Arduous Telling Not Understanding every week tries to reply your burning questions on why issues are the best way they’re in Maine — particularly about Maine tradition and historical past, each way back and up to date, giant and small, essential and foolish. Ship your inquiries to [email protected]
This week’s query comes from my expensive colleague, Judy Harrison, who wished to know what the deal is with an uncommon landmark in Orrington that she drives by on Route 15, on her solution to camp within the summers.
What’s the cope with that large round stone wall on Route 15 in Orrington?
Regardless of its dimension, it’s really considerably simple to overlook the big stone construction, because it blends in with overhanging bushes alongside Route 15, and it’s not close to every other well-known landmarks.
However when you see it, you’ll be able to’t unsee it: the Orrington Pound, an almost 200-year-old circle constructed out of fieldstone, just some ft from the aspect of the highway.
Although it seems moderately mysterious, like one thing constructed by druids to mark the solstice, it was really constructed by the early residents of Orrington for a way more pedestrian objective: holding livestock from operating amok round city. It’s a relic from an earlier time when Maine was largely an agricultural state, and most small cities have been dominated by farms and farming households.
“On the time, early settlers didn’t have robust fences to maintain marauding livestock out of their neighbor’s crops and pastures,” stated Judith Frost Gillis, president of the Orrington Historic Society. “The homeowners have been fined on a per-animal foundation occasions the variety of days that the poundkeeper needed to take care of them.”
Livestock nonetheless handle to get unfastened at this time — simply this spring, some cows escaped from an Previous City farm. Within the 18th and Nineteenth centuries, nevertheless, it was such an issue that one of many causes many cities selected to include was to construct kilos and rent pound keepers to maintain the marauders beneath management. Roaming cattle might trample crops, harm property and even trigger harm to individuals making an attempt to get them into line.
In accordance with pound data, that are nonetheless held by the Orrington Historic Society, within the mid-Nineteenth century, E. L. Bowden, the poundkeeper — akin to at this time’s animal management officers — charged $10.80 for 15 sheep for 5 days. If the poundkeeper couldn’t determine the animal, he would promote the animals and fines in native papers or on posters.
Earlier than the stone pound that stands at this time was in-built 1843 — constructed by Edward Pomeroy of Brewer at a price of $111 — a wood pound stood on the identical web site, in-built 1807. The wood kilos weren’t notably safe, nevertheless.
“It was simple for a farmer to interrupt out animals to take house his critters with out paying the nice,” Gillis stated. “The stone pound was in fact a lot stronger with an iron gate and lock, and the gate remains to be there at this time.”
Animal kilos, additionally referred to as livestock circles, are literally pretty widespread throughout Maine. Along with storing wayward animals, they have been additionally used as a spot to purchase and promote livestock in a public setting.
Its shut proximity to busy Route 15 signifies that the Orrington Pound has been hit by automobiles quite a lot of occasions over time, together with one notably damaging strike by a minivan in 2006.
Along with the one in Orrington, there are animal kilos in quite a lot of cities throughout Maine, together with Waldoboro, Pownal and Sedgwick, all in numerous states of preservation.
By the late Nineteenth century, as Maine’s financial system started to shift away from agriculture, city kilos have been largely left to fall into disrepair. Orrington’s is especially effectively preserved, due to a neighborhood effort in 1988 by the Orrington Historic Society and Penobscot Power Restoration Firm — which is just some hundred ft away on Route 15 — to revive it.