A Great Place To 'Dilly Dally'

 
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Sasson Soffer was an Iraqi Arab of Jewish descent. Soffer left Iraq after World War II. In 1948 Soffer went into hiding, ultimately escaping to Iran, then to the United States via Israel. Soffer was enrolled at CUNY Brooklyn College from 1950-1954.

In 1956, Soffer was invited to visit Maine, he enjoyed his time in Maine and purchased a property in Somerville. The Somerville house turned out to have a leaning chimney and when Soffer went to steel fabricator T.W. Dick Co. in Gardiner, Maine to inquire about a metal brace, owner Ralph Dick suggested that since Soffer was an artist he should try to make the brace himself. Ralph Dick died in 1968 and Myrtle Willey took over the mill. It was at T.W. Dick Co., where Soffer was introduced to welding and steel fabrication. For over 30 years Soffer collaborated with T.W. Dick Co. in the production of his large scale sculptures. For Soffer, Myrtle Willey represented continuity and continued opportunity.

Created in 1983 for a show at UMA, the sculpture “Dilly Dally” was donated to the City of Gardiner in 2017 by the Sasson Soffer Foundation. The sculpture was created with two I-beams rolled in reverse curly-cues, on top of a tripod base. You can find this sculpture at Waterfront Park.

A New Face Has Been Added

Our staff has changed. We have a new addition to our leadership team, Melissa Lindley who many of you will remember from several years ago. Melissa was our events manager until the family moved to sunny California. Now back in our hometown, Melissa, as an interim appointment, joins our hard working Melinda Hahn as part of our leadership team. When the warm weather truly returns, you'll find Main Street staff and board members on the street in support of our busy Water Street business owners.

Introducing Cattywampus Studio

Mike Gent sits with works of art that represent the in-house artists at Cattywampus.

Mike Gent sits with works of art that represent the in-house artists at Cattywampus.

Mike Gent & Cheryl Clark purchased the Milliken Block of downtown in 2017. Their vision for the 3rd floor was to spark creative efforts and community networking in Gardiner and the region. They have working artist studios and host community gathering events.

The name “Cattywampus” was found at the bottom of a bottle of wine. It means slightly off kilter.

Follow Cattywampus on Facebook to stay informed about the events hosted there.

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Gardiner Celebrates Three New Locations

 

On May 1st Gardiner Main Street and officials from the City of Gardiner celebrated three locations with ribbon cutting ceremonies. "The three new businesses are focused on community building and bringing people together. While each has a different product or service that they provide, the three share a commitment to engaging the community through their craft - sewing, art, and wellness. Gardiner is very fortunate to have Sew Fit, Sew & Sews, and Beautiful Dreamers join our vibrant downtown." said Mayor Hart

The studio of Robert Saunders and Kala Ladenheim

The studio of Robert Saunders and Kala Ladenheim

Sew Fit Wellness, LLC.

Sew Fit Wellness, LLC.

Sew & Sews

Sew & Sews

 

Welcome to the New Gardiner Main Street Website

Photo: Melinda Hahn

Photo: Melinda Hahn

Aunt Mary Jo visited this past weekend. Hailing from north-central Missouri and now retired in Florida, it was her first trip to New England at all, let alone our little city on the Kennebec. She found Gardiner's downtown as idyllic as "those photos" she has seen of towns and villages in DownEast or Yankee Magazine over the years. I'll admit that any feedback sounds that more charming in a thick midwest accent, but her perspective is still refreshing. Mary Jo's visit was a good lesson in awareness: Gardiner is a pretty special place. 

Have you explored the archives in the library with archivist Dawn Thistle? Gardiner has perpetually evolved (just look at the Gardiner Board of Trade 1896 publication, Picturesque Gardiner: It's Industries, Attractions, and Surroundings). The downtown has largely maintained the architectural and historical integrity of its 19th-century self. Places and structures remain the same, while ideas, economy, and culture advance. It's human-driven progress, and Gardiner, like most cities in the developed world, has never been able to stop it. We should hope it goes in one direction and for the better - so it goes with Gardiner Main Street. 

Just as Gardiner workers of yesteryear honed their craft for the benefit of others - whether lumber, shoes, or steel - we, too, are contributing to an incremental piece of Gardiner's history from the 2nd floor of historic 149 Water Street. We're in the middle of some technology upgrades, and we're not bashful: our former website needed a facelift. Check back often as we continue to add information and resources for our downtown and community. 

Gardiner's greatest asset has always been its people. When this community works together, anything is possible. Many thanks to our River Festival and Great Race volunteers - over 100 within one week! It's not often we have the opportunity to entertain an international audience; we swung big and hit it out of the park. Together, there is no doubt our little city is going to continue to be the place people love to live, work, and visit. 

Cheers and Thanks,

Piper