Chronology

GORHAM HISTORICAL SOCIETY
GORHAM, MAINE

A BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF HISTORICAL EVENTS IN THE TOWN OF GORHAM
1736-2007

 

1733         Narragansett #7, one of the seven townships granted by the General Court of Massachusetts to                            those who fought in the Narragansett War, sometimes called King Philip’s War.

   
1734    External lines of Town surveyed.
   
1735    Plan of thirty-acre lots surveyed and first roads located.
   
1736    First settlers, Captain John Phinney and son Edmund landed on southerly side of the Little River.
   
                First child born in Gorham, Mary Gorham Phinney.
   
                First trees felled by Phinneys to clear land for crops.
   
1737    John Phinney’s first crop:  corn, peas and watermelon.
   
1738    Hugh McLellan and Daniel Mosier came to Gorham.
   

1741    First meeting of Proprietors, November 24th.  At a later meeting, November 26, the Proprietors                         voted:  “that a meeting house be built for the worship of God, in said town, 36 feet long, 20 feet wide, and a 20-foot shed.”

             Proprietors also voted on November 26 that “William Pote, John Phinney and Daniel Mosier be a committee to    lay out a road through the woods from the end of Gorham Street to Saccarappa Mills.”

   
1743    First sawmill erected by John Gorham at Little River on Fort Hill Road.
   

February 16, Benjamin Crocker, first preacher, was hired for six months at L 3, 10s per week.

First oxen in Town.
November 11, General Court voted one hundred pounds for the erection of a fort in Gorhamtown.

   
1744    Proprietors held meeting at fort August 28.
   
1745    Eighteen families in town.
   

John Gorham’s sawmill on Little River burned by Indians.
   
Meeting house on Fort Hill burned.

   
1746    First Indian attack on settlers, five massacred, three captured.
   

Ten families in town.  Some had moved away because of threatened Indian attacks.

   
1750    Black tongue disease broke out in fort, twenty-five persons afflicted, four died.  Women called upon to defend the fort.  Eleven soldiers provided by General Court to assist in defense.

   

Jacob Hamblen first tavern keeper.
   
Gorham settlers wintered cattle and horses at Great Kezar meadow using Indian trails to reach the meadow.
  
Meeting of Proprietors at fort February 26.  Captain John Waite, Moses Pearson, esq. and William Cotton were chose as a committee to consider the building of a meetinghouse, where to located said house, and how big to build it.  At the same meeting it was voted to raise and assess on the several rights of land, L 66, 13s, 4d toward building a meetinghouse.  The meetinghouse was completed in 1764.
   
Edmund Phinney, son of John, instructed children in his kitchen.  During Indian troubles, instruction was given in fort.
   
First bridge across Presumpscot River, connecting Gorham and Windham, at Horse Beef Falls.
   

1763    Population of Town 432.  At this time no houses in Gorham had window glass.
   

William McLellan erected the first two-story house in Gorham.

   
1764    Town Incorporated, October 24, population 340, sixty to seventy families.  Narraganset #7 was  incorporated as        the Town of Gorham (Captain John Gorham, Plymouth Company Commander  during King Philip's War received payment with land known as Narragansett #7).  


1765    First Town Meeting, February 18.  Forty pounds voted for schools.
   
1768    December, John Green received an order on the Town Treasurer for three pounds for keeping school. It is probable that Edmund Phinney and Austin Alden provided some instruction prior to the record of payment to Mr. Green.
   
1769    Caleb Chase, first innkeeper.
   
1770    First physician, Dr. Stephen Swett.
   
1773    New Lights movement gained ascendancy as a result of dissatisfaction with settled ministry and other                 church matters.
   

Houses in Town constructed of logs chinked with moss and clay.
   
July 31, a severe hurricane swept through the northeastern part of Town destroying all in its path from Sebago Lake through Gorham, Windham, Falmouth and Cumberland.
   
The Town voted to:  “improve John Green as schoolmaster till the money tax is expended.”

   
1770    Land for old cemetery on South Street donated by Jacob Hamblen.  Uncle Billy’s tomb located in                             northwest corner.
   
1772    Population 588
   
1774    The old brick house, the McLellan homestead, erected on Fort Hill  Road.  This is the first brick house                 in Cumberland County.  Construction was started in 1769.
   
1775    Population 852
   

Steven Longfellow moved to Gorham from Portland.  He was the great-grandfather of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

   
1777    June first recorded meeting of Quakers in Gorham.  A meetinghouse was erected in 1805.  The Gorham             Quakers merged with those in Windham in 1849 and the Gorham meeting house was sold.
   
1780    Population 1146
   
1781    A Free Will Baptist Church Society organized.
   
1788    December 4, James McCorson designated minister of Free Will Baptist Church.
   
1789    Town divided into school districts and in each district an agent was chosen to see that school premises             were properly cared for, that a teacher was provided, had a good place to board and was paid according  to contract.  Heretofore this had been a responsibility of Selectmen.
   
1790    Population 2244
   
1797    Post Office established, Samuel Prentiss Postmaster
   

First Parish Meeting House erected.  

   
1800    Population 2503
   
1803    Gorham Academy incorporated
   
1804    The Methodist Society of Gorham, Buxton and Standish incorporated by Act of General Court of                            Massachusetts
   
1805    At Town Meeting it was voted to erect a building of stout timber and huge pasture boulders to serve                      as a pound for stray cattle.  This pound was located to the north and adjacent to present Phinney Park  on South Street.  
   

Town monument erected at northeast corner of College Avenue and School Street.  This monument has been moved several times and now is located at the junction of Church and School Streets at the northeast corner of the Congregational Church Chapel.

   
1806    Building erected to house Gorham Academy, fall semester of Academy opened September 9.                                  Reverent Reuben Nason Preceptor.  Thirty-three students enrolled.
   
1810    Benjamin Mosher built on land purchased by his father in 1771 a Federal Style house now occupied by                 his descendants at Mosher’s corner.
   

    Population 2632

   
1814    The former Dewitt Manor on lower Main Street was built by Colonel Tyng to replace a house that was                 burned in 1808.  The track of land was purchased by Captain Alexander Ross in the 1750’s.  Colonel Tyng married the daughter of Captain Ross.
   

The first public library in Gorham located in house then occupied by Nathaniel Gould on Main Street nearly opposite Cross Street

   
1815    First Town House erected on Fort Hill.  Town Meeting House built on Phinney Lot.

 1817    First town meeting held.

 
1820    Population 2800
   
1821    Free Meeting House, later Gorham Town House, now Art Center of the University of Southern Maine                 built on lot donated by Alexander McLellan.
   
1822    Bell in First Parish Meeting House tower cast in Canton, Massachusetts, by Joseph Revere, son of Paul                 Revere.  Inscription on bells reads Revere-Boston 1822
   
1825    July 4, friends of Dr. Folsom gathered to erect in one day a house to replace one recently burned.  This house          later owned by Reverend John Adams, later served as a private school, later owned by a                                Tolford, and still later owned by Abner Lowell and named Lowell Crest.

               First organ made in Maine manufactured in Gorham by Calvin Edwards.

 
1826    Brick school house built just south of cemetery on South Street in what is now Phinney Park and later                 served to house fire equipment.  Torn down when high school building erected across the street.
   
1827    Ellen Gould Harmon, a co-founded of the Seventh Day Adventist Society, born on Fort Hill Road,                         November 26.
   
1828    General James Irish Built what is known as the Harding House to the east of Water Street at the                             junction of Church Street.   

Levi Hall opens a school with 18 students in his shed.  It continued for 15 years.  The school built nearby in 1895 was named for him.

   
1829    Oxford and Cumberland Canal open. Discontinued in 1871.
   
1830    Population 2988
   
1830    Cumberland-Oxford Canal opens and the first canal boat to pass through it on June 1st is the “George                 Washington,” owned by William A. Rice of North Gorham.
   
1832    Post Office opens at White Rock but address is East Standish until 1860.
   
1835    William J. Woodbury purchased from Benjamin Phinney a piece of land upon which he proceeded to                    erect a palatial mansion.  This house was so distinctive and elaborate that it came to be known as                             Woodbury’s Folly.  This house was located on the elevation just to the east of what is now Barrow’s                     Greenhouse.
   
1836    First Centennial Celebration, June 10

 Elijah Kellogg graduated from Gorham Academy

   

1837    Gorham Female Seminary dedicated September 13.  In 1838 this Seminary was separated from the                         Gorham Academy.

   

1839    Baptist Meeting House erected at White Rock, dedicated June 1840.

   

Gorham Social and Circulating Library established.  The books of this Library were located at one time in the rear of what is now the Gorham Historical Society on School Street.  This Library was moved to the Gorham Female Seminary and later became the nucleus of the Normal School Library.

   

1840    Population 3002
   

The cattle pound authorized in Town Meeting in 1805 was discontinued and provision made for the disposal of stone used in construction.
   
1841    Free Baptist Meeting House erected at Little Falls.
   
1842    Free Baptist Society erected a meetinghouse in South Gorham.  This Society maintained service                            and a Sunday School as early as 1827.
   
1843    June 24 Trustees of Maine Mutual Fire Insurance Company voted to authorize the purchase of a lot of                 land from Simon McLellan and erect thereon a suitable office for the company.  The building was                         completed in 1845 at a cost of $50.  This building is the former Town Office, presently housing the Gorham Historical Society.
   
1843    First North Gorham School House (“little red schoolhouse”) is erected.
   

 

1846    Charter granted and work begun on York and Cumberland Railroad.  First Train reached Gorham                         February 5, 1851.  This railroad was later known as Portland and Rochester Railroad.  Colonel                                 Humphrey Cousins was first conductor.  In 1893 six passenger trains each way were in operation.
   
1850    Population 3086
   
1850    Maine Female Seminary established by Act of Legislature.
   
1856    Edwin H. Hall is born in Great Falls, later became a world-renowned scientist, discovering the                                 important Hall (Electrical) Effect.  He taught in the Harvard Physics Department 57 years.  He                                 purchased the bell and belfry at Levi Hall School, now UCC.  He spoke at the 1936 Gorham                                     Bicentennial.
   
1860    Population 3253
   

Post office in White Rock is now changed to White Rock Post Office.

   
1864    Town meeting March 4, pursuant to an Act of Legislature, a part of the Town of Scarborough was                         annexed to the Town of Gorham, 1,837 acres valued at $40,000.
   
1866    Baptist Meeting House erected at Little Falls to replace one burned at the same location in 1864.
   

Monument in memory of those who perished in the Civil War dedicated.  This monument, located in front of the old Town House on College Avenue, was presented to the Town by the Honorable Toppan Robie.

   
1868    The Town Clock, donated by Toppan Robie to “the inhabitants of our village vicinity” was installed in                 the steeple of the First Parish Church
   

The building now formerly known as the Old High School was erected on the corner of Preble Street and South Street.

 Gorham Savings Bank opened for business

   
1870    Population 3351
   

First train on Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad from Portland to Sebago Lake, September 12.  This railroad was known as the Mountain Division of the Maine Central Railroad.

   
1871    A Methodist Meeting House on North Street was erected to replace an earlier building.
   
1872    Great Falls Post office established December 30, and changed to North Gorham about two weeks later             – too many Great Falls Offices in U.S.
   
1873    A Free High School was established at White Rock. 
   
1876    A Free High School was maintained at West Gorham, transferred to the Village the following year and                 again returned to West Gorham.
   
1877    The institution known at different times as Gorham Academy, Gorham Male Academy, Gorham                             Seminary, Gorham Female Seminary and Maine Female Seminary closed after having practically no                     enrollment in the previous two years.
   
               Little red schoolhouse burned at North Gorham, arson rumored due to Prohibition feud.
   
1878    Gorham Normal School established and the Female Seminary buildings donated to the State.  The                         brick building was converted to a dormitory.
   
1879    School property valued at $13,530.70.  Expenditures for schools $5,342.35.  Number of pupils 981.                      Money raised by taxes for the support of schools $22,497.74
   
1880    A Free high School was established in Gorham Village and the first diplomas were granted in 1883.
   

The present Methodist Meeting House on School Street was erected to replace an earlier meetinghouse on College Avenue.

   
               Population 3233
   
1881    Gifts in support of a public library in Gorham were made by Dana Estes, born in Gorham, a Civil War                    Veteran, and publisher in Boston, Massachusetts
   
1882    Honorable Frederick Robie elected Governor of the State of Maine.  Re-elected in 1884.
   
1888    Frederick Robie schoolhouse built at Little Falls.
   
1898    North Gorham power station produces first electric power generated in Gorham.
   
1890    Population 2888
   
1894    Female Seminary building destroyed by fire.
   

School districts abolished.  A Superintending School Committee and Town Superintendent of Schools established.

   
1895    Levi Hall School built at North Gorham
   
1897    Electric cars from Westbrook to Gorham Village.  The occasion celebrated at Crystal Spring House on                 Main Street.  Free rides on cars.
   
1898    The Meeting House at West Gorham was erected by the efforts of the United Christian Endeavor                         Society.
   

Survey was made to determine limits of Gorham Village Corporation, which was chartered in 1900.  This Corporation facilitated the introduction of Sebago water and electricity to the Village.

   
1899    Electric cars from Westbrook to Little Falls known as Westbrook, Windham and Naples Railroad.
   
1900    Population 2541
   
1901    Sebago water and electricity extended to Gorham Village.
   
1902    Volunteer Fire Company organized.  William T. Libby, first Fire Chief
   
1903    Hugh McLellan’s “The History of Gorham, Maine” was published by his daughter Katharine B. Lewis.                  By popular demand the book was republished in 1980 and again in 1992.
   
1907    Baxter Memorial Library presented to Town by Honorable James Phinney Baxter as a memorial to his                 father.  Baxter Museum presented at the same time.  The museum building was at one time the                             residence of Dr. Cary, father of the noted singer Annie Louise Cary.
   
1910    Population 2822
   
1916    Fire destroys Narragansett Block in Gorham Village, a brick shell remaining.
   

Three days after Narragansett Block, on October 17th, fire destroys much of White Rock (Post Office and store, Martin residence, Railroad Depot, Farmers’ Union store, and a grist mill).

   
1917    White Rock Post Office closes, a probable result of the 1916 fire.
   
1920    Population 2870
   
1924    First Junior High School erected on site of Female Seminary opposite Old Academy building on School                 Street.
   
1930    Population 3035
   
1936    Bi-Centennial Celebration of settlement of Narragansett #7, now the Town of Gorham.
   
1937    Old Tannery on Main Street removed.
   

July 29, death of last Civil War Veteran in Gorham, Benjamin P. Hodgkins, 92, while celebrating his birthday.

   
1938    Dr. Walter E. Russell purchased the Rev. Thatcher House, built in the 18th century.
   
                Sampson House, given to the Town; original owner was James McLellan, house was built in 1803.
   
1939    Removal of the Lawyer Little-Lewis House, owned by Mrs. Orion Lambertson.  House built in 1805.
   

November 2,  Dedication of the new high school known as the Charles C. Shaw School.
   
November 29, brick telephone building, at west corner of Cross and Church Streets completed.
   

1940    April 9 at 2:00 p.m.  Gorham dial telephone system began.
   
                Population 3494
   
1941    December 7 Pearl Harbor Day
   
1942    Gasoline and tire rationing in effect
   
1943    Town meeting approved Sunday movies in Gorham
   

Gorham Health Council formed
   
North Gorham Post Office closes July 19th.

   
1945    May 8 VE Day (Victory in Europe).
   

August 14, VJ day (unconditional surrender of Japan).

   
1946    Sidney Branson, M.D. began his practice in Gorham; retired in 1982.
   
1947    October, holocaust in York and Cumberland counties when forest fires swept the areas.
   
1948    April 1 – groundbreaking for the subdivision known as the Bank Development.
   
1950    Population 4742
   

Central Fire Station moved out of firm barn on north side of Robie Gym, into old high school on South side of gym.  Cupola of old school removed.

   
              May 27 Removal of old Lewis-McLellan Home, built c. 1783.
   
1951    April 19, at suggestion of Paul Revere Memorial Association of Boston, Revere Bell at First Parish                         Church rung for seven minutes by the Rev. Harrison W. Dubbs and Saul Carson.
   
1952    February, the Great Snow Storm; turnpike closed; communities isolated for several days.
   
1953    Gift of $10,000 from ex-Governor Baxter for maintenance of library and museum.
   
1954    Hurricane Carol, August 31
   
                Hurricane Edna, September 11
   
1955    Newly organized Congregational Church begun in North Gorham.
   
1956    First full-time Superintendent of Schools, Dwight Webb.  Superintendency formerly shared with                             Westbrook
   

Construction of Cressey Memorial Chapel in Eastern Cemetery approved by Town; completed 1958.    June 5, dedication of Louis Woodward Hall at Gorham State Teachers College.  Mr. Woodward, teacher for 42 years.
   

1958    June 13, Gorham High School Alumni Dinner; Class of 1883 observed its 75th Anniversary.  Dr.                                 Horatio Card spoke about early days and recited O.W. Holmes’ poem, “The Last Leaf.”  In J.M. Davis’s history of School, class of 1883 was first in her roster of classes.
   
                Eldon Shute, first Town Manager
   
1959    April 11, Gorham Savings Bank dedicated new building at present location on Main Street.  Established                 in 1868; first housed in brick structure next to Narragansett Block on School Street; moved into                             Masonic building in 1904; added new wing at present location in 1985.
   

New High School on Morrill Avenue opened.

   
1960    Population 5767
   
                Last freight trains through Gorham Village; rails removed in 1961.
   
1961    Gorham Junior High on South Street, former high school, named the Charles C. Shaw School by vote                     of the Town.
   

Campus School on School Street, renamed the Charlotte A. Millett School by vote of the Town.
   
Files Nursing Home, now Gorham House, relocated from North Street to new building on New Portland Road.
   
Nathan Elden Warren house, built in early 1800’s, burns, taking the life of Alta Plummer, last White Rock Postmistress.
   

1962    November 5 new White Rock School opened.
   
1963    September 4 new Village Elementary School opened.  Donald Doyle was the first principal.
   
                November 22, President John F. Kennedy’s assassination stunned the Town; prayers offered.
   
1964    June 8, condemned by the Town, 60-foot chimney, remains of old lumber mill, on Ward’s Hill                                 Road, taken down.  Mill built in 1893 by twins Harland and Fred Waterhouse; chimney built in 1899  by six men in 11 days; 23,000 bricks, 27 barrels of lime, 6 barrels of cement used; mill at peak of  production in 1914; last used in 1917.
   
                Railroad bridge on South Street removed.
   
                October 23 Bicentennial Commemoration of Incorporation of Town.
   

October 26, new post office opened on Main Street; formerly housed in old Masonic building.  This building was torn down in  2002 for expansion of the Gorham Savings Bank.
   
First marked Police Cruiser
   
Stephen Wentworth first Police Chief

   
1965    Johnson House on east corner of Water and Main Streets, razed to make way for Casco Bank and                                                 Trust Co.; opened in 1966; became Casco Northern Bank in 1984; later became property of Gorham Savings Bank.
   

    Retirement of Earle B. Files after 30 years as Postmaster.
   
    Charles Turner and Donald Collelo first full time police officers.
   

1968    Formation of Gorham Rescue Squad.
   
                Beginning of Town Council-Manager form of government after more than 200 years of Town                                    Meetings and Selectmen.
   
                July 1, death of Edgar Carswell, pharmacist; town meeting moderator for many years.
   
1969    June 15, death of Percival P. Baxter; ex-governor and Town benefactor.
   
1970    Population 7839
   
1971    St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church on lower Main Street started construction; large addition in 1985.
   
1972    Death of Charlotte Millett; founder and leader of Gorham Camp Fire Girls.
   
                Police Department received first teletype machine
   
1973    North Gorham Library burns.  Lost most of books.

              One of few remaining covered bridges in the State, Babb's Bridge burned by arsonists.

 
1974    New fire station at West Gorham.
   
                New Municipal Center at 270 Main Street dedicated.
   
1975    Demolition of Central Fire Station, adjacent to and south of Robie Gym, South Street (formerly                             Gorham High School.

Edmund Hagen appointed Chief of Police.
   
“30 Birch Lane” housing for elderly opened.
   
The Rust Farm barn burned and the Town participated in a “barn raising” for the family

1976    New fire station at North Gorham constructed with a library annex.

New Babb’s Bridge dedicated
   
Fort Hill Park dedicated.
   
Demolition of old train depot; built on Railroad Avenue; moved to Mechanic Street when new station built, late 19th century.  (Housed G.E. Strout’s blacksmith shop; used for storage by Clark Lumber Co.  Torn down to make way for Shop “N Save Supermarket.)

   
1977    Brenda Caldwell sworn in as Town Clerk; first woman to hold this office.
   

Publication of Gorhamtown…A Pictorial History by Gorham Historical Society; in July autographing by descendants of original families at Baxter Memorial Library.

   
1978    Baxter House listed on National Register of Historic Places.
   

September 28, USM Centennial Convocation; keynote speaker Sr. Harold Wilson, former Prime Minister of Great Britain.
   
Death of Austin Alden, civic and community leader

Death of Carrol H. Wentworth, Treasurer of Gorham Savings Bank for almost 50 years.

   
1979    School Department moved to Municipal Center from Sampson House on South Street; all Town                             administrative offices now centrally located.
   

Traffic lights installed at intersection of Main Street and New Portland Road
   
January 5, Rodney S. Quinn installed as Secretary of State; served 27 years in Air Force and on Joint Chiefs of Staff; returned to Gorham in 1969; served on Gorham Town Council and as State Representative from Gorham.
   
October 17, collapse of Gambo Bridge; caused by 10-ton logging truck; repaired and rebuilt by August of 1980.
   
December, Academy Building and Corthell Hall listed in National Register of Historic Buildings.
   
First Christmas tree lighted at Municipal Center.

   
1980    Population 10101
   
                “Gorham Station” renovated and converted into restaurant, opened to the public.
   
1981    Narragansett School opened; dedicated on October 6; USM professor and state historian, Robert                         York, gave address.
   
                Death of Rev. Harrison W. Dubbs, pastor emeritus of First Parish Congregational Church
   
1982    New White Rock Fire Station completed; dedicated in 1983.
   

Transfer Station for solid waste disposal completed; located on Huston Road.
   
August, Jody Thomas, first policewoman to hold this position.
   
Constance Goldman became Superintendent of Schools; first woman to hold this position.

   
1983    Charlotte Millett School leveled to make space for senior housing.
   
1984    January 24, formation of “Alden Guild” by John Alden and associate John Slattery; specialty                                     handmade Windsor chair; John Alden, direct descendant of woodworker of same name on                                     Mayflower; purpose to preserve old skills; uses birch, maple, white ash and pine from own                                        woodlands; complete with use of old-fashioned milk paint, varnish, wax and sanding.
   

Spring, Ridgewood Senior Housing on School Street opened to residents
   
Mobile Station, at junction of Main Street and New Portland Road, replaced by Cumberland Farms.
   
December 22, death of Elwood Neal; owner of Neal Funeral Home for many years; civic leader.
   
November, death of Dr. Robert Love.  Practicing physician for 45 years until his retirement in 1972; death marked passing of era of house calls, black bag and payment in kind.
   
Removal of “Barney’s Shell” filling station at intersection of Narragansett and State Streets.
   
Traffic lights, South Gorham, at intersection of South Street (Route 114) and County Road (Route 22).

   
1985    January 14, Woodward House moved to Glenwood Street, stood on lot where new wing added to                             Gorham Savings Bank in same year.
   

April 15 Chronology of Great Falls, 1794-1934, published; compiled by Josephine Manchester School; “Great Falls” earlier name for North Gorham.
   
Spring, Burger King opened in part of former IGA building on Main Street
   
August, outdoor playing fields in back of high school under construction; to be called the Mason Recreation Area in honor of Helen Mason, who worked for the Town for many years as secretary to the Town Manager, Office Manager, Welfare Director and Deputy Treasurer.

   

October 10, Ben Franklin store opened; located in part of former IGA building
   
David Kurz appointed Chief of Police.

   
1986    Gorham’s South Street Historic District was created by the Federal Government.  (18 homes)
   

The Town celebrated its 250th Anniversary (May 24-May 31).  An ABC’s “Good Morning America” program was held at the top of Fort Hill.  There was a carnival-type atmosphere at the former Gorham racetrack.  There was a huge parade.  The class of 1936 at Gorham High School had an interesting float with a replica of the old Gorham High School (demolished in 1975).  There were graduates of 1936 riding on the float.
   
Edna Dickey’s book “Fifty Years of Gorham 1936-1986” was published
   
Professor Robert French displayed some of the artifacts unearthened in the Fort Hill area.  His paper, “The Fort Hill Site:  A Study in Frontier Evolution in Southern Maine” was printed.
   
March 1 Warren Gilman received the Jefferson Award for his dedication to local public service.
   
March 29, Maurice Whitten’s book “The Gunpowder Mills of Gorham, Maine” was published.  The Gorham Historical Society and the Gorham Park and Conservation Commission shared the cost of the first printing of 1000 copies of the book.
   
Bertha Willis wrote the book “The Way It Was in Gorham” for the 250th Anniversary.
   
May 27, Raymond Phinney and family donated the Band Stand in front of the Municipal Building on Main Street.

   
1987    July, the municipal playground was erected by citizens of Gorham on land adjoining the Municipal                         Center and Narragansett School.
   

Gorham Lions Club started the rehabilitation project of the Robie Gym.
   
The Fire Department and Rescue were combined into one department.  Robert Lefebvre became the first full-time Chief of the department.
   
Kevin Cox appointed first full-time Director or the newly formed Gorham Community Services, later to be the Gorham Recreation Department.

   
1988    The first paid full-time rescue personnel (Steve Rines, Kandy Lefebvre, Paul Conley and Robert                             Bernard) were added to the Gorham Rescue.
   
                September, the Village Sewer Project was successfully completed.
   
1989    “Gorham House” a 100 unit elderly housing facility on New Portland Road was completed and                                 opened.
   

The Towns of Gorham and Standish entered into a Mutual Aid Agreement and sharing of a fire station and personnel.

   
1990    Population 11,856.
   

Gorham Rams Girls Basketball team was this year’s Maine State, Class B, Girls Basketball Champion

  Edward Tolan appointed Chief of Police.

   

1991    August 19th, “Hurricane Bob” dumped over 8 inches of rainfall in less than 24 hours.       

            Numerous roads and bridges were damaged.

   
1992    The Town’s area is 51.5 square miles.  There are 138.5 miles of streets.  There are five elementary                         schools, one secondary school and 2,151 students.
   
                Wayne “Pooch” Drown first DARE Officer assigned to the High School
   
1993    January, Mrs. Helen Dubbs died at 101 years of age.  She was the widow of Rev. Harrison                                  Dubbs, former pastor of the First Parish Congregational Church.
   
1994    July 10th, groundbreaking was started for addition to Gorham High School.
   
1995    Fall completion of the new high school renovation.  A dedication ceremony was held December                                 10th at the Gorham Performing Arts Center (new auditorium at Gorham High School).
   

 Ronald Shepard appointed Police Chief.  First Chief to work up through the ranks of the Gorham Police Department.

   
1997    June 21st, the North Gorham Public Library celebrated its 100th Anniversary.
   
                December 29th the home of Alton Brackett had a fire.  Mr. Brackett died in that fire.
   
1998    200th Anniversary of the founding of the First Parish Congregational Church
   

30th Anniversary of the Gorham Historical Society.
   
 The Great Ice Storm of 1998 started on January 5th with freezing rain falling for 50 hours.  The freezing rain made a thick coating of ice, up to three inches in places, broke limbs, trees, and power lines throughout the Town and much of Maine.  Many roads were closed for varying lengths of time.  St. Anne’s Catholic Church was opened for public shelter for almost two weeks.  Utility crews from several states were in town for days helping to restore power and communications.
   
 On August 24th, a Class 6 thunderstorm hit Gorham in the afternoon with torrential rains and winds gusting to over 70 miles per hour.  Estimated damage to the Town was about $1,000,000.  The USM Campus had over $100,000 damage.  Fortunately, no one was injured.
   
New Post Office built on Mechanic Street
   

1999    Gorham Savings Bank donated 89+ acres of land off Gray Road to the Town of Gorham.
   
2000    Population 14,141
   
2002    The Mountain Division Trail was opened in Gorham.

               Baxter Memorial Library expanded as a result of citizens of Gorham campaign.

2003   New Gorham Middle School opened on Weeks Road
   
2004    The barn of the historic Mosher Farm burned to the ground.  The house was saved.
   
2005    Shaw Park, 12 acres on the Presumpscot River between Gambo Bridge and the train tressel                                     donated to the Town by Shaw Brothers.
   
2006    The Shaw Junior High School was renovated into the Gorham Municipal Center.  Town and                               School administrators moved into the renovated building, thus reuniting all town                                                   administration in one building again.  The old Municipal Center on Main Street was renovated as the Gorham Public Safety building housing both the Police Department and the Fire Department.
   
                 Gorham Middle School on Weeks Road opened
   
2006    Auditorium at the new Gorham Middle School dedicated as the Bailey-Wilcox Auditorium
   

For the third consecutive year the Gorham High School Girls Soccer team won the State Championship; two years in Class B and this past year in Class A

Gorham made the Guiness Book of World Records as the most people wearing Groucho Marx glasses in the same place at the same time (1463).
   

2007    Groundbreaking for the by-pass between Route 114 and Route 25.   

2008    100th Anniversary of Baxter Memorial Library celebrated.

  2729 students enrolled in Gorham schools
2009    Bernard P. Rines Bypass officially opened and named.

2010    Groundbreaking for the new elementary school to replace White Rock School

               Population of Town - 16,381

              Tornado swept through Town leaving a path of destruction.

2011    Great Falls School opened.

               275th Founder's Festival was formed.

2012    An arsonist swept through Gorham torching 6 structures in early 2012.

              Founder's Monument moved from the corner of Church and School Streets to the area in front of the Municipal
              Center and beside the Baxter Library.
 
This Chronology edited and updated by Brenda Caldwell for the Gorham Historical Society September, 2012