The Way We Were

by Charlena Walker

By the middle of the 19th century, the main street of the town of Gray had become a major and unique hub of merchandising.

Gray Grain Store photo circa 1860

The buildings shown in this photograph housed several businesses throughout the years. As noted in George T. Hill’s book History, Records, and Recollections of Gray Maine, about 1830 Daniel Hall built a brick building that is still standing today! Mr. Hall ran a dry goods and groceries business. A few years later, the business was passed into the hands of a brother.

After 1883, the brick building housed a general store, and was run by the following proprietors: James B. Hall, Lee B. Hunt, and Willard B. Sweetser. The Post Office was in the Hall building in 1852.

Abutting the brick store was a one-story wooden building known as the Grain Store. Over a period of time, the building held several businesses. In the 1880’s there was a set of Fairbanks scales in front of this store – between the sidewalk and the street – just in back of the oxen in this photo. The scales were used to weigh loads of hay, coal, and other products that were driven over the platform. The thin wooden box, painted white, protected the weighting beam of the scales from the weather.

Look for Hall’s brick store on your next drive through Gray Village!