By Don Taylor
The Town Reports provide a snapshot looking into the past. I find the Town Clerk’s Report particularly interesting for 1920-1921. The number of deaths reported in 1918 and 1919 were higher than the births. I’m sure that was due to the Spanish Flu pandemic. Happily, the 1921 Report (covers February 16, 1920, through February 15, 1921) showed the shift back where births outnumbered deaths.
The terror of the pandemic had subsided, and the joy of new life was ushering in the Roaring 20s. Births in July and August 1920 included the following:
- July 2 To Arthur and Jennie Reed, a daughter, Eleanor.
- July 5 To Percy and Gertrude Williams, a daughter, Hazel.
- July 16 To Francis H. and Iolina Cloudman, a son, Francis H., Jr.
- August 11 To Leroy P. and Verba Harmon, a son, Norman Dennison.
- August 15 To Clifford and Dorris Leary, a daughter, Letitia Anzonette.
- August 17 To Horace and Minnie Frost, a son, Charles R.
- August 20 To Edwin and Irma Meserve, a son, Ralph Edwin.
- August 27 To Melville and Florence Darling, a son, Raymond E.
Oak Hill, Dunstan, and Black Point had both a Grammar and a Primary school. Other schools included Blue Point, Beech Ridge, Beech Hill, Libby, North Scarborough, Pine Point, Scottows’ Hill, and, of course, the Scarborough High school. Mr. Heald was the Superintendent of Schools.
The big issue of the time was the creation of a junior-senior high school system. There were three major projects planned for the year.
- A new grade school at Dunstan.
- The purchase of land at Oak Hill near the high school lot to eventually be used for a new high school building.
- The erection of a new high school building when the “unsettled economic conditions” pass, [hopefully within the year].
The high school had 59 students during the winter term, and the Beech Ridge School had 18.[i]
There was only one person, Charles P. Clancy, at the poor farm. “Off the farm,” The town provided aid to support Mrs. H. S. Rockwood, C. C. Turner, Mrs. Emily McDermit, and a sick tramp that was boarded by Harry Worster.
I found it interesting that there were ten constables in Scarborough in 1920 plus one Police Officer at Prout’s Neck. The Prout’s Neck police officer was a separate assessment item as well.
As the town grew, new roads were necessary. There were eight special road assessments in 1920. They were:
- Road special, Harmon’s Corner to Prout’s Neck,
- Road special, Collins’ Corner to Gorham line,
- Road special, Dover Street, at Pine Point,
- Road special, Greenwood Avenue, Morning and Vesper Streets,
- Road special, Higgins’ Beach streets,
- Road special, Spurwink Road, Black Point Road to Higgins’ Beach Road,
- Road special, Marsh Road,
- Road special, Wescott Hill,
The list of road specials makes me wonder where some places are. I recall hearing Wescott Hill was where Running Hill Road (in Scarborough) is today, but I wonder what they meant when they said, “Marsh Road.”
The Scarborough Town Report for 1921 and over 50 other reports are available through the Scarborough Historical Society website. http://scarboroughhistoricalsociety.org/library/annual-reports-town-of-scarborough/
[i] The Beech Ridge School is of particular interest currently as the Historical Society is working to restore the school. For more information about the project, please see our Go-Fund-Me page. https://www.gofundme.com/f/SHS-Restore-Beech-Ridge-School