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Friday morning in Dover-Foxcroft

06/04/2015
This old mill is still used as a home and garden store.

This old mill in Dover-Foxcroft is still used as a home and garden store.  

 

Dover-Foxcroft is a quintessential Maine town which might be the reason it was immortalized in a 1960’s comedy record.

Perched on the edge of the great forest, the town is split by a river, features a busy Main Street with a wonderful old movie theater, a full-service gas station and more than one pizza parlor. It has a population of about 4,100 people.

There was a "Beware of Dog" sign on this old mill. It looks like they still use it for cutting logs.

There was a “Beware of Dog” sign on this old mill. It looks like they still use it for cutting logs.

Dover-Foxcroft also boasts the remnants of its milling past.

One old mill is currently under reconstruction and will be used for housing.  Another is a busy home and garden retail store.  The third mill I stumbled across, an old woolen mill and dam, is part of a barely active historic district.

All three mills are very picturesque and make me wish I could sit down at riverside and paint the scene.

Nothing about the town made me want to laugh.

Still comedian Bruce Courtney McGorrill recorded his routine in front of the Dover-Foxcroft Junior Chamber of Commerce back in 1964. He turned the recording into an album called “Saturday Night in Dover-Foxcroft: A flavorsome collection of DownEast Stories.”

It’s hilarious.

The "Saturday Night in Dover-Foxcroft" was recorded in 1964,

The “Saturday Night in Dover-Foxcroft” was recorded in 1964,

My friend John back in Minnesota found the album on the Internet and sent me a copy earlier this year. John went to school in Maine and his family summered at a  “camp” near Boothbay Harbor. He’s spent enough time in Maine to understand its humor.

And McGorrill nails it.

I’ve never heard of McGorrill and I don’t know if he’s still around, but it would be easy to call him the Garrison Keillor of DownEast Maine. He has a keen eye for the quirky, a mellow and homey delivery; and is a master storyteller.

He jokes about lobster fishing, going off to Boston and potato farming. One bit, called “A Cow and A Car,” got big laughs in 1964 and would get laughs in 2014.

Maine changes very slowly – to both its credit and detriment. The fact that 50-year-old stories still ring funny and true only serves to illustrate its adversity to modern life.

But that’s what makes Maine such a charming place.

And why spending a Friday morning driving around Dover-Foxcroft makes me want to buy an old mill.

No joke.

An old Woolen Mill dam site in Dover-Foxcroft.

An old Woolen Mill dam site in Dover-Foxcroft.

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3 Comments
  1. Mark–I’ve been to that home and garden store, and a lady I used to date up there had friends who lived in another of the mills. Pretty cool for such a sleepy town.

  2. John Freed permalink

    Sadly Bruce died in 2006. Here is the link to his obit: http://obituaries.pressherald.com/obituaries/mainetoday-pressherald/obituary.aspx?n=bruce-c-mcgorrill&pid=17289054
    His stories really epitomize the Maine people and their dry humor. Ayuh!

  3. Tim Fischer permalink

    What a great post Nick… thanks for the fun read!

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