Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25-27 at Gould Academy –- Alumni Weekend.
Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Bethel Town office there will be a public information meeting conducted by MDOT concerning next spring’s repair of the Route 2 Bridge over the railroad.
Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 9 and 10: 27th Annual Blue Mountain Arts and Crafts Festival at Sunday River South Ridge Base Lodge. Hours both days: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is also Sunday River’s Fall Festival Weekend with free band concerts on the South Ridge slopes.
Bethel Inn news
Golf groups make up a large segment of Bethel Inn business these days. Recently 100 inn guests that were part of three golf groups were out on the course. For the period of Sept. 21-23 the inn’s annual Fall Festival, a Pro-Am tournament fielded 25 teams. Each team is made up of one pro and three amateurs. The 26th annual Jeep Jamboree of over 250 people returns to the inn during its long weekend from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3.
Wedding parties continue to find the Bethel Inn a favorite place for these special events. What is showing up as a new trend is the theme wedding tied to holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving and winter weddings are becoming more and more popular. Talking with Brad Jerome at the inn’s Sales Office, he noted that personal contacts have a lot to do with keeping repeat business. Group contacts and function planners like the fact that they are dealing with the same person year after year. Diana Polli is the familiar voice who answers the inn’s phone, which makes for comfortable, congenial planning. Callers are pleased to know that Dick Rasor is still the owner; the inn has not “flipped” to a new strange party. Weddings in general do not lend themselves to repeat business (in most cases) but Mary Brown’s long expertise in wedding arrangements makes for excellent word-of-mouth referrals.
The Barn Tour
Stan Howe made arrangements with James “Jim” Swan to include “the barn,” the Locke-Swan barn, on the Sunday River Road as one of the open barns for last weekend’s barn tour. This barn is maybe one of Bethel’s most valued symbols of years gone by. Although not built until 1891 it represents two historically important Bethel families: the Lockes and the Swans.
About Samuel Barron Locke who came here for the birth of their fifth child in 1797, historian William Lapham wrote, “He was a millwright and built the first mills at Locke’s Mills in Greenwood.” His large extended family held sway at Maple Grove farm from 1797 until 1913 when Mary Ellen Locke died. The Swans have been “keepers of the flame” since 1926. Nathaniel Swan came to “Swans Corner” in the late 1780s, at about age 20, and built a house in 1791 that still stands today; it is currently owned by Michael and Eileen Broderick. (Nathaniel came with his family, James and Mary, from Fryeburg to Bethel (Sudbury Canada) before 1781; Mollyockett came with them.)
In modern times, the barn on the Locke-Swan property has been most often referred to as the Locke Mountain House barn. During the years from 1883 to 1913, after Charles Russell Locke had died, his daughters Phila and Mary Ellen continued the farm to feed and transport their summer boarders.The summer young folk found the barn a great place to play. Many probably remember the large farm house –- summer boarding house that used to stand near the Sunday River Road. The house was built about 1850 by Charles Locke; it was destroyed in an October 1999 fire.
Back to the barn tour -- Jim Swan did an excellent job as barn tour host with a mowed path to the rear entrance, a table with books and information about the barn, a hayfork setup showing how the old haying system with horse power worked and he pointed out the two holes in the barn’s hay loft floor where ropes for a swing at one time had hung. Jim can tell more life-of-the barn stories than anyone alive today.
And from Randy Bennett by e-mail –- “We sold 34 tickets and Stan thinks that about 25 people may have stopped at the Swan barn.”
For photos see: www.thebetheljournals.info/News/Locke_Swan_Barn.htm
Bennett’s Lumbering – the TimberPro
For the past two weeks plus, Bennett’s Lumbering Company has been logging Gloria Wilson’s woodlots next to us. Hays and I have had a front-row seat. The job could be called timber stand improvement, weeding, park scenery enhancement and bettering Gloria’s view of her back yard. What attracted the attention of passersby when work first began was the cluster of very bright lights moving back and forth through the trees. It looked like five tiny flying saucers flitting around hunting for pine cones.
In economic terms the results of this job will be: logs to Hancock Lumber’s South Bethel mill and a mountain of cleared brush and weeded-out trees (biological material not suitable for manufacturing) will enter the biomass stream. Most likely it will end up at the Livermore biomass facility.
Bennett’s Lumbering Company is a partnership of Donald and Michael “Mike” Bennett. Mike said that his father started the business about 1972 and Mike signed on in 1987. Their wood-harvesting expertise and trustworthiness is well known. They are also not afraid to invest in new, environmentally friendly logging equipment –- thus, enter the TimberPro. The TimberPro was the source of bright lights moving through the woods. Jason Berry pilots the TimberPro; he has been with Bennett Lumbering for 12 years.
TimberPro is the innovative creation of Mr. Pat Crawford whose home base is Shawano, Wis. Mr. Crawford was raised in Winter, Wis., and has experienced a long life of logging and inventing something better to log with. Mike told me about visiting the TimberPro plant about four years ago and meeting Mr. Crawford who now is about 90; he keeps an apartment above the plant where he holes up when brainstorming better ways to log. On his visit Mike also found out that about a quarter of the company’s sales go to Russia. Their machines are used in Siberian virgin forests where loggers always carry rifles for protection against Siberian Tiger attacks.
Last January Mike bought the company’s TimberPro through The Oliver Stores that are local dealers of these machines. Mike says that working the TimberPro is not labor intensive –- sitting in the operator’s seat one runs his machine with two joysticks. Moving over the forest floor with the machine’s large rubber-tired wheels instead of tracks creates less terrain damage and seems to provide greater mobility. On this job, the TimberPro was using a feller-buncher that works with a high-tech blade having a 22-inch cut. If you drive by and see a mountain of biomass, the TimberPro feller-buncher with Jason Berry at the controls put it there.
For photos see: www.thebetheljournals.info/News/Bennett_Lumbering.pdf
The Wooden Pipe
Last week a dig was going on in the parking lot of the Railroad Street Laundromat. Down a few feet from the surface the Bethel public works crew discovered an old wooden pipe that was about a foot in diameter with a three-inch tunnel. Alison Aloisio called from The Citizen to let me know of the find.
When I got to the Laundromat Mike and Kevin Bean, the work crew and the water district crew along with Alison were throwing out ideas about where the line had gone and whom it had served. The reason for the digging was to replace a broken concrete catch basin of the sewer line with a new one. Most of the ideas pointed to a possible water line for the railroad. One line of thought was that the old pipe had carried water from Sanding Brook near Brooks Bros. store to this spot where it might have crossed under the road to the railroad station.
On the face of things it did not seem likely that the size of the pipe was big enough to supply trains. Station property listings for the Grand Trunk that I had seen did not include a water tank at Bethel; however, this list was incomplete because old photos clearly showed a water tower. Then in the 1890 news on Bethel Water Company progress in getting its Chapman Brook water system into Bethel village, there was a line saying “The Grand Trunk R.R. is laying its pipes from the Water Company’s pipes to their stand pipe” (a water source for steam locomotives).
So speculating on the wooden water pipe’s raison d’être ended in a draw. Talking about it with Stan Howe, he said that wooden pipes like that one had been found throughout Bethel village. The BHS library has a section of another wooden pipe that matches the one found on Railroad Street. We think that in the wooden water pipe era the railroad and, after 1886 the chair factory, had dug or pumped water from sources on the north side of the tracks.
Anyway, the new catch basin is in, Mike Bean is waiting for the state highway department to pave around the top of the catch basin and its immediate surroundings. His property lines and those of the town and the highway’s right of way still overlap -- as Mr. Bean’s deed reads: “Subject to the rights of others, public and private, over and across the property where over the years the highway has passed.” Gary Inman has surveyed the Laundromat lot but has not completed his findings as of last week.
Harvestfest – The Mall of America
To borrow from Ecclesiastes; there is a time for everything under the sun. There is a time to sow and a time to reap and in these days a time to go to the mall. And that time was last Saturday at the Bethel Common. Beautiful sunny weather and no other competing events brought a large crowd to the Harvestfest. Steve Etheridge was in the back kitchen area of the Rooster's Roadhouse setup passing cups of chowder to the serving line as fast as he could. He said he had gone through over 250 cups already. Those waiting in line to get in must have numbered another hundred people just while I was there.
After making the rounds, seeing vendors galore, Sunday River Alpaca snagged Kathy with their capes, I could say there were a whole lot of strange faces. Out of the crowd of sightseers I only met and chatted with nine people whom I knew. The red and white Harvestfest and Chowdah Cookoff roadside signs which were scattered along Route 2 through Mayville, and I assume other main routes into town, did their job in getting the word out about what was going on.