Thomaston - Yesterday And Today



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Circa 1870

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2011
The Thomaston Academy

Thomaston Academy, built in 1847, served as the town's high school for many years. Eventually, two wings were added as more space was needed.  Among the classes taught in the early years were navigation,  history, classical music, math, literature, writing and language skills.
The building now houses the Thomaston Public Library and classrooms for courses in higher education.
 


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Circa 1870

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2011
 Ranlett-Gould Residence, Main Street, north side

This interesting house was built in 1849 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its two parlors still have the original wallpaper from France that was put up in 1890. Great care has been taken to keep the paper from fading and it is in excellent condition. The paper has panels of fanciful scenes depicting ancient gardens, castles and exotic flowers and water falls. A crew was brought over from France for the express purpose of ensuring that the paper was hugh correctly.


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Circa 1870

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2011
Knox Street, looking north from Elliot Street

Early photographs of Thomaston neighborhoods show many fences along the street facing sides of the property lines. These fences protected lawns and gardens from the cows and sheep which grazed on the common grounds in town that were not fenced in. Occasionally a cow or other animal would wonder off and be found someplace in town after a little adventure on its own. Some property owners have recently replaced the fences for historic accuracy. Aside from the fact that the roadways are now paved and the trees have grown full, the streets look remarkably the same as they had appeared more than one hundred years ago.


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Circa 1855

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2011
Robert Walsh Residence, Knox Street

Robert Walsh immigrated to Thomaston from Ireland. He came here as a school teacher. After pursuing that profession for several years it became obvious to him that the people who owned the larger houses in town were either sea captains or ship builders. So he changed professions and began building ships. He became prosperous and had James Overlock build this fine house for him. It included a solarium with a curved glass wall facing south. This house had the same wallpaper as the Ranlett-Gould house, installed at the same time but it looks quite different because the panels were installed in a different order. It presently has a copy of the original wallpaper as the original was removed and given to the Smithsonian Institution for their collection of rare imported wall coverings.  


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Circa 1870

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2011
O'Brien Block - Corner of Main and Wadsworth Streets

The tall brick building at the corner was at one time the Pierson Pants Factory that produced a line of ready made trousers for men. For many years it has  served at the "Prison Store" where articles created by the population of the  Maine State Prison are sold. It is a popular spot for  tourists who purchase the well made wooden objects and other articles made by the inmates.


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Circa 1857

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2011
Business District, Main Street, north side

Main Street would look remarkably familiar to a person who lived here more than one hundred years ago and was able to time travel to this century. The original wooden sidewalk has been replaced and we now have electricity and their power lines overhead but, aside from that, the buildings have changed little on their exteriors from when they were built. 


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Circa 1828

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2011
Sen. John Ruggles Residence, Main Street top of "Crick Hill"

This lovely house has very large rooms and most of its original woodwork still in place. In recent years the second floor of the barn area has been converted into a two suite living area, each with its own  small kitchen, living room, bed chamber and bath.


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Circa 1820

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2011
Capt. W. J. Tobey Residence, Main Street

This house has a unique see-through fireplace as well as a mantle that  looks like black marble but is, in fact, reverse painting on glass. Black marble from a local quarry was used in many of the more important houses in town until the quarry was played out. But the desire to have a black marble mantle did not diminish and reverse painting became the common method of reproducing the desired look when the marble was either no longer available or was too expensive for the home builder to purchase.


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Circa 1870

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2011
E. Robinson Residence, an Overlock built house, Knox Street

Overlock was a local builder who was very prolific and produced many of the fine homes in Thomaston. His "signature" design almost always included some variety of the curved archways displayed over the side porches of the houses he constructed.
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Web site designed by Catnip Graphics. Please send comments to katsmeow@roadrunner.com Last update: June 2011