Letters to the Editor
Reactions to our April Route 1 Issue
Route 1 Redux
I was extremely interested in your recent article in the April issue on Route 1. I was literally born in a small farmhouse on Route 1 many years ago in Pembroke. Unfortunately, Route 1 now bypasses the center of Pembroke and the house where I was born and lived for nine years. My father worked on a small dairy farm, also on Route 1, in Pembroke. I remember vividly riding with my father on many Sundays when I was a child in his 1929 Model A Ford from Pembroke to Calais through Perry, Robbinston, and Red Beach over to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, to visit my father’s sister. When I became a teenager, I lived in Massachusetts, and had my own car, I remember driving on Route 1 from Kittery to Calais with my mother to visit my aunt in St. Stephen. (My father had since passed on when I was only sixteen.) I have many memories of picnicking in Cherryfield with my family during many trips along Route 1 to visit my aunt in St. Stephen after I grew up and had a family. We now spend our summers in Ocean Park, between the towns of Saco and Scarborough. I travel Route 1 almost daily to shop, etc. Route 1 and Maine will always remain very dear to me.
Ocean Park, Maine
We have been spending summer vacations in Maine for forty-four years, the first ten on Lake Megunticook and the rest at Pleasant Beach in South Thomaston. We’ll return in July. Although I was born and raised in Delaware seventy-seven years ago, my soul is in the state of Maine. I know you will understand. The April 2012 article on Route 1 in Maine was great, but I must take issue with a statement by the author, when she stated on page 58 that the Penobscot Narrows Bridge is one of only three such bridges in the country. The small state of Delaware (second to Rhode Island) is only ninety miles long, but we have two cable-stayed bridges, one in New Castle County (top third of the state), carrying Delaware Route 1 over the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, and one in Sussex County (bottom third), carrying Delaware Route 1 over the Indian River Inlet out of the Atlantic Ocean.
—William G. Robelen
New Castle, Delaware
Editor’s Note: There are indeed many cable-stayed bridges in the United States. Our article should have stated that the Penobscot Narrows Bridge is one of three cable-stayed structures with a cradle system whose stays are carried from the bridge deck through the tower and back to the bridge deck as a continuous element.
I have thoroughly enjoyed Down East for many years, but I feel I must tell you that I think your April issue has been your best ever. I read this issue from cover to cover, enjoying each story and advertisement (I get so many ideas from them!), but the article on Route 1 was supreme. I put it in a class by itself. Who ever came up with that idea and the reporter who wrote the story should be congratulated and I would appreciate it if my heart felt-thanks were passed on to them.
Where in Maine did you misplace Damariscotta? I am sure that this email is not the first and won’t be the last, but on page 60 of the April 2012 issue there is a significant omission. Now it is possible to go from Nobleboro to Newcastle without passing through my hometown, but not if you stay on Route 1. So I think you owe us a make-up article in a future issue. So should the cover read eighty-two towns and twenty-two McDonald’s (we have one on Route 1B)?
I, too, have made this very interesting road trip. In the early fall of 2002, at age fifty-four, I rode my bicycle from Fort Kent to Kittery on Route 1. The original plan was to have Brenda Stinchfield, my significant other, drive me to Fort Kent and later pick me up in Kittery. On our drive to Fort Kent, Brenda was absolutely enthralled with the gentle rolling hills of The County with their many colors. Brenda grew up in Georgia and by 2002 had lived in Maine for more than thirty years but hadn’t seen Aroostook or far Down East.
Her ride to Fort Kent changed everything. Brenda now wanted to ride Route 1 with me. Not on her bicycle, but as support. At the time, Brenda was studying for her Business Administration degree and was reading constantly. Brenda would take the truck down the road, find a comfortable spot to pull over, and wait for me to come by, all the time studying.
My riding days ranged from just over forty miles (into a strong headwind) to one hundred miles (Houlton to Calais). We stayed on Route 1 except for a side trip in the truck to show Brenda the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse.
Route 1 is not always bicycle friendly. Some parts of the road have a wide breakdown lane; others have just the white line. I will always remember the extreme changes the road makes on its journey from Fort Kent to Kittery, and most especially Brenda’s joy in seeing the many new places.
I was very pleased and excited to be able to show Brenda new parts of my home state. We consider our Route 1 trip one of our most interesting adventures. Thank you for such a wonderful article and for the memories. Sadly, Brenda lost her fight with cancer last September and didn’t get to read your article. She, too, would have enjoyed it.
Where in Maine?
This shoe tree on the Calais Road in Hodgdon has provided a “rite of passage” to students of Hodgdon! I sure smiled as the close-up of the shoe tree brought to memory my own sons coming home to report that they had added to the shoe tree! I did not know Mr. Farrar was the originator of this “shoey” collection.
I live in Michigan, but I grew up about one mile from the shoe tree and my ninety-three- year-old mom still lives on the farm where I was raised. What’s more, Virgil Farrar’s wife is my mom’s cousin. So I had no trouble recognizing the shoe tree located in Hodgdon.