In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Guilford, Maine

Where history meets the future


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

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.

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.

Scales Building

Text by Michaela Salvucci and Brody Gourley
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

Scales Building

The John Scales Building was built in 1892. It was built out of wood and then later out of brick. It was a hardware store on the first floor and the First National Bank on the second floor. John Scales & Sons became the firm name on January 20, 1916 because that's when he bought it. Before John Scales bought the building, he opened a small drug store in 1875, called the Hobart Block. It was located on the north end of the bridge. After, Piscataquis Woolen Company built the mill and the store was moved by the office of Straw and Martin at the mouth of Mill Street. The store was moved again across the river and later occupied by E.W. Genthner. Mr. Scales devoted all of his attention to the hardware business. The building was stocked and opened in the spring of 1892.

John Scales died in 1923. His son Charles Scales passed away in 1934. Eugene continued the business up until his death in 1956. His son John and his wife continued the business after. The John Scales building was one of the oldest hardware stores and was sold to Keith Farnham on July 26, who changed the name to Guilford Hardware. In the John Scales building there was a clothing store ran by CF Scales and Company. It was only a men’s clothing store. CF Scales moved his business from across the river to the John Scales Building. A little after the business started he took in Charles Cimpher and the firm became Scales & Cimpher. The next change was when the business was taken over by Dr. W. H. Witham and J. A. Rand. After a while, the clothing store went out of business. Mr. Rand took in A. W. Drake and purchased stock of the Hudson Clothing Company. The name of the store was changed again to Rand & Drake. In 1908, Charles Scales and Harry E. Hale of Dexter bought out Rand & Drake and the name changed to Guilford Clothing Store. In 1928, A. W. Drake became the principal owner. He had served in the capacity of clerk with the different managements before he purchased interests in it.

Guilford Fire Station

Guilford Fire Station

Text by Asia Wohlfeil, Saide Morin, and Aliza Boone
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

The Guilford Fire Station was first built and organized in 1893. It was built by Dan Cimpher, and Alfred Hammford. The fire station was built out of bricks, wood, and concrete. Before it was a fire station, it was just an empty spot in Guilford.

At first, the fire station got the water from the river using a pump that was in the mill. In the first year after it was built, they raised $944 to buy new pipes and hydrants. The first equipment they had was one linen hose, one two-wheeled hose reel that they could use in the summer, and a sled they could use in the winter. Every year after the station was built they raised more money to put more pipes and hydrants out.

In the 1900s the whole town purchased a bigger hose reel that could carry 500 feet of hose. After another year, in 1901, they finally built a hose house on School Street beside the old town hall. The new hose house had high towers for hanging hose to dry and a large stove to heat. Upstairs in the house there was a room for the meetings to be held in. It didn’t take too long and the town and the fire department got bigger and started to get a little nicer as time went by.

By 1941, the town also purchased a 1941 Diamond T Truck with a 500 gallon pump and 150 gallon tank. When they first bought that truck Alfred Hammond was the fire chief and he kept the truck in the old Huntington Garage. In 1948, an insurance program was arranged for the people that worked for the fire department. A year later, more people joined the fire department. It was now up to 25 men. When 1954 came, the town had built a two-bay fire station. It was also shared with the town office. This set-up is still the same today. The fire station held dances and fundraisers. After they raised enough money, they got a meeting room and a kitchen that was furnished and painted. The town got an International Fire Truck in 1956. This truck had a 750 midship pump, an 800 gallon tank with two booster reels, and other necessary equipment. After years and years of improving, the fire station has gotten better and better.

To this very day, the fire station is still standing. The firefighters have held get-togethers to help collect money and canned goods to give to the local food bank. Some people have memories of their time at the fire station; one firefighter’s special memory was when he first became a firefighter.

Guilford of Maine 1816-1991

Guilford High School

Text by Zachery Pratt and Katelyn Campbell
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

In 1882, a new high school was built, costing $15,000. In 1925, a devastating fire flattened the high school. The people of Guilford acted very quickly and the building was rebuilt. The construction was finished just one year later in 1926. Different from the old one, the newly built high school had a price tag of $90,000. The new name to this school was decided to be PCHS or Piscataquis Community High School. The new high school featured a very impressive entrance with huge white columns surrounding it, tennis courts, a beautiful gymnasium, and a new assembly hall with a stage for putting on plays and other events. In 1949, the gymnasium wasn’t meeting the demands of the school, so a new gym was constructed next to the old one. The old gymnasium was converted to a classroom.

On August 29, 1958, Maine School Administrative District #4 became a reality. One of the earliest SADs in the state, the new district included the towns of Abbot, Cambridge, Guilford, Parkman, Sangerville, and Wellington.

The fall of 1963 brought the first expansion onto the high school gymnasium with the edition of the superintendent’s office, and laboratories for chemistry and physics. At that period of time, School Administrative District #4 schooled 1,200 students in the high school, middle school, and elementary school.

As the end of the 1960s approached, it became obvious that the current high school building was not going to meet the demands of the district because of the condition of the building and the expansion of SAD #4. Voters of Guilford decided to build a new high school. The high school was built at 9 Campus Drive in Guilford. When the new PCHS opened in 1969, the old high school on School Street became the Guilford Middle School. In 1969, the Guilford Middle School housed only grades sixth, seventh and eighth; today, the middle school houses fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth.

Probably one of the most controversial issues in the 1980s was school bus transportation. Following a series of meetings, the voters of Guilford approved the purchase of a new fleet of school buses. A few years later, the voters also approved the construction of a bus garage next to the high school.

In 1943 and 1948, the Piscataquis Community High School Pirates boys’ team won the Piscataquis County championship coached by Phil Clark. PCHS also offered a baseball team.

Today, Piscataquis Community High School is located at 9 Campus Drive, while Piscataquis Community Middle School is located next to the high school at 25 Campus Drive. A few years ago, a small thrift shop occupied a space in the old high school, but it closed. Today, Herrick Construction occupies the building.

Braeburn Hotel

Text by Jacob Campbell, Elaina Bennett, and Terran Welcome
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

The Braeburn Hotel in Guilford, Maine, has been around since 1906. It was considered the finest in residency in its time in the area. It contained a post office, a clothing store, and a drug store on the first floor, and the bedrooms and the kitchen on the second floor, with bathrooms on every floor. The Braeburn stayed in business until it was gutted by fire in 2003.

The hotel was built on March 3, 1906, and stayed well on through the twentieth century as a major landmark in Guilford. It was a small hotel and contained three small businesses on the bottom floor. The residencies were above them. In all, about twenty people lived in the building at one time.

The site it was built on used to be the home of the old Turner House, which burned down. It was bought by Keren-happuch (Norman) Turner. The Turner House served as an apartment building complex.

The Braeburn building finally burned down in early March of 2003. It was thought to be started by an electrical problem. The roof collapsed in on the third floor, and caved in on the second. None of the twenty residents were hurt in the fire, but a firefighter was sent to Mayo Regional Hospital for a badly sprained ankle. It is said that two cats were killed in the fire.

As of today, the vacant lot is still empty, and is trying to be sold to the town. Plans for rebuilding on the lot are still under question, and may not go through. The Braeburn hotel, the Turner house, either way, the lots have housed people for just under one hundred years.

Low's Covered Bridge

Text by Taylor Renner and Bronson Bateman
Images by Guilford Historical Society

Low's Bridge Historic Landmark

Picnic by the Piscataquis River, and travel back in time on the beautiful covered bridge by car or driving ATV. Winter or Summer you can always enjoy the view.

The covered bridge was built for the first time in 1830. The man who built the bridge was one of the first settlers. His name was Robert Low. As you can see, Low’s Covered Bridge was named after Robert Low. It is located on Route 15 in Guilford.

The covered bridge was first washed away by the spring flood of 1843. Many years later in 1857, due to Mother Nature, the bridge had been destroyed again. On April 11, 1987 it was washed away for the third time. This time it had been snapped into two large sections. One section rested in a place down stream. The second section kept on going and went down over the dam in Dover-Foxcroft.

In 1858, the townspeople of Guilford decided to contract Isaac F. Wharff to do the foundation work on the bridge with granite. The cost to the towns was $750, $500 for abutments underneath the bridge, and $250 for lumber and labor. Guilford and Sangerville split the expense. After the flood of 1987, Dwinal Hall and William Hume of Guilford organized the effort to rebuild the bridge once again, at the cost of $625,000. This was completed in October of 1990.

The Guilford Covered Bridge, known as a national historic landmark, is also known as Low’s Bridge. This bridge was dedicated in 1970.

This was due to the hard work of the Guilford and Sangerville citizens.

When driving by the beautiful riverside, take a moment and stop by the bridge with all of your family and friends. Enjoy the unique experience of walking across the historical bridge and picture the most magnificent people that were once here.

Guilford Memorial Library

Text by Andrew Cartwright and Andrew White
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

Did you know Guilford was almost called Fluvanna? That's just one of the interesting facts we learned researching the beginning of the Guilford Memorial Library. Guilford was a big town in the early 1900s. At the turn of the century Guilford had the railroad, woolen mills, a newspaper, and even a cinema. What the town needed was a library.

In 1903, The Library Reading Club proposed the town support a library for public use. That year space was set aside in the Selectman's office for the Guilford Free Library. It didn't take long before the space was too small. At the 1907 Annual Meeting the trustees proposed a library be built in Guilford. The secretary for the board was to write Mr. Andrew Carnegie a letter asking for a grant to build the new library in Guilford. The town voted to support the library with $500 per year if Mr. Carnegie gave $5000. Mr. Daniel Straw donated the land and another $5000.00 was raised by local citizens. Mr. Carnegie did give the $5000 and the library was built.

The architect who designed the building was Fredrick A. Patterson from Bangor. He used the Carnegie Classic Revival style for the building. There are many Carnegie Libraries throughout the United States. If you look above the front door that faces Water Street, you will see Carnegie written. Andrew Carnegie libraries don't all look the same, but many have the same kind of windows that the Guilford Memorial Library's original building has. The building was built with bricks and had a slate roof. Slate was used a lot because of the slate quarry in Monson. In the early 1900s indoor plumbing and electricity where used in new construction. When the construction was finished, the building had gone $750 over budget. Andrew Carnegie agreed to pay the $750 if the Town of Guilford agreed to pay 10% of the $750 annually to help support the library. At the 1909 Town Meeting it was voted to give the 10% and Mr. Carnegie gave the money. From 1910 to at least 1919, Guilford gave the library $575 each year for expenses.

On January 26, 1909, the library officially opened to the public. It was on this day the library's name officially changed from the Guilford Free Public Library to the Guilford Memorial Library. There were seven trustees and each year they gave a report at the annual town meeting. The first librarian was Ernestine Hale. She and an assistant ran the library three days a week. It was impressive that the average number of books out per day open was 125 most years we looked at. I think this was true because people didn't have computers or televisions at home to entertain them. They read books and magazines instead. The library raised money by having entertainment, by donations from people, and through late fees for book returns. They increased the number of magazines and books on hand all the time. It was a very busy place with lots of students from school using the reference books and people coming in to read the magazines. We couldn't find a lot of information about from the time the library was built to when it had its first renovation in 1977.

In 1977, the library needed some renovations. It needed painting, new gutters, roof repairs, basement windows and other miscellaneous repairs. The main entrance was moved from the front to the back with a parking lot. It still looked much like it did when it was first built in 1908. In 1986, the Guilford Memorial Library was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1992, Linda Packard became the new librarian; that's when things really started happening again for the library. Again, at the turn of the century, the Guilford Memorial Library would have new life. In 1998, Linda began a campaign to raise funds to build an addition to the library. Several children from the community, under the direction of art teacher Mary Lightbody, drew and water-colored images of the old building. Notecards were made from the originals and given to people who gave a certain amount to the campaign. I know this because my oldest sister, Grace, painted a picture of the front door! You can see the originals in scrapbooks at the library. Other people who gave money got their names on plaques that are on display in the library as you walk in. The community raised the funds needed; grants were written; matching funds were given, and the library addition was becoming a reality. The trustees needed to work closely with the architect because the original building was on the National Register. The finished project is a nice mix of old and new. The old building has a slate roof; the new building has a metal roof. The wall on the west side of the original building was left intact, including the window openings. The interior goes from the old to the new without a feeling of moving into an addition.

Linda Packard was named Librarian of the Year in 2005 by the Maine Library Conference. Linda has made a huge difference in the Guilford Memorial Library since her arrival. In 1996, computers where made available to the public. Then, in 2002, laptops where given to both the Guilford Library and the Sangerville Library through a grant written by Crystal Priest. As well as getting 10 laptops to be divided by the two libraries, wireless internet was installed. Since 2003 the library's circulation has doubled and people are using the wireless internet.

In 2009 the Guilford Memorial Library received a 3-Star rating by the Library Journal, one of only 4 libraries in Maine to receive this honor. Again, in 2010 the Guilford Memorial Library received national recognition by receiving a 4-Star rating. The ranking is based on per-capita circulation, program attendance, and internet usage based on the library's yearly expenditures. (Piscataquis Observer, 1/20/10)

So, next time you need to do your homework, find a good book to read, or use the internet, go to the library. It's at 4 Library Street in Guilford. It's open on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday - Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Chase-Em-In Tea Room

Text by Jamie Libby and Chase Bouton
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

On Route 15 across from the woolen mill there used to be a little store. The name of this store was the Chase-Em-In Tea Room. Little is known about the Tea Room. We do know that it sold gas and breakfast. Inside there were three tables with two seats each. After the Tea Room was sold, it was renamed the Hill Top Restaurant, which stayed open for a few years before finally closing. Little is known on both businesses, but they both provided for the community.

Masonic Hall

Text by Ethyn Gould, Casey Northup, and Danielle Spaulding
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

The old Masonic Hall in Guilford was once located in Abbot, Maine. The building was known as Morse’s Hall. In 1888 the Masons voted to move to Guilford. They moved into the building that was also used by the Odd Fellows. It also was French and Elliot’s grocery and the post office. The store was located downstairs along with the post office. The Odd Fellows and Masons met upstairs. The top floor was used as dining room.

On December 6, 1902 the building was lost to a fire. The whole building was ruined.

A new Odd Fellows Hall (I.O.O.F.) was built in 1904. Again the Masons shared this building with them. This new building was located at the corner of Hudson Avenue and South Main Street.

This building soon had extensive fire damage in 1979. The building was made of brick which could have been the reason it didn’t burn completely.

In 1998, the I.O.O.F. building was torn down so they could build a Rite Aid. We do know one witness (Jeff Libby) who watched the building being torn down. One year later land was donated by Donald Davis for a new building. A dedication was held in 1999.

The Guilford Masonic Hall was remembered as a meeting place for the townspeople. It was a very important part of Guilford society.

The Oldest House in Guilford

Text by Belle-Natalie Wingert and Elaine Riitano
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

Before the Wharff house was built the land was all wooded area that the town had decided to change to farmland in order to build a house, which turned out to be the oldest house in Guilford, and may still be the oldest in the county. After they cut down all the trees in the 1790s, they built the house on a ledge. The foundation was made out of granite blocks, wood and posts and beams. The house was Victorian influenced and was one-and-a-half stories tall, which some people called a bungalow. The house was considered a farm house.

Over the years quite a few people lived there and many renovations and changes have been made; the house is still being renovated. It was purchased in 1998 and is still occupied by the same owners. At that time, it had eight rooms, four bedrooms and one bath. It was heated by oil and an old-fashioned wood stove despite the two fireplaces, and has 14 acres surrounding it. When the current owners bought it the real estate ad said: “Ideal location to pasture a horse, raise your children or just enjoy living in the solitude of a country home. Some TLC is required, but what a place once it is done.”

Across the road from the Wharff house is the Valley Grange Hall and seen through the back kitchen window, the Guilford Center Baptist Church. Over the years it was used as a store, church, parsonage, meeting house, home, and even a working farm!