This ‘N That

17 years ago

Did you like the questions in our last article? It’s fun to think about where businesses were located “back in the day,” isn’t it? Strolling down the Main Street of years past brings back many memories for those of us who grew up here. Hopefully, it gives a flavor of Presque Isle’s history to people who are not from here, as well.     It’s important, though, to remember that old saying, “That was then, this is now.”
And the “now” is becoming more and more exciting. Great strides are being made to re-energize our downtown. Our efforts are becoming more and more noticeable all the time, with more great things to come. (Hint: Keep an eye on the wall in front of Key Bank on Main Street).
This was really brought home to the Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee (PIDRC) on Aug. 6. That’s when we met with the Presque Isle City Council to talk about working together more closely in the future.
The City of Presque Isle has offered moral, physical, and financial support for our efforts since we began in 2006.
According to City Manager Tom Stevens, “It’s exciting that the City and the Downtown Revitalization Committee are committed to working closely together for the benefit for the entire community. The downtown committee is a hard working committee that has met several of its initial goals and has brought a renewed attention and vitality to our downtown. The results are obvious, with an improved appearance on Main Street and new stores and businesses locating in the downtown. This is quite remarkable for a committee with a relatively short existence, especially where the committee is comprised of volunteers.”
But, at the Aug. 6 meeting, the relationship between the city government, the City Council, and the PIDRC became even stronger. We brainstormed ideas of what we would like to see happen for our downtown. We talked about concerns regarding Main Street and possible problems with downtown development.
We also talked about how we could work together more closely to deal with those concerns. The City Council eagerly, and as a group, suggested that we all meet again for a longer time. There we could set up goals and make a plan that could be used for both current and future revitalization efforts. This promises to be a strong partnership that will help Presque Isle for a long time.
In addition to support from the city, the PIDRC has gotten offers of support from local businesses. Many groups and individuals have stepped forward, as well, offering to help in any way they can.
With partnerships such as these, how can Presque Isle lose? They will strengthen our economy and make Presque Isle a place where citizens want to stay and newcomers want to settle.
Our thanks to the Presque Isle City Government, the Presque Isle City Council, local businesses and organizations, and volunteers. It’s because of you that the Star City is beginning to shine more brightly.
Speaking of shining more brightly, the new holiday lights are here! We’re aiming to have them in place in November. The lights have been a major focus of the PIDRC. But keep in mind that we’re also working hard to do other things. We are working to fill empty business fronts downtown, provide more stores and shopping opportunities for you, and create more jobs. Some of this you can see already!
Didn’t we tell you great things are happening?
Again, we ask you to support our local businesses. Let’s help them stay!
Did you get the answers to the questions from our last article? Here they are, just like we promised:
1) Zayre’s was located where Burrelle’s and Dyer Real Estate are now. Woolworth’s (Country Collectibles) was to the right of what is currently Burrelle’s.
2) MFX is in the oldest building, built in 1887.
3) The Braden Theater was named after John R. Braden. It opened in 1950.
4) ShyAnn’s is now located in the Fred P. Stevens building.
5) The Silver Basket is next to Dwight’s Barber Shop.
6) Governor’s is in a building that belonged to a doctor and then a man who is now a retired (semi-retired?) judge (Judge David Griffiths). It didn’t originally belong to them, however. It was first built by Charles Phair back at the turn of the century.
7) The Rite Aide building is now where the old Sears store used to be.
8) J.J. Newberry’s was located at 435 Main St. Gary’s Home Appliances is now in that location.
9) There are nine old-fashioned street lamps on Main Street. Their globes have just been replaced by the city.
10) Stew’s Downtown Sight and Sound is located where the first Music Shop on Main Street used to be. Dana’s Pharmacy was the drug store, and Thompson’s Pharmacy was on the other side of The Music Shop.
Now, how about another question about downtown?
What business is located where the A & P grocery store used to be?
Please send us any questions about the Main Street of years ago that you might like to challenge our readers with. Just send them to us at
We welcome your thoughts and opinions. It’s your city. We need your input in order to make it better. You can e-mail us at or write us at: The Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee, 411 Main St., Presque Isle, Maine 04769.
For more information about the PIDRC, e-mail us at or call Sandy Gauvin (764-0876), Cathy Beaulieu at Wilder’s Jewelry Store (764-0309), or Patty LeBlanc (769-7731), or you can contact us at the address listed above.
We meet at the Presque Isle Area Chamber of Commerce on the Houlton Road at 7:30 a.m. on the first and third Thursdays of each month. Please join in our efforts to help our wonderful city.
The Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee is an ad hoc committee of the Presque Isle City Council