Merrymeeting Park Brunswick, Maine
This image courtesy of the Pejepscot Historical Society. From the Charles Gamache Collection. 1989.100.3
This image courtesy of the Pejepscot Historical Society. From the Charles Gamache Collection. 1989.100.17
This image courtesy of the Pejepscot Historical Society. From the Charles Gamache Collection. 1989.100.21
The Park Now
The Park closed not because of any one event, but because of a series of changes. From the day of its conception, it was a losing proposition. Amos Gerald had grand ideas, but the population of Brunswick was too small to support financially such an impressive park. Even with the trolleys from Lewiston and Portland (a three or four hour round trip) there just were not enough people. If Amos Fitzgerald did market research before building the Park as large as he did, that research was faulty. He may have built it on such a grand scale to show people that he wasn't one of the poor Irish immigrants common at that time. This would also explain the inclusion of the "castle" on the Casino as well as that of Casco Castle, another of his holdings. At some point he called himself Amos F. Gerald, as well as just Amos Gerald. The park's audiences were now also going to the movies.
The park officially closed after the 1906 season. The animals were sold and whatever else could be salvaged was taken by the trolley company with the grounds left to picnickers until 1914. The land was sold first to Rupert Baxter and Charles Erswell, then to Arthur Barrett, followed by J. J. Bursnell who, in turn, sold it to its present owner, Earl Ormsby, Sr. The casino was eventually vandal-ized and torn down. The stones from the foundation and castle went into other buildings in the area. One of the out-buildings is now a garage belonging to Margaret Erswell of Pleasant Street, Brunswick.
The main entrance ramp to the park was about one hundred feet to the right or east of the present location of the Autometrics building. A secondary entrance road crossed the tracks at grade level where the entrance to the cement plant and auto salvage yard is presently located. The casino was located on top of the hill on the northern side of new Route 1, where a white mobile home now sits. The series of duck ponds were formed by damming the depression behind it. New Route 1 splits the park in two, passing over what would have been the zoo and amphitheater.
I have been given a reflector from one of the arc lights by Earl Ormsby, and have one of the folding benches that has "MERRYMEETING PARK" stenciled on the side. A few of the paths are still visible. Besides these few reminders there is not much tangible evidence left from its nine years of operation. But lest we be overcome by nostalgia, the title of the sermon delivered by Elijah Kellogg in the amphitheater, that September day ninety years ago, still speaks to us today: "Say not that the former days were better than these."
Below: Map of Merrymeeting Park
|To see a detailed map of Merrymeeting Park overlaid on a modern aerial photo, click here. Please note that this is a very large image (almost 3 MB) and may take a long time to load if you are viewing this page from a dial-up connection.|