoons. Dances were usually held on Saturday nights with area live bands performing or DJ’s spinning records. Admission for afternoon roller skating was 25 cents and 50 cents for night skating with admission for dances at 50 cents. Bob sent clamp-on skates to a company in Waltham, Massachusetts where they attached them to shoes which he rented out at the rink for 25 cents. It wasn’t unusual for the very popular venue to take in $200 on a full card of Saturday skating and dancing events. Chairs for the dances were stored in the attic of the roller rink and after the Saturday afternoon skate Bob and Rogen brought them down to prepare for the night dance. Following each Saturday night dance, they hand washed the floor and put spangles on the floor to make it waxy for skating. (Special thanks to Bob Knowles for providing us with many of these details during a 2021 interview with his niece Tammy Randlett-Higgins)
The Blue Moon Ad – 1960
Following Bob’s marriage to Rae’s daughter Rae Jean (Randlett) Knowles in June of 1960, he continued operating The Blue Moon until 1965 before he and Rae Jean moved to Unity in 1966 to commit their efforts full time operating Unity Raceway which Bob had taken over from his father in 1960.
Soon after Harold Plumley of Unity began holding youth dances at The Blue Moon. Mr. Plumley, who had also established a Youth Center in Unity, noted a 1965 newspaper article, “This is for the young people in Hartland and the surrounding areas and will feature live rock and roll music every Saturday night. The project is being operated with the objective in mind to provide wholesome entertainment for teenagers.” Roller skating and fund raising events continued to be held during this time including the Annual Hartland Fireman’s Ball.
George and Merlene (Lewis) Mead took over management of The Blue Moon in late 1966 operating it as a roller skating rink but unfortunately its deteriorating condition eventually led to its closure about 1975. Gerald Martin purchased the building from Rae Randlett for heavy equipment storage before it was finally razed soon after.
The last known photo of The Blue Moon Dance Hall & Roller Skating Rink awaiting its demolition that same day
A car wash was eventually built on the empty Blue Moon lot in early 1980s.
Former Blue Moon Building Lot – 2017
Following the release of the Map of 1896 but before the release of 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 and 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 Street & Moore Street 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 Sr & Fred Burrill, 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.”
In 1956, the Donald H. Shorey Funeral Home was built on Mill Street. Mr. Shorey had been in business for many years in Pittsfield and had located a smaller funeral home in Hartland several years earlier at the Hartland House before moving to this new dedicated building near the corner of Main Street.
Construction of Donald H. Shorey Funeral Home – 1956
Donald 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
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)