Throwback Thursday

For many former Black Bears, Old Town was just another living option besides campus or Orono proper. It offered little to no night life, take-out food, and the stench of the paper mill. More recently Old Town has seen a revitalization with additional businesses and restaurants being added along Main Street. 10 North Main, the biker bar from my days at UMaine, later became “The Dime”, a slightly improved version of the same dive bar. However, if you really want to see Old Town in its hayday you need to go back to the turn of the century when the lumber industry was king. For this Throwback Thursday we stand in the center of Main Street in Old Town looking to the North in the year 1900.
Folsom’s Drug Store occupied the corner of North Main and Center Streets roughly where “The Dime” stood and Kingman’s stands today. Folsom’s began business at that corner location in Old Town all the way back in 1876 when brothers Albion and Franklin partnered together on the venture. Ultimately their business prooved to be very successful as the store would eventually expand further north to almost cover a full city block in downtown as shown in this picture. The brothers also found success by starting a delivery network for medicines across Eastern and Northern Maine bringing in significant wealth for the small business. Electric street cars ran down Main Street in front of the business and went on to connect with the University, Orono, and Bangor. The drug store remained as a landmark of Old Town well into the middle part of the 1970’s when many of the woolen mills and shoe factories in town began to close and more commercial businesses shifted closer to the interstate highway exit on Stillwater Avenue.
The Folsom name has been synonymous with Old Town ever since with countless generations of Folsom’s running various businesses in the area and many going on to attend the University of Maine.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Maine Memory Network

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