Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862) traveled three times in north central Maine; he observed and wrote about these sources of water. He stated that the state paid one person in each school district $3.00 per year to create and maintain these. Why?
The need to have water available near the road is quite obvious. We need water in some form to keep our bodies healthy. The nineteenth century did not feature convenience stores every few miles to provide us with coffee, soda, bottled water or beer. So the roadside spring with its enamel cup or dipper quenched the thirst of man. Did the person getting the $3.00 supply the cup?
Oxen and horses needed water for the same reason as man; and the heavier load they hauled, the greater their need for water. I remember seeing funny roads that went through brooks, while the regular road crossed a bridge. I was told that these fords (not the Ford we were riding in) were maintained so that horses could get a drink while still hooked to the wagon. And that if a wooden wheel was loose in its steel rim, the teamster could stop the wagon in the brook so that the water would swell up the wheel. Was a neighbor paid $3.00 to maintain this special road?
Many readers will remember early automobiles often needed water. Many of us carried a small pail so when the car over heated, we could stop at a brook and fill up the radiator. We also were careful to use spring water in the fall or winter since springs would not freeze. It is amazing the number of empty plastic gallon jugs I passed out to fellow travelers between here and Rumford during the 70s and 80s. Have you ever tried to fill a radiator with a coffee cup or soda can?
Locals will remember the Robb Watering Hole on the Airline in Baileyville. A spring was maintained in Township 26 on the south of the Airline near Travis Brook. Another roadside source of water is on the hill west of the Airline Snack Bar in Township 22. It is said that horses would not drink the water from Starvation Brook near House Rock in Township 28. Guy Haynes Watering Trough was in Amherst; Haynes Brook was the source of water and traffic crosses over it even today.
encouraged to share memories of wayside water sources. Call John at
454-7476 or write.
The above from Issue 114, A-CHS Newsletter [new information] A watering hole was on the south side of West Ridge Cooper, west of Route 191 and just north of Grove Pond Road.
The following from Machias Union for September 5, 1893 as given in Weirs and Woods Fall 2014
One of the best things done by the town (of Machias) is the watering trough lately placed in Haymarket Square. In annual meeting a vote was passed authorizing the Selectmen to place a tank in the Square. The Board negotiated with Crane Brothers and the latter have placed a cistern on top of Exchange Block holding 3000 gallons, also a new and serviceable pump. The pumping done by a windmill and thus the trough on the street has a never failing supply of the best spring water from the never failing spring almost directly under the windmill and cistern. A drinking cup is attached so that man and beast may quench thirst. It was wise of the town to thus inaugurate and complimentary to the Selectmen and Crane Brothers to execute the plan of securing free drinking drinks and plenty of them.
Crane Brothers building stands in 2015 at the corner of Route One and Colonial Way. The watering trough was nearby.