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Author: jon

Country Club Spring 2022 Updates

As spring arrives, we look forward to a great season at the Paris Hill Country Club. The course has survived the winter and Chris Johnson will have it in pristine condition for all to enjoy. Along with golf we will again have live entertainment, food and drinks on the beautiful deck with a gorgeous view of the course.  The Full Pour Bar & Grill will be serving again this year. The club will be hosting various tournaments, special nights for entertainment, and of course the Paris Hill Music Festival.  There is plenty of fun for both golfers and non-golfers alike and we continue to look for more ways to bring everyone together and support the club. We are working to increase membership from the current 180 members to 230 over the next few years. The cost of an individual membership is $425. Check our website for other membership options and updated tournament schedule.

Paris Hill is one of the oldest golf courses in Maine, established in 1899 and the clubhouse purchased in 1912 with the first year of operation at the current location in 1913. The Country Club is a true gem for Paris Hill residents and surrounding communities. Greens fees provide revenue for the club and give golfers an opportunity to play at our picturesque and challenging course. The club is also available for private functions both large and small. Board members are enthusiastic and work hard for the benefit of the club and we continue to look for ways to increase revenue to sustain a high quality golf course and café. Chris keeps the course in great condition. Nancy Cushman has been a tremendous help to the board.

I appreciate the opportunity to serve as president of the board. My fellow board members are a tremendous resource. We have a great group and we are looking forward to a fun season.  My husband, Terry Downes, and I bought our home on Tremont Street nearly seven years ago. While I still teach law part-time, which prevents us from being there as much as we’d like, we realized from the beginning that it is a wonderful place, friendly neighbors and a real sense of community. The incredible bonus is a beautiful golf course we can stroll to. There is so much going on and we enjoy it year round. You’ll see me walking the loop and playing golf often.  Let’s have a fun, safe summer.   

(Provided By Anne Downes)

Upcoming Events

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Friends of First Baptist Church of Paris Spring 2022 Updates

In August 2020 Friends of First Baptist Church of Paris, Maine took ownership of the First Baptist Church building and the surrounding Common. It was an historic conveyance of property. Our mission is to preserve the beautiful church and green as community spaces protected from sale or development. We have a preservation easement and restrictive covenants that will help us protect and preserve this remarkable property in the heart of Paris Hill.

We invite you to support us in our endeavor. As stewards of these historic spaces, we have been working hard to keep the church, dating from 1838, in fine condition. But, we must raise every dollar for the annual maintenance, operations and upkeep of the building and grounds. In the near future this will include, for example, some challenging work on the steeple, which holds the bell cast in 1821 by Paul Revere’s son, Joseph Warren Revere.

Throughout the year there are wonderful community events that we organize or support, such as Founders Day (organized by the Hamlin Memorial Library) and the Hannibal Hamlin Birthday Celebration (sponsored by us, with significant support from local businesses.) In addition, there may be other events, such as concerts on the Common or at the church. These events help us celebrate the history of Paris Hill and this neighborhood we call home.

(Provided by Karen Kothe)

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Hamlin Memorial Library and Museum Spring 2022 Update

The Hamlin Memorial Library is located in historic Oxford County Jail. The jail was constructed in 1822 (this year is its 200 anniversary!), and has been a library and museum since 1902. We are indeed a historic building and have been able to maintain the building which is in good condition.

The purpose of our organization is to provide free use of library materials to residents of Paris Hill and the rest of the town of Paris, as well as to provide a local history collection in our museum both for local perusal and research as well as attracting visitors from everywhere.

We receive a small annual appropriation from the town of Paris, but the majority of our funds are raised by the organization. The vast majority of fundraising comes from our Founder’s Day event in July. We do not charge dues of any kind to be a member of the library.

(Provided by Jenn Lewis, Librarian)

Book Club
Started in 2017, the Hamlin Library Book Club has grown from just a couple of active members to a group of about 10 regular readers.  We welcome summer readers every year to join us.  We read a book a month, so for the past five years we have read and discussed about 60 books.  For May we are reading Finding Freedom by Erin French, the owner of The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine.  We select our own books as a group and get guidance from Librarian Jenn Lewis who secures copies on interlibrary loan.  Contact the Library for how to join us.  

(Provided by Janet Brogan)

The Hamlin Museum is prepping up for summer visitors. We have been in the process of restoring our oil paintings and portraits — currently, the 1901 painting by Frederick Dana Marsh, Lady with Peacock, is at the conservatory and expected back in several months. Our current rotating exhibit is an original copy of the March 12, 1770 issue of the Boston Gazette, one of the few newspapers that depicted the events of the Boston Massacre in detail. Midsummer, the exhibit will be changing over to feature the graves of the Hillside Cemetery on Paris Hill. 

(Provided by Brandan Roberts)

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MSAD 17 Budget Community Forum

Please note that MSAD 17 will be holding their 2022 School Budget Community Forums at the following times and places:

Wednesday April 13th 7:00pm Paris Elementary School

Thursday April 14th 7:00pm Oxford Elementary School

These are the only two community forums we will be holding.

Please post this in a place where your community members are best able to access this information.If you have any questions regarding this, please let me know.

Water Main Break

Please be aware there has been a water main break near the country club. The leak has been fixed but your water may have been out or brown now that the issue is resolved. If issues persist please contact the Paris Utility District.

Paris Hill Road Update

Conducted as phone interview with Dawn Noyes, Town Manager.

Now that Paris Hill Road is completed and looking good, residents have some questions about the new road and about the other roads in our community.Have you considered how to mitigate the increase in speed over the new road? Neighbors are already noticing a higher volume of faster traffic. (Note the article in the Sun Journal on September 27 citing Select Board members witnessing speeding on “newly paved” Paris Hill Road.)

Have you considered how to mitigate the increase in speed over the new road? Neighbors are already noticing a higher volume of faster traffic. (Note the article in the Sun Journal on September 27 citing Select Board members witnessing speeding on “newly paved” Paris Hill Road.)

WE have discussed the speed issue and will be placing a digital sign soon to capture data about the number of cars, the time of day and the speed. We have increased officer presence on Paris Hill Road. We are also contacting the state to review the speed limits on both Paris Hill Road and Ryerson Hill Road. There are no speed signs on Ryerson, and we will be fixing that as soon as we can.

Homeowners are responsible for mowing the newly seeded areas next to the road, correct?

That is correct. We will mow the right of way once a year. However, keeping the new grass similar to resident property grass is up to the homeowner.

Will the “Rip Rap” ditches be cleaned of debris?

Debris will be clears as needed when it impacts the drainage of the runoff.

Obviously we are still very concerned about at the other roads in the village proper: Hannibal Hamlin Drive, Tremont St, and Lincoln St. All are in very rough shape with cracks and potholes. As farm and construction vehicles use these roads daily, the noise can be quite loud when they bounce empty trailers down the roads. It is a matter of speed in most cases, though those of us on Lincoln wonder at the frequency of these vehicles as well.

The Road Budget is a fluid document depending on the conditions of road and the amount of traffic. We take into account how the town maintenance vehicles are impacted by these conditions especially the snowplow blades. We review conditions all year and try to address what we can given the funds we have. For example, Christian Ridge is in dire need of work in the near future.

Hannibal Hamlin Drive is becoming critical as the village hosts more events that showcase the village to
help fund the upkeep of our historical buildings on the Common. These events are also targeted to provide family entertainment for the whole area. In addition the lingering sand from last winter is a hazard for walkers and bikers.

Tremont Street is also very bad. As houses and land are sold, construction is almost constant in the village, and Tremont is
getting hit pretty hard. Our Post Office is on this street, so local traffic (cars, bikes and walkers) all use Tremont daily.

I will have Rob Prue and Jamie take a closer look at these three roads (Hannibal Hamlin Drive, Tremont and Lincoln streets) and see if we can get some work scheduled and done to improve conditions. It might be a good idea for the town to ask farm and construction vehicles to slow down by contacting them directly. Can’t hurt to try.

The “back side” of Paris HIll Road continues to deteriorate as the second top coat was never put down after the initial paving several years ago. You said that you would check on how to best fix this problem, and said letting it go is not a good plan.

2022 road plans are to finish the top coat on the back side of Paris Hill Road, King Hill Road and Streaked Mountain Road. Again it depends on funding and conditions on all roads within the town of South Paris.

We know we aren’t the only area in South Paris needing road work, and we do appreciate your consideration of our needs. As we continue to grow in population, a decent road system is important. This little village is often cited in talking up Oxford County, and the homeowners on Paris Hill work hard to make these historic public buildings and houses reflect that.

The map we followed to the Tomb

The Search for the Chandler Tomb

Calling all ghosts, ghouls and goblins in search of the mysterious legend known as the “Chandler Tomb”.

Rosemary Losso and I set out on a beautiful October morning intent on locating the infamous “Chandler Tomb” that up until today was just a legend I had heard about while growing up on the Hill. Donning our orange caps, we threw caution to the wind and headed past the Academy to what I remembered as Granny Hill Road. Well, much to my surprise Granny Hill Road had become a thicket of briars, blow downs and an over growth of thick brush. Disappointingly, my childhood path had disappeared and we were forced to turn around and head down the newly paved Paris Hill Road to the Mink Farm Road.

Armed with scant information and a rudimentary map found in my “Paris Cemeteries 1793-2004” book, we headed down the Mink Farm Rd. Growing up, the Mink Farm Rd was a desolate narrow dirt road that led to Granny Pond and my best friend Camelia’s family mink farm. I was surprised to find it a paved road flanked with modest homes and no sign of the mink farm. However, Granny Pond was just where I remembered it and the memories of catching giant frogs and skipping rocks came rushing back. As we shuffled through the beautiful fall leaves on the road, we heard acorns hitting the metal roofs and watched the busy chipmunks prepare to fill their larders for winter.

At the intersection of Mink Farm Rd and Granny Hill Rd we paused, and since I remembered no siting of a tomb near the pond we took a left and headed down the dirt road. Little did we realize this dirt road was the original ‘Old County Road’ to Paris Hill mentioned on our sketchy map. We came to what appeared to be a dead end and a “No Trespassing” sign. With no remnants of a tomb in sight we turned around, a bit disappointed, and headed back to the Mink Farm Rd. As luck would have it we came across an elderly woman mowing her lawn. We exchanged pleasantries and asked her if she knew where the tomb was located. She knew exactly where the tomb was located and sent us back from whence we had just come. She said to ignore the ‘No Trespassing’ sign and head further down the dirt road and the tomb would be blatantly obvious on the right hand side of the road. As the attached photos prove we did indeed find the “Chandler Tomb…right where the rudimentary map had shown had we realized the ‘Old County Rd’ was a dirt road and not what is considered Paris Hill Rd today.

Dr and Mrs. Benjamin Chandler are indeed entombed on the woodsy knoll over looking what used to be an apple orchard and a beautiful view of the White Mountains. The engraved marble slab remains as do the granite pillars holding it up. The engraving is still legible however the lichen has taken up considerable residence over the centuries. The iron gate has been replaced, the granite walls are intact and the dead elm is now just a mere hollowed out stump. The tomb is a fitting memorial to yet another courageous and generous Paris Hill resident with close ties to the First Baptist Church of Paris. Proceeds from his orchard were given to the Church to benefit the Sunday School.

Dr. Benjamin Chandler was born in Duxbury, MA in 1782…the son of Perez and Rhoda Chandler. Dr Chandler moved to Paris from Hebron in 1811 and continued his medical practice until he died in April of 1827. He wasappointed Assistant Surgeon in Col. Ryerson’s regiment during the war of 1812. He served as Representativeof the Legislature in Boston until Maine was granted statehood in 1820. He then was appointed Judge of Probate on June 6, 1820 and held that office until 1827. He was married twice but left no children. He was a deacon of the First Baptist Church of Paris and a community subscriber of the Revere bell that hangs in the First Baptist Church by donating $10.00 towards its purchase. He was described as a “moral, upright man, amiable in his dispostion, unobtrusive in his manners, respected and beloved as a physician, and honored as an able, intelligent and useful citizen by all his contemporaries.” He died at age 45 in 1827. His remains are entombed beside the old road to South Paris.

I encourage you to follow our footsteps down the ‘Old County Road’ and pay tribute to Dr. Benjamin Chandler and to become a little more immersed in the history of the town we call home.

And stay tuned for more strange and wonderful stories “On the HIll”.

(Provided by Linda Richardson)