Chapter 4 – Durham (1920- 1950)

Squirrel Tree - Heather

Squirrel Tree - Heather

The morning dawned clear and cool. The squirrels met in there usual place in the maple tree after the students had gone into the school.

“Well we are almost finished with the history of this town. We are already up to the 1920s.”

“Did anything special happen in Durham ?” asked Sammy.

“It was a time of changes,” answered Freddy. “The car was becoming more common place and that allowed people to leave the town easier. More people worked outside of Durham in these years following World War II. In the following years, the population of Durham dropped.

“In the following years the general stores would be dying out. The post offices were replaced by Rural Free Delivery (R.F.D.) in 1921. The blacksmith business lasted into the 1930s. The Strout Store at South West Bend was used as a grain and livestock store until 1949. Brownie’s opened in the ‘Bend’ to sell supplies and gasoline. In the 1930s electricity was used in houses and roads were improved so cars could travel easier.”


Lobster Boat - Sandra

Lobster Boat - Sandra

“What was it like to cross the river if they were using cars?” asked Mary.

“There were bridges now. But in 1936 there was a flood that destroyed the bridge. Then they used a lobster boat to cross the river until a new bridge was built. This wasn’t the only natural disaster to happen during these years. From 1947-1949 there were forest fires in the town. That led to the Durham Fire Department being founded in 1950.”

“What were the schools like? Did they have a school here yet?” asked Sammy.

“In 1920 there were 9 one-teacher schools and 2 two-teacher schools. By 1950 there were 5 schools. They were still one room schools because the town liked that system. The community was closer to the schools and community members could help out.”

“What happened here during World War II?” asked Ben.

“Well a lot of the men were gone so the women had to work at places like Bath Iron Works. School children and other residents did drives to gather important materials like paper and scrap iron. They also volunteered to watch the skies for enemy planes.”

Suddenly a strange sound was heard from the building.

“Oh-oh, fire drill'” yelled Elizabeth and ran to higher branches. The others followed her.

“I guess this would be a good time for a break,” said Freddy.