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,