Originally known as Tannery Road then Billings Street until 1897, North Street is also known locally as Upper Georgetown

 

Most of the area to the north of the Sebasticook River as well as a large section of its western side and all of the eastern side were originally part of St. Albans until the now familiar town lines between the two towns were re-established in 1846 and it officially became part of Hartland.

North Street was first built as a small unnamed throughway from Commercial Street in 1850 with the bridge connecting it to Mill Street built later that same year in October according to early Town records. For many years, the road between North Street and the bridge was known locally as Bridge Street before becoming Mill Street.

Hartland Village – 1860

 

James Moor, son of William Moor, owned a substantial amount of property along both sides of the Sebasticook River near the Upper Dam which likely included the lot where his son Amasa James Moor located his house on the northern side of the river probably around the same time North Street was first built.

 

In 1856, Josiah Billings, Jr came to Hartland with his family where he purchased a large piece of property including water rights from James Moor at the Upper Dam on the northern corner of the dam where he built the 2nd tannery in Hartland. Born in 1820 in Lancaster, Massachusetts, Josiah was educated at Groton Academy (now Lawrence Academy) in Massachusetts. He learned the tanning trade from his father who was a Tanner in Massachusetts. Soon after he married Lydia Ellen Monroe in 1846, they moved to Brownfield, Maine with their young son Edward E. Billings and were living there in 1850 where he was noted as a Tanner before moving to Hartland. 

Along with the new tannery, Billings also built his family home, a hide drying house, storehouse and a boarding house for some of his dozen or so tannery employees. Billings also owned a house on Commercial Street which may have also served as a boarding home for his employees. North Street was initially referred to as Tannery Street before it came to be called Billings Street by 1860. 

Josiah’s wife Lydia died in 1864 and was interred at Ireland Cemetery. He remarried to Marcia Tibbetts of Exeter in 1866 while his son Edward moved to Rockford, Iowa and later married St Albans native Augusta Adelaide “Addie” Davis who had been a teacher at Hartland Academy before her family also moved to Iowa.

Although most accounts note Billings’ tannery was very successful, in 1867 he sold his business and properties to Charles Shaw and his son Greenville J. Shaw. Josiah & Marcia left town to join Edward in Iowa where Josiah spent the rest of his life as a farmer until his death in 1904.

 

A 1945 article by Hartland native Helen Moor Smith notes several references to the Billings home on the corner of North & Mill Street.

Pittsfield Advertiser Article – 1945

 

Greenville Jefferson Shaw (1843-1903) and his father Charles Shaw purchased the Billings Tannery in 1867 which they operated as Shaw & Son Tannery as well as purchasing and operating tanneries in Burnham, Detroit & Plymouth under the same name. Greenville and his family had moved to Burnham at the time then to Detroit by 1870 and remained there until they closed all but their Hartland location in 1878 due to a bark shortage which was then a key component of the tanning process.

In late 1880, Greenville built Maple Place Farm, so called by Shaw, on an 8 acre lot on Commercial Street now commonly known as the Century House and moved his family to Hartland where he operated his remaining tannery and continued breeding thoroughbred trotters. That same year, he also purchased a 640 acre farm in Stetson which he renamed as Cream Brook Farm where he also raised and bred horses as well as premium cattle while living at his new Hartland residence. Shaw sold Cream Brook Farm in 1866 to concentrate on his other business affairs but maintained his trotter breeding operations at Maple Place Farm.

“Greenville Jefferson Shaw was born in the State of Massachusetts in 1843. When he was eight years of age he came with his family to Penobscot County and settled at Dexter, where he received a common school education. He also attended the Maine State Seminary at Lewiston for three terms, and is a graduate of Eastman’s Business College of Poughkeepsie, New York. At the age of twenty he took charge of the tannery at Vernon, New York where he had charge of eighteen men and in 1866 he purchased one half interest in the business. In 1867 he purchased the tannery in Hartland in company with his father. In the winter of 1868 and 1869, in company with his father, he also purchased the tanneries at Detroit and Plymouth, which made four tanneries and eighty men under his immediate charge at one time. In 1878, during the scarcity of bark, he was obliged to close three of his tanneries, and at present operates only the one at Hartland, where he has fifteen men engaged.”  – History of Penobscot County, Maine – 1882

Shaw & Son Tannery at the Upper Dam – c1877

 

Another article by Helen Smith referenced several details of the tannery seen in the photo above and other existing North Street residences.

Pittsfield Advertiser Article – 1945

 

By 1883, there were a handful of houses on North Street as well as the Shaw & Son Tannery and its supporting buildings.

Hartland Village – 1883

 

Dr. David Brown (1832-1900) and his wife Margaret Guy came from Scotland to Hartland with their 5 children in 1883 where they resided on the corner of Mill Street & North Street at the former Josiah Billings house. He continued his medical practice in Hartland where he was listed as a physician from 1885 until his death in 1900. Their son Dr. John Ferguson Brown also served as a physician in Hartland from 1889 to 1893 before moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their daughter Margaret Guy Brown married Henry L. Smith and operated a clothing store on Commercial Street in the early 1900s. Their other daughter Myra Brown married Charles L. Moor, son of Amasa J. Moor in 1891. Dr. Brown and his wife are interred at Ireland Cemetery while daughters Margaret Smith & Myra Moor are interred at Pine Grove Cemetery. Margaret & Henry’s daughter Jean Brown Smith married Birney James Moore in 1918. 

 

The ongoing bark shortage remained a constant issue for Greenville Shaw’s tannery operations for several years and in 1884 he announced plans in the Pittsfield Advertiser to close his tannery at the end of the year. However, he was able to remain in business a few more years until the Great Flood of 1887 caused major damage to numerous Hartland industries along the Sebasticook River including extensive damage to his 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.” 

The heavy damage incurred from the flood was likely the final blow in the tannery’s eventual demise as Shaw ceased operations and left the tanning business soon after to focus on his trotter breeding operations at Maple Place Farm on Commercial Street. Shaw remained in Hartland into the late 1890s before eventually moving to Bath in 1900 where he passed away in 1903.

Shaw & Son Tannery at the Upper Dam seen from Water Street – c1885

 

Several of Shaw’s real estate holdings in Hartland including his former tannery’s remaining support buildings and their respective lots were purchased by the Linn Manufacturing Company in 1898 and would later be sold at the Great Auction of 1932 as part of the bankrupt American Woolen Company’s assets which included many of the former Linn Estate holdings.

 

At the 1897 Town Meeting, the citizens of Hartland voted to accept recommended street names in the village. While most of them retained their original names, a couple of major changes included Billings Street as noted, “From A. J. Moore’s to said Commercial Street going East; North Street”. The street formerly known as North Street became Commercial Street. It is unclear when or why North Street became known as “Upper Georgetown” but likely it was a colloquial reference introduced by locals to distinguish it from the original “Lower Georgetown” or Water Street.

 

Amasa James Moor (1827-1899), son of James Moor and grandson of original settler William Moor, built one the first known houses on North Street. A. J. Moor operated his wood working mills at the Upper Dam on what would become Moore Street. The house would remain in the Moor-Moore Family for several generations following his death when his son Walter H. Moore (1856-1931) lived there followed by Walter’s daughter Florence (Moore) Smith (1858-1949) then finally her daughter Helen Moor Smith (1889-1983).

Former Amasa J. Moor House as residence of Walter H. Moore – 1923

 

Former Amasa J. Moor House as residence of Lindy & Shirley Humphrey – 2012

 

The Great Flood of 1923 would overwhelm a portion of North Street with overflow from the smaller northern outlet of Great Moose Lake which engulfed the North Street Bridge before flooding onto Water Street. The rest of the Commercial Street side of North Street was mostly unaffected by the flood.

North Street Bridge – 1923

 

North Street Bridge – 1923

 

North Street Bridge – 1923

 

North Street Bridge – 1923

 

Flood Waters from North Street Outlet rushing across to Water Street – 1923

 

Walter Henry Moore (1856-1931) had sold the family wood mill operations at the Upper Dam on Moore Street about 1909. He and his son Merrill A. Moore built a new woodworking mill next to his North Street house in 1923 known as “W. H. Moore & Son Woodworking”.

In the 1920 Census, Walter first uses “Moore” as his surname spelling instead of “Moor” as he had listed himself in the 1910 Census.

W. H. Moore & Son Woodworking Sign  (Donated)

 

Following Walter’s death in 1931, Merrill Amasa Moore (1897-1976), a West Point Graduate, World War I Veteran and Boy Scout Troop Master, continued to operate the mill into the early 1970s before retiring marking the end of 170+ years of Moor-Moore Family Wood Mill operations in Hartland.

Merrill Amasa Moore – Sesquicentennial Chairman – 1970

 

Soon after the demolition of the Shaw Tannery by 1910, Thomas Fuller Randlett (1869-1955) leased one of the former tannery support buildings which was still standing near the Sebasticook River behind the old boat landing and began his ice business.

Thomas Fuller Randlett Ice House (Dark Building on left)

 

Thomas Fuller Randlett cutting ice on the Sebasticook River

 

Thomas Fuller Randlett with his new motorized Ice Cutter on the Sebasticook River

 

Following the American Woolen Company bankruptcy filing in 1932, much of the vast real estate holdings it had purchased in Hartland from the former Linn Manufacturing Company & Archibald Linn Estate were sold off at the Great Auction held on December 2, 1932.

Front Page of Brochure – Great Auction of 1932

 

The auction included several buildings and properties on North Street which had been owned by Greenville Shaw while operating his tannery and sold to the Linn Manufacturing Company in 1898. Those properties are seen below from the original auction drawings & descriptions for Lots 23, 24 & 25.

Lots 23, 24 & 25

23. BILLINGS STREET (North Street): Approximately 34,000 square feet of land with one and one-half-story frame two-family dwelling having seven rooms to each family, electricity, baths, also frame barn. (Purchased by Thomas Randlett for $350)

24. BUILDING LOT (North Street): Approximately 6,900 square feet of land. See auction plot. (Purchased by Frank Withee)

25. NOS. 21-22 BILLINGS STREET (North Street): Approximately 19,400 square feet of land with one and one-half-story frame cottage having seven rooms with barn attached. (Purchased by Mrs. Earle Stanhope for $375)

 

Hartland Historical Society Members Harlan Emery and his younger brother Clyde Emery tell us they were both born in the No. 23 North Street house in 1926 and 1932 respectively and that Dr. Charles A. Moulton arrived in his modified Model T fit with front skis to deliver Clyde.

 

North Street House Ownership in 1943.

Hartland Village – 1943

 

As noted in the 1943 Map, the 5 houses below were owned by (L-R): Calvin Milton Williams, T. Brooks, F. Palmer, Unknown, E. Laughlin.

Left Side of North Street looking toward Commercial Street

 

Lumber Yards would often mark large freight train shipments of stock with the customer’s name on one of the planks.

Lumber Delivery for W. H. Moore & Son  (Photo courtesy of Sam Fuller)

 

Frank Hollister, Jr house on the left with the original Josiah Billings house on the right.

Corner of North Street looking across to the Mill Street Bridge – 1945  (Photo courtesy of Maynard Ross)

 

Near the corner of North Street on Mill Street looking across to the Mill Street Bridge – 1945  (Photo courtesy of Maynard Ross)

 

By 1951, Arthur Ray Spaulding and his wife Cassie Belle Fisher opened a flower, potted plants and seeding business operating as Spaulding’s Greenhouse at their home on the corner of North Street and Mill Street.

 

As part of the 1987 Lower Dam Project, a dike was installed at the Great Moose Lake outlet which had fed the North Street Bridge Stream.

North Street Bridge – 1987