The Monument building lives on

For a while I owned and operated a weekly newspaper in Maine. I t was a 6000 circulation paper that from the beginning made a huge difference in the large town of Gray Maine. It won journalism awards, it got attention, it made people laugh, it made them angry, and above all, it made them think. It informed. It was a comet from above, bringing light and truth to that dark, gray town.

I had two offices during the nearly 7-year duration of its life as an independent, stand-alone newspaper. I started in an office rented to me by Jeanne Adams/Gray Dove Design of 12 Main Street, in the heart of the village and a few doors down from the dinosaur of the old newspaper that already existed. I always got a charge out of that. I operated there for several years before moving almost across the street to 4 Brown Street when I expanded to full time and employed an office manager. It was really charming inside and all the space I could have wanted. After a year or so, deciding that working in a building that had no bathroom was more than a drag, I moved back to 12 Main Street.

Here are a few photos of the building as it was then and a couple of shots of the inside. The Mailbox was not for postal mail. Customers left their classified ads or other material in the box after hours.

I thought it was important for a newspaper to be in the middle of town. This building was, right across from McDonald’s, and a few steps away from town hall and the building where the political and government meetings took place.

Customers were greeted with a welcome sign as they arrived, and stood at the 9-foot counter to do business, offer tips, hobnob, complain, or just pick up a paper! It was bright and cheery.

In the shot above, you can see the monument out the window, the statue the paper was named after. I had a couch for some folks who liked to come in and water-cooler it, staying a while to chew the fat. It was also for business: I interviewed subjects for articles there. The desk next to the couch was where the office manager sat.

The owner long ago abandoned the building to its fate. Actually, he sort of did while I was there. When the bathroom broke he declined to fix it. What a drag having to walk 200 feet in the driving snow or bitter cold just to take a potty break! After I left the building remained empty. Now the day has come when the building’s next life is set to begin. It was moved today, in a series of events captured by Maine Home Town News, an online-only community bulletin board.  The building was not razed, nor sold, but given to the town. It was moved to the transfer station and a swap shop will be set up in there. So a building that housed a barber shop, a newspaper and now a swap shop is STILL the place where people gather to chew the fat! This has a nice synchronicity to it, if you ask me.


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