Growing up in Stonington

My Stonington started July 29, 1926, but I don’t remember much about it until after I went to school in the fall of 1930.   The school was a little ways beyond the top of Russ’s Hill.  Classes went from first grade to twelfth grade (no kindergarden then).  The school first opened in 1905; before that the school was in the present town hall.  John Dunton was the Principal and his wife Dorothy was my first grade teacher.  I remember a succession of teachers, and they were all good but a few will always stand out.  Lena Morey was one of those, and a wonderful person.  She taught the high school “commercial course,” and she was greatly respected by every student whether they took that course or not.  Her brother Carl Morey kept his car in a building across the street from the school. Carl only had one arm, a result of being wounded in WWI.  Carl never married but lived with Lena.  [See Morey in1910 census.]

The high school principal was Richard Howell until I got into high school in 1940; after that Edgar Crozier was principal.  They were both wonderful teachers and well respected citizens.  Mr. Crozier eventually became a local lobster dealer. 

Just before WWII, around 1940, Tilden Knowlton [see Knowlton in 1910 census], who had a shoe-repair business downtown, built a little store and gas station next to Carl Morey’s garage.  Seems like a year or so later he took over Carl’s building and built a grocery store he called “Til’s Place.” He did a great business there for quite a few years, especially when the shipyard was running at full tilt.  The place was busy at noontime as many kids ate lunch over there.  We must have given him some trouble at times, but he was always good to us, and his only comment to us was, “Plague take it -- if you kids don’t stop foolin’ around . . . !”

Summertime meant swimming.  Salt water didn’t seem all that cold back then.  We used to swim down by Coot Young’s house, which would be on the SW side of the present town dock.  Back then this long dock was part of George B. Noyes lumberyard.  We also went swimming down to Clam City at the Lansinghs’ salt-water pool.  I think they called it “Indian Point,” but anyway, it was down past Ames’s Meadow.  The pool was set up to dam the water on high tide so eventually it warmed up pretty good.  Lansingh’s daughter Emily Muir (married to Bill Muir the sculptor) was a kind lady and always let us kids use the pool most any time.  The quarry hole at the “Stonington - Deer Isle Yacht Basin” (now Billings Diesel & Marine) was another popular place to swim.  I remember doing a lot of swimming over there.  It was fresh water and a lot warmer than salt water.  As we got older, we would ride our bikes to Deer Isle and swim in the Lily Pond.

Montelle L. “Monty” Small

December 2012

Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society ✦ P O Box 652 ✦ Deer Isle,  ME  04627 ✦ 207-348-6400