Damariscotta during the 1950s – who can still remember the women and men who operated all these stores, shops, and businesses here? Also where they were located and who owned them and some of the people who worked in the stores?
Senters Department Store on Main Street was located in the brick block now known as the Damariscotta Center.
The Damariscotta Maytag and appliance store also sold Hoover vacuum cleaners as well as many other items. The store was located in the building that houses Chapman & Chapman Insurance and operated by Mr. George Chasse and his wife. Colby & Gale also sold kitchen appliances like Crosley home freezers. They had a small building and display room and office in what is now Elm Street Plaza. The business was owned by Mr. Charly Gale and Ken Colby.
The Woman’s Shop was located in the building where Sheepscot River Pottery is today. It was owned and operated by Mr. L. A. Nash.
The Lincoln Movie Theater was located on the second floor of the Lincoln Hall Block. It had evening shows at 8 p.m. and matinees daily at 2 p.m. and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The movie theater was owned and operated by Otis Page Sr., and movies and plays are still being held there today.
The County Fair Restaurant was located in the old exhibition hall of the Lincoln County Fairgrounds, which is now the site of Hammond Lumber Co. It was first owned by Mr. Frank Grinnell then sold to Lawson Aldrich who ran it as a summer restaurant business. Lawson Aldrich also operated The Cheechako restaurant, which was located on Lewis Point in Damariscotta. The County Fair Restaurant was open summers serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Lawson Aldrich was Damariscotta’s restaurateur who served the best sure-fired recipes with great success with a class of its own.
Lincoln Chevrolet Co. sold cars and trucks as well as Mobil gas, Mobil tires, Mobil batteries and U.S .Royal tires. It was owned and operated by Ken Ro, then bought by Robert Strong, of Damariscotta.
Ethel’s Dress Shoppe sold toppers, coats, suits, bags, spring prints, cottons, and costume jewelry. The store was located in the building where Se Vende Imports is located today. The business was owned by Mrs. Ethel Dickinson.
The Winslow Insurance Agency was operated by L.A. Dodge and W.C. Chapman and was in the Damariscotta Bank building on Main Street. Greeley’s Western Auto was located on Main Street in the old post office, which was located in the old First National Bank building. He sometimes ran this ad: “A cool thought for a hot day: Christmas toys are arriving.” The business was run by Kent S. Greeley.
Verne F. Batteese’s men’s store sold good-quality men’s clothing and Hanes boxer shorts, briefs, and T-shirts, and sporting clothes. His store was located where Newcastle Realty is today.
Poland’s Pharmacy was owned and operated by Horace Poland and located in the building where antique lighting is sold, called The Shady Lady. Mr. Poland would run an ad in The Lincoln County News showing a small bear holding a thermometer that read: “It’s cool inside Poland’s Pharmacy.” The Pine Tree Variety Inc. was located on Main Street and was in the building where Puffins Nest is located today.
The Damariscotta Farm Supply sold Checkerboard grain and good supplies and was run by Dick Day. It was located just as one started down Bristol Road on the right, at the Day home.
Riverview Restaurant served full-course shore dinners and businessmen’s lunches, and had a full line of hot and cold sandwiches. It was open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and operated by Mr. Roy Hall. The restaurant was located in the Lincoln Hall Block on the ground floor next to the one-way street. The store sold Bluebird sweater cardigans and pullovers, drip-dry cotton dresses in plaids in sizes 3-14, slippers, panties, socks, blouses, skirts and trousers, dungarees, and polo shirts and Hanes underwear. This was a March 22, 1951 ad in The Lincoln County News for the Corner Dry Goods store operated by Miss Marion Hitchcock who later sold the business to Mr. Howard Reed and his wife Martha Belknap Reed.
Then the Bowlakade, which was located under the First National Store in the basement which is now part of R.H. Renys, on upper Main Street next to the Damariscotta Post Office. Then we go out back by Damariscotta Bank & Trust office in the parking lot and there was the location of The Diner and their ad on Feb. 22, 1952 read, “Good food at reasonable prices, table and counter service 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.” This diner was operated by Mr. Robert Fairfield, who lived in Wiscasset.
Then next to the diner was the so-called By-Way Bakery operated by The Cheechako. I love their ad which read, “We give united trading stamps, open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Sunday, Bill the Baker, pies, cakes, rolls, bread, and doughnuts.” The ad was on Nov. 15, 1952.
There was Jim’s Market on Main Street, Damariscotta, located in the old Masonic block at street level which sold Swift premium and Armour Star products and later operated by Mr. Sherman Page and is now the home of an arts gallery called River Gallery and Fine Art.
Then there was Roland A. Genthner Inc. gas and service station, which sold Cities Service oil and gas products and new Huffy power lawnmowers; the garage was torn down and is now the location of a kayak-renting and leasing business in the summer months.
Now just behind this shop out on Schooner wharf was located, Hanna’s Lobster Pound on the wharf in Damariscotta sold fresh fish, lobster, and clams, served or to take out, with dining room heated after Sept. 7. This ad was on Sept. 4, 1958. I recall my father buying lobster as low as 25 cents a pound and crabs for two cents apiece — what a deal back in the 1950s.
Now the first building as you cross the Damariscotta bridge from Newcastle on your right was the location of Mr. James W. Lyons real estate and insurance business for a number of years. It was also the location where Mrs. Mabelle Cotter Sherman sold the Sunday newspapers for over 60 years.
Now looking across the street coming from Newcastle on the left was the businesses of Pages Granite and Marble Works, then Nick Carter’s Barber Shop and next door was Ken Prentice plumbing, heating, and electrician and gas appliances. Then up the street on the same side was Wheeler’s store; he sold Philco, Zenith, Motorola, and RCA televisions and radios, as well as LP records.
Then two stores up was Briggs Pharmacy operated by Mr. Arnold Briggs. Then just across the street was Coggins Jewelry Store; that building burned and an ice cream shop is now located there. Also in that same building that burned was Keene’s Shoe Store.
Just as you start into the one-way street by R.H. Renys store was Clark’s Spa; this was a great place for the high school boys and girls to meet after school and after the movies. Waltz Pharmacy had a nice ice cream and soda bar where school kids stopped by often to have an ice cream or soda. Then across the street was Yellowfront Grocery which many local people patronize. Then there was G. Gays grocery store, which sold high-quality canned goods, fruits, crackers, cheese, and packaged candies and dates and figs. We also had Perley’s Greenhouse, which did a great business in cut flowers and plants on Chapman Street.
Now in 1950 on Upper Main Street we had Belknap’s Pizza and gas station, which was located where Rite Aid is today, then Hilltop Market run by Arthur House, now Hilltop Stop. Lincoln Tire was where Sullivan Tire is located today.
Then we had a beautiful dance hall called Lakehurst, which had a large stone fireplace in the main dance hall and nice screened-in porches on one side and featured Lloyd Rafnell and his orchestra. This was an Aug. 29, 1959 ad. Then the one and only Lincoln County News, which was located on Church Street then.
Ed’s Place on Upper Route One was a small grocery store and take-out. It was located where Farrin’s real estate business is today. This ad was on Dec. 24, 1959. Ed once ran for governor for the state of Maine.
Then Tukey’s Sporting Goods on Main Street, Damariscotta: he sold Colt pistols and revolvers, skates, sleds, snowshoes, knives, and hunting bows, arrows, quivers, and tabs. His ad was on Dec. 10, 1959 in The Lincoln County News. Then the Come Again Shop — this shop sold cut glass vases, Hallmark cards, English china, new Maine books, and Maine’s famous Rowantrees pottery.
Then there was Fewacres Greenhouse, “flowers for all occasions,” located on Church Street and operated by Mr. John Bickford. It was located across the street from Hillside Cemetery. Then Crooker’s Service Station by the bridge which was later bought by Roland A. Genthner. Then the so-called Bosun’s Mate restaurant and snack bar operated by Walter Cowan; the ad ran July 23, 1959. It was located where Stars jewelry store is today.
Pine Grove Drive-In, Route 1, east of Damariscotta, was where a bean-hole bean supper was served on the picnic tables on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 5:30-7 p.m. Bean-hole beans, hot dogs, salad, rolls, homemade pies, coffee or cold drinks were served. Adults cost $1, children were 75 cents. What a great ad and price for all that food! The ad was from Sept. 10, 1959.
The Cricket Shop had real quality merchandise. This was known as a very fine gift shop and it was the fifth annual pre-Christmas sale on Nov. 8, 1951. Pine Tree Yarns is now located in that building.
We have so many people that collect items of the 1950s and often ask what was Damariscotta like in the 1950s. So we both would like to show that Damariscotta was still the hub business district of the county and was a town that offered most every kind of merchandise to the local people. Have a great time reminiscing about all the people and stores that were here in the 1950s!