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Guilford, Maine

Where history meets the future

BUILDINGS

(Page 1 of 5) Print Version 

History of Buildings
By Piscataquis Community Middle School 8th Grade Students

Included in the next 5 pages:
1) Odd Fellows Hall, Bank Square
2) Scales Building, Guilford Fire Station
3) Guilford High School, Braeburn Hotel, Low's Covered Bridge
4) Guilford Memorial Library, Chase-Em-In Tea Room, Masonic Hall
5) Oldest House in Guilford


Odd Fellows Hall

Text by Billy Gilbert and Jesse Fraser
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

The Odd Fellows Hall was founded by the I.O.O.F, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The Odd Fellows are a group of people that believe in a Supreme Creator. It was located at an intersection at South Main Street and Hudson Avenue. It was built on May 1st, 1879. Its builder was G. W. Pratt. He designed the hall's appearance, and it was constructed of wood, brick, glass and metal.

They had built it as a meeting place and had a store on the bottom floor. It was a three story building. Two more wings were eventually added on the sides. The hall lasted for twenty-two years, until a fire burnt it to the ground on December 6th, 1902. Only a few pictures and documents survived. A new three story brick building was erected in its place shortly after.

It was rebuilt in the same design, except that the building’s rear was enlarged. The rear of the building was also widened. It had a shop in the bottom floor. Groups and organizations met at the Odd Fellows Hall. Some of the groups were Masons, Rainbow Girls, N.E.O.P, the K. P. Club, and many more.

The new building had multiple sections in it, like the original. The top floor had the Odd Fellows Hall and the Masonic Temple. The second floor had a telephone exchange (the switch board which allows phone operators to connect phone lines) for a while. The first floor contained a French and Elliot IGA store. Later the store was changed into Worthen’s Market.

In 1952 a new heating system was put into the hall. On February 15th, 1979, it caught fire due to the heating system. The fire started in the store and it spread to the rest of the hall. The building lasted for seventy-seven years until this fire. Yet the Odd Fellows Hall still stood after the fire, until the year 1998 when the Hall was torn down. They did this for a new building to be built. A Rite-Aid Pharmacy has been built where the Odd Fellows Hall once stood.


Bank Square

Text by Morgan King and Brittany Cookson
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

Bank Square and South Main Street, Guilford, ca. 1890
Bank Square and South Main Street, Guilford, ca. 1890

Item Contributed by
Guilford Historical Society

The First National Bank, also known as Bank Square, was the first bank in Guilford, Maine. It was built in 1891 and then opened on July 25, 1892. It was first recognized in 1906 and then became Guilford Trust Company. After a few years it had become so great that it needed additions to the corporation. It bought Greenville Branch, as well as Kennebec Trust Company in July of 1923. They had numerous amounts of money coming in and out of the bank, so they needed a vault. The bank made a lease with Scales Block until 1902 when the lease was terminated. The bank was only broken into once and $200 was stolen in nickels, but the burglars were never found. Then in 1926 it was refurnished and completely redone. New furniture and security systems were added to improve the bank by 75%. Sadly, in 1937 the bank was sold.

The bank was located at the corner of 10 North Main Street. It was right next to Griffins Department Store. It was across from Chastenay Property Management and the laundromat. It was right in town, almost impossible to miss. It was also right near Interface which is now known as True.

After the bank closed, it became Straw and Martin, which was an Insurance Agency. What is it now? Well, Bank Square is now the Guilford Historical Society. The bank has been the Guilford Historical Society since a few years after the bank was closed. It was changed from the First National Bank to Northeast Bank and then it was NorthStar Bank. There were rumors that it was Guilford House of Pizza, but that was not true.

Bank Square and Elm Street Businesses, Guilford, 1955
Bank Square and Elm Street Businesses, Guilford, 1955

Item Contributed by
Guilford Historical Society

The Bank was built in 1891. There was nothing there before except an empty landscape. It is a normal building, made of wood, and not too much insulation. It has a good roof with shingles. Thomas Macomber, the builder and founder of this building, made it to be a bank specifically. It has a little mold inside the building on the roof but that's expected from any older building. It has an upstairs, which has been converted into a studio for pictures, with lighting and the whole works. The downstairs has the artifacts, books, and newsletters. The newsletters have been written by the people who run the society. They are very well written with very good information on a range of different subjects.

Generally, the building has had very good uses. First National Bank, to Straw and Martin, to Guilford Historical Society. This building is a landmark for Guilford’s heritage. It has been there for many years. It will continue to bring knowledge to our town of Guilford. The Bank was a great thing for Guilford, but now has another worthy cause in that great building. A great fact about the Bank is that its first depositor was Fred C. Hanson of Monson. We hope it stays for many more years to come.