Did you know the Frog and Turtle use to be the police station?This is from an e-mail to me from Donna Conley- President Westbrook Historical Society. From my understanding she knows about as much about Westbrook as my Mother does of Sanford. This was the e-mail: (length edited)- A WESTBROOK LANDMARK - The building on the corner of Main and Bridge Street that most of us know as the 'Vallee Block', began its life in 1849 when John Warren, a prominent lumberman, built a large three and ½ story building there. It was called the Warren Block. Various stores occupied the lower level of the block... Charles B. Woodman moved his drug store across Main Street and into the corner space of the Warren Block soon after its completion... ... From 1891 to 1905 the Westbrook Police Department operated out of this building before moving to Carpenter Street. ... Today the block looks very different from the 3 ½ storey original building. On February 13, 1942 a fire broke out in a two story building on Bridge Street attached to the Carr Block. The fire originated in an oil stove used to heat the beer parlor of Ovila J. Boissonneau. ... In 2007-2008 the block was extensively renovated and present tenants include: The Frog & Turtle Restaurant, Aquatic Concept's, Studio 59 Pilate Fitness Inc, Fajita Grill Mexican Restaurant and Full Court Press. Plans are now underway for a rededication of Rudy Vallee Square to be held on Saturday July 25, 2009, the weekend before Rudy's 108th birthday. Watch for further information and join us for a Rudy Vallee weekend! If you'd like to help with the planning committee, call Donna Conley @ 854-2464----- Original Message ----- FRENCHTOWN will be reborn!
John, thanks for this. I've been wondering about the history of that building. Now, what I'd really like to know is what the future holds for it ... currently it is quite the sore thumb or Riverbank Park, and I'd enjoy seeing it become something useful, with curb appeal. Are there some regulations against refurbishing it, or is there no money available? Can you shed any light on this (or any other city employees or officials reading [thanks Linda!])?
Al and I always thought the same thing, maybe a ice cream and snack shop and/or kayak rental shack :) We've discussed the possibilities for years.
Lynn That sounds like a business and a good idea. I'm not sure the council will like that. Perhaps HUD housing would be a better use :)
LizI can't speak definitively about the future of the building, but I do recall reading an article from, I believe, 2002 about its impending destruction. A concerned citizen intervened, though, and the building was spared. If no one posts a more definitive answer by Saturday afternoon, I'll reread the article I based this post upon and fill in the details.
lets demolish it, and expand the park.
City Councilor Drew Gattine (D-Ward 2) just checked in with an e-mail in which he recalls there being no response to a bid to remove or utilize the building a couple years ago. He went on to write that he "thought it was slated for demolition."
As my wife mentioned, a city sponsored river front water craft rental place would be wonderful for the city! I personally envisioned an ice skating rink during the winter months! A river front building with such history slated for demolition by any city councilor shows the short sightedness of our elected officials!Allen Moore Skybox Bar & Grill
This building has zero utilities. The cost to renovate was more than new construction. I am one of those short sighted elected officials that voted to have this building demolished before a fire or other "accident" occurs and the City becomes responsible. It has been more than 3 years since the decision to demo was made. In gov't time we are right on schedule.
Your right if there are no utilities it's not worth it and it is a safety issue at this point. It's just such a great location with so much possibilities it would be nice to see it restored. Not every idea is a good idea!
Expand the park.
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