Edson Giles store, Boothbay, ca.1920

Contributed by Penobscot Marine Museum


The Edson Giles store, near Fort Island in the Damariscotta River, was in the Boothbay village of Back Narrows next to Edson’s house. It was a typical general store of the time.

Carroll Gray, born in 1912, remembered the store well. "Those old time grocery stores had a very attractive odor about them that isn't found these days. Vinegar by the barrel, molasses by the barrel, salt pork by the barrel, and coffee ground as you waited gave these stores a delicious aroma. Ralph Giles's store filled that bill." The stores also were gathering places for local men to sit and shoot the breeze.

The group gathered in front of the store some time about 1920 included Edson Giles on the far right, Will Hutchins with his arms folded, George Gray by the window on the left, and Herm Poole, next on the left.

Edson ran the farm and store from 1904 to 1914, when he asked his son Ralph to return from Massachusetts to help him run it.

A poem, which appeared in the January 14, 1916 Register, did a tongue-in-cheek job of profiling the old small-town ways of the "setters."

In E. C. Giles's Grocery Store

A circle gathers ev'ry night, say twenty odd or more
Around the big invitin' stove in Giles's grocery store.
Nail kegs and cracker barrels take the place uv fine settees,
An' here the circle spends its time in most luxuryus ease.

Here's where the farmin's carried on; here's where the hay is raised;
Here's where cords uv wood are cut and where the stock is grazed.
Here's where the monstrous clams are dug instead uv 'long the shore
Great deeds are done around the stove in Giles's grocery store.

The women folk around the town 'low if these great affairs
Would only happen close to home they'd all be millionaires.
But while they're luggin' up the water or wood out uv door,
These warriors bold are fightin' still in Giles' grocery store.

The nights they come, the nights they go, spring, summer, winter, fall,
'An still they meet there regular, the setters, one and all.
I'd tell you more uv what they do, n' rake them fellers o'er,
But I must go and take my seat in Giles's grocery store.

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About This Item

  • Title: Edson Giles store, Boothbay, ca.1920
  • Creator: Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co.
  • Creation Date: 1920
  • Subject Date: circa 1920
  • Location: Boothbay, Lincoln County, ME
  • Media: Glass Plate Negative
  • Dimensions: 12.7 cm x 17.8 cm
  • Local Code: LB2007.1.101946
  • Collection: Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co.
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Penobscot Marine Museum
PO Box 498, 5 Church Street, Searsport, ME 04974
(207) 548-2529

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