In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Thomaston: The Town that Went to Sea

1870 to 1915

Watts Block, Thomaston, 1890
Watts Block, Thomaston, 1890Item Contributed by
Thomaston Historical Society

Captain Watts constructed and presented the Watts Block, a brick building on the southwest corner of Knox and Main Streets, to the town for use by its residents.

In 1915, a devastating fire consumed the original Watts Block, along with the Telegraph Block - a wooden commercial block next to it, a stable and the Knox Hotel to its west. Both the Watts Block and Knox Hotel were immediately rebuilt, the former being enlarged and today housing the Town Offices, the Town Police Department and a commercial store. The second floor contains a hall and meeting room used for town meetings and community events. In the Levensaler Block, on the adjacent corner, the Thomaston Public Library was formed in 1899. Today the library is housed in the town-owned Thomaston Academy building on Main Street and has a yearly circulation of approximately 36,000.

Watts Block Fire, Thomaston 1915
Watts Block Fire, Thomaston 1915Item Contributed by
Thomaston Historical Society

In addition to shipbuilding, the lime quarry industry- now cement production - continues to be a source of employment in the town. As early as 1911, visionary Alfred S. Black started to accumulate mineral properties containing limestone and clay, eventually establishing the New England Portland Cement Co. on Route One between Thomaston and Rockland. In 1926 the Lawrence Portland Cement Company took over the business, and within a year began the construction of a new lime plant and office building. Today Giant Cement of South Carolina, owned by Spanish company Cementos Portland Valderrivas, operates Dragon Products, the only cement manufacturing facility in New England.

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