|Our former residence on Sargent Street and the "Gully" behind as it looks today|
Growing up along the site of a long-gone canal (part of the larger Cumberland and Oxford Canal) in Westbrook led to a lot of play and exploration for the neighborhood kids. Back in the day, our name for the canal was the "Gully" which today looks a lot drier, more green and not as deep.
My sister, Paula Lowell, has many memories of the "Gully":
I spent my life in that gully! I played in it all the time including winter but the fondest memories are with the Tarzan swings. They were soooo much fun. We used to dig for those old medicine bottles. Every house on Sargent Street had a slew of them in their windows. Some of us kids used to collect frogs from the ponds. I used to put frog's eggs in buckets and bring them home. Mom must have loved that! Lastly, the gully was a great shortcut to walk to Canal School and I did that so many times.
So, how and when did the canal come to be and what were its uses? It wasn't long after the state of Maine became a state in 1820, that the State Legislature created a lottery to raise funds for the construction of the Cumberland and Oxford Canal.
|The Warren House in Westbrook |
with remnants of the canal in the foreground
The canal began at Sebago Lake near White’s Bridge, and followed the general course of the Presumpscot River through four towns ending up in what today is called Thompson Point in Portland. The Westbrook portion of the canal used to run alongside Sargent Street cutting over from Spring Street before it ran parallel with Glenwood Street near the present sight of Canal School.
|Source: Image taken from a copy at the Maine Historical Society|
Literacy rights are held by the Baker Library at Harvard University
A Guide to the Cumberland and Oxford Canal, a booklet by Ernest H. Knight
Article by Dr. Joel Eastman in the Sun Journal, May 14, 2003
Maine Memory Image of the Warren House