Friday, January 27, 2023

Small but mighty Lutheran church in North Windham never loses faith

By Lorraine Glowczak

There have been many times over its 40 years of existence that the doors of Faith Lutheran, located at 988 Roosevelt Trail in Windham, were about to close. But then, as if by some miracle, its membership would increase, or the coffers would be filled to financially sustain operations.

After facing many challenges in the past couple of years,
Faith Lutheran Chruch at 988 Roosevelt Trail in Windham
is experiencing a renewal of energy and excitement as
attendance increases and additional activities ignite
new breath. SUBMITTED PHOTO  

Lovingly referred to by its members as the small but mighty church on the hill, Faith Lutheran once again faced a certain level of uncertainty a little over a year ago as they dealt with several challenges. They have recently felt the blows that come with the deaths of a few long-time members; their part-time pastor accepted a full-time position, the music minister retired from his position at the church, and membership slowly declined to include about 10 to 15 active members.

But this is where church members keep their faith, and things have begun to turn around once again.

“There have been so many times in the past when we thought we would have to close our doors,” Marilyn Walsh, one of the founding members of Faith Lutheran, said. “But we never gave up. We all were determined to keep it going - come hell or high water. We feel very strongly that this is our church, and we will do all we can to keep it going. And this time is no different.”

Their ‘hang in there’ faith has kept their doors open again as attendance increases and new energy comes alive, breathing new life into the small but mighty church.

“In addition to the increase of attendance, we are bringing back and adding new events and activities,” the President of Faith Lutheran’s Church Council, David Guiseley, said. “One event that the members are especially looking forward to is bringing back bible study.”

Faith Lutheran will begin a midweek Lenten bible study in conjunction with St. Ann’s Episcopal Church. It will be held at Faith Lutheran on Wednesdays, starting on March 1 and at St. Ann’s on Thursdays beginning March 2. The bible study will include the viewing of the drama series “The Chosen,” a 22-episode program about the life of Jesus. The evenings will also include soup.

“We are also looking forward to other ‘faith in action’ ministry work as well as new fundraising events,” Guiseley said.

The small church gives back to the community in significant ways. They are one of the founding members of the Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing, they assist and contribute financially to St. Ann’s Essentials Pantry, donate items to communities in need through the Lutheran World Relief organization, and have assisted a homeless Congolese refugee family in Lewiston find an apartment. Recently, a team of four traveled to Englewood, Florida, to help with disaster relief due to one of the latest hurricanes.

“We are also excited to bring back the ecumenical weekly community meal programs that were very successful and popular before the pandemic,” Guiseley said.

Along with Faith Lutheran, other area churches, including St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, Windham Hill United Church of Christ, and St. Anthony of Padua Parish (formerly known as Our Lady of Perpetual Help) will be bringing back the weekly free ‘food and fellowship’ meal program that will occur every Thursday.

The first weekly meal will be Thursday, Feb. 2, at Windham Hill United Church of Christ, 140 Windham Center Road, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Flyers that will include the lists of dates and locations for these weekly meals will be available at every participating church. Also, check out each church’s Facebook page for updated information.

Since the departure of the former pastor, Rev. Tim Higgins, the Rector of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church was approached by the Lutheran New England Synod (the governing entity for Faith Lutheran Church) to serve in a temporary capacity until the foreseeable future.

“Since Faith Lutheran and St. Ann’s have always worked closely together, the Synod asked me to be a Contact Priest for Faith,” Higgins said. “This entails attending church council meetings, providing hospital visits, being there for emergency calls, and other situations in which a clergy person is needed.”

The church has been grateful to retired Pastor Nancy Foran, Pastor Pam Brouker, and Lutheran Lay Minister Pam Chabora for their weekly communion celebrations and the leading of Sunday services. They also welcome their new Music Minister, Betty McIntyre, who has successfully reignited a choir.

Chabora and McIntyre have worked closely together to create various fundraising opportunities and special events. A Murder Mystery fundraising dinner will be coming soon during February. For more details on this event, contact Chabora at

The renewed energy and increased attendance may be just a fluke, or perhaps the members of this small but mighty church that carry big and unending faith are where the true power lies.

“Faith is what brought us here, and faith is what keeps us going,” Walsh said.

For more information about Faith Lutheran Church, reach out to their Contact Priest, Rev. Tim Higgins at 207-892-8447 or <

Friday, January 20, 2023

A matter of historical record: Windham’s old neighborhoods – relinquished names, lost history

(Part two)

By Walter Lunt

Windham’s many and varied neighborhoods of the 19th century all had original and revealing names, their origins driven by personalities, unique geographical features or significant events. Some were archetypical, like Land of Nod and Tattleville (as explored in Part one The Windham Eagle - Jan. 6, 2023). This time, we’ll discuss the self-styled identities of what would later become North, South and East Windham, as well as earlier names for Windham Hill, Newhall and the Mallison Falls area.

Mallison Falls was the site of Windham's first saw mill. While
under construction, workers made an unfortunate discovery
while preparing dinner, leading to it being called Horsebeef
Falls for the next half-century. PHOTO BY WALTER LUNT  
Separated by a distance of only seven miles, North and South Windham were once named according to their location within the community. North Windham, from the 1820s and into the 1850s, was called Upper Corner; South Windham was Lower Corner, later to be known as Little Falls. At one point in the history of the town (it is not known exactly when), North Windham was referred to as Poverty Corner, the origin of which is self-explanatory. Certain sections of North Windham were once called Quebec and Scratch Gravel.

Scottish and Irish immigrants to Windham settled in the eastern part of town, the area we know today simply as East Windham, principally along the Falmouth Road. Their settlements were sometimes referred to as Little Scotland and Little Ireland. The Scottish neighborhood (first settled by Jane and Duncan McIntosh) was along the shores of Highland Lake; farther north on Falmouth Road near the intersection with Nash Road was Ireland Corner.

Highland Lake used to be called Duck Pond. According to Westbrook historians Mike Sanphy and Ken Moody, it was first named in the 1720s when a man followed a thick flock of ducks flying from Falmouth (Portland) five miles north to a pristine lake that spanned present day Windham, Westbrook and Falmouth. Future settlers continued to call it Duck Pond until around 1900 when government maps changed it to Highland Lake. No one knows how or why the name got changed.

Windham Hill once bore the name of Zions Hill. History is silent regarding the origin of this earlier name.

For about a century before it was called Newhall, the neighborhood was known as Gambo, which today retains the name of a road at its crossing with River Road. The origin of this earlier name is unusual, but fascinating. In his 1935 book A History of Windham, Maine, historian Frederick Dole reported that a sea captain from Gorham “brought home from the West Indies a (Black) man named Gambo…he was an excellent performer on the violin, and his music attracted the young people to his homely dwelling (in Windham), so that it soon became a common saying, “Let go to Gambo’s.” The name was later changed to Newhall who was an owner of the nearby gun powder mill.

The former name for Mallison Falls, located near the South Windham Correctional Center, is equally compelling. In 1739 or ’40 it was given the peculiar name Horse Beef Falls. It was here that the very first mill, a saw mill, was built in New Marblehead (early Windham). During its construction the workmen were provided with temporary housing and food. One unlucky day they were given a barrel of beef and assured that it was “of the finest quality.” However, the cook is said to have found the hoofs of a horse at the bottom of the barrel. The angry workers returned the hoofs to the barrel and rolled it over the falls. Then and there the site would be known as Horsebeef. The name stuck until 1866 when a new owner named Mallison took over the falls.

The tiny village of Popeville was born well over 200 years ago. Its namesake began with the arrival of Elijah Pope before the dawn of the 19th century. He was a blacksmith and a Quaker. He and his sons were highly respected citizens, known for their industry and honesty. The Pope brothers established a prosperous set of mills on the site where Pleasant River crosses Pope Road at Windham Center. They built a dam on the east side of the bridge and over a number of years successfully operated a store, sawmill, wool carding mill, grist mill and later engaged in the manufacture of clothing, including embossed felt table and piano covers, felt skirts, horse blankets and boot and glove linings. Their various businesses thrived for nearly five decades.

As to that perennial question, “what’s in a name?” – one possible answer could be…a whole lot of history. <

Friday, January 13, 2023

Landmark ‘The Venice’ was a sightseer’s dream at Jordan’s Bay

By Ernest H. Knight

In any community there may be places of interest, significant sites and examples of outstanding architecture, but none of these qualities guarantee that they be considered landmarks. However, there is a spot in Raymond that has little to recommend except that it is a landmark.

The now-demolished landmark 'The Venice" sat on Jordan
Bay on Sebago Lake in Raymond and was created in the 
late 1800s by Sumner Plummer. COURTESY PHOTO 
Long known as “The Venice” on Sebago Lake in Jordan’s Bay, people passing through Raymond Village have for more than a century, looked across the waters of the bay and thought or spoken of the building that once perched on the bar rocks that themselves have never had a name. It’s enough that what is there above and below the water is just called “The Venice.”

Before the level of Sebago Lake was raised by 11 feet in the mid-1880s, the ground on which the building rests would have been of sufficient height, area, and soil to support trees and other vegetation. At that time there was dense forest growing along Route 302 where now only cattails flourish.

But in the late 1800s, the building was erected by Sumner Plummer of Raymond Village as a summer school for girls. Plummer was an ingenious individual of many talents. He was a craftsman, artist, inventor, undertaker, carriage and sign painter, temperance worker and practitioner of the “laying on of hands” to soothe illness.

“The Venice” reflects his handiwork in substantial construction, small stateroom-like rooms with hidden drawers and fold-away conveniences, kitchens with many utilitarian gadgets and bins, a massive stone fireplace with colorful mineral inserts spelling VENICE and wide porches around the outside for those who might imagine a nautical situation while “walking on deck.”

On the outside of the building at second floor level facing the village was a large “VENICE” name board. Attached to the building by a wooden gangway was a square-ended flat-bottomed barge on which there was an auxiliary building for needed activity or dormitory space, and the bottom of this barge may still be seen on the lake bottom on the shore side of the present building.

For their shore-based activities there was a two-story building on the point of land at the entrance to Deep Cove, now a garage apartment that had originally been a dwelling in the village, and then moved to its present location over the ice. This is an example of the passion of Raymond residents in the last century to move buildings from one part of town to another.

While Sumner Plummer was the proprietor and guiding light of the enterprise, he had an educator to supervise the activities of this school for girls. Little or nothing is known of the curriculum or activities but it was advertised in at least one national magazine of the day and brochures stressed the scenic aspects of the area, the healthful activity and the companionable advantages of the school population.

As this setting was in the heyday of steamboat travel on Sebago Lake and Long Lake, there was substantial landing of cribbed logs for the docking of large watercraft nearby. Much of the passenger travel as well as freight to local resorts and towns around the lakes was by steamboat from Sebago Lake Station, which operated on schedules that included rendezvous in mid-lake between the small local steamboats and the larger vessels operating express service between Sebago Lake Station and the end of the route in Harrison.

But with the changing pattern of summer visitors and the ecological limitations on accommodations without adequate septic waste disposal, the school ceased operations by the start of World War I. Use as a private summer residence became impossible due to regulations of the Portland Water District.

“The Venice” continued, however, to be referred to as a landmark by both residents and vacationers. Denied use by its various owners in the 20th century, it fell into disrepair, followed by assaults by vandals until it is now, little more than a pile of rocks after being burned as an eyesore after being acquired by the town for back taxes. <

This article was written by the late Ernest H. Knight, one of the founders of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and contained in his book “Historical Gems of Raymond and Casco.” It was submitted by the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and articles about Raymond history from the historical society will appear regularly in The Windham Eagle newspaper. To find out more about the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, call Frank McDermott at 207-655-4646.

Friday, January 6, 2023

A matter of historic record: Revisiting Tattleville, and Windham’s other neighborhoods of the 19th century – ‘many and marvelous’

By Walter Lunt

One hundred eighty-five years ago, a traveler seeking directions in Windham might have been told, “A-yuh, that’s located ovah in Tattleville.” In olden times, Windham had many named sections of town, or neighborhoods. Some remain with us today; many have long been abandoned. Most were named for families living in the area (Popeville, Dolley’s Corner), for prominent geographic features (Duck Pond, Pike’s Hill), or even unusual and memorable events (Horsebeef Falls).

A view of the Land of Nod in Yorkshire, England with a 
poppy field in the foreground is shown. COURTESY PHOTO
The origins of nearly all these place names are obvious or easily traceable through Windham history books or records kept at the Windham Historical Society. But the one called Tattleville remains a mystery. A deeper dive into the unusual name may reveal an answer that would take us slightly beyond conjecture.

At the historical society, a photocopy of a newspaper article in the Portland Sunday Telegram, dated 1908, was headlined ‘Nicknames for different sections of Windham – many and marvelous.’ It appeared to be one of a series of installments on greater Portland communities. The article discussed long abandoned names for the various villages around Windham and identified Tattleville as the nickname for Windham Center, an area surrounding the intersection of Gray Road (Route 202) and Windham Center Road but failed to say why it was given that name.

The internet can sometimes be instructive when researching questions like this. An article dated Dec. 7, 1837 in a Hamilton County, Indiana newspaper titled ‘Scenes at Tattleville Inn’ observed, “…being situated…a considerable distance from any of the principal towns, and with no water privileges beyond a small stream sufficient for a grist-mill, its growth has been gradual. Consequently, the worthy inhabitants had a much better opportunity of prying into the concerns of their neighbors, and of gratifying their curiosity (about) respected strangers.” The article further stated that with little else to do in the tiny hamlet, the local sewing circle often engaged in gossip and rumors. Window curtains were frequently pulled aside to observe the comings and goings of neighbors and of visitors arriving on the stage. “The moment the steps were let down,” the titillation and the conjectures would begin regarding any new arrivals – “he looked handsome! Is that his wife? Where are they from? What did the stage driver say?” If a new couple moved into town, “…a new piece of scandal was broached.”

There were similar occurrences right here in Windham. An amusing story that’s been passed down through the generations about Windham Center concerned a barn that was inconveniently located close to the roadway. At one time, the barn sat between where today’s Corsetti’s store is and the white farmhouse next door on Windham Center Road. Long ago the dwelling was owned by the Fred Hawkes family; the barn used to sit just a few feet off the road, and it blocked Mrs. Hawkes’ view of the four corners, which was a stage stop and a very busy intersection. Tradition says that Mrs. Hawkes had the barn moved back (where it sits today) so she could view activity on the corner.

Another curious neighborhood nickname is an area located near Highland Cliff – Land of Nod. Today, it’s the name of a road; but in the past it identified a whole section of town. What was its origin? Was it named from the Bible? Or, as some local historians suggest, farmers in the area were Quakers and when passing each other in their buggies did not speak, only nodded. There may be another explanation, however, as many of Maine’s early settlers brought place names over from England. Land of Nod is the name of a picturesque 3,000-acre hamlet in East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Perhaps that is a more likely origin of the name.

Windham’s boundary villages were not always known as North, South or East Windham. And what about the part of town named for dead horses? They’re all part of the historical record, and we’ll examine those…next time. <