The Beginning of A Business in Machias Maine. Rier Buick. 1949.

My Dad, James “Gene” Rier, left the US Army Corp in 1945 after serving at West Point as a pilot instructor. He and my mother, Louise, moved to Calais for a little over a year where Dad worked at the mill to save money to start a business. In the garage of their rented home, Dad cut the logs for a cabin. The next year, he built that cabin on Dublin Street in Machias where his family lived while he constructed the building for his business and a second floor apartment for their growing family.

By 1949, they had two sons: my brother “Jimmy” age four and David, born that year. Dad managed to secure the franchise to sell Buick automobiles, operate a dealership, repair shop and sell parts. Soon, he added Pontiac to his line of cars and the business became “Rier Buick Pontiac.” Later he added Chevrolet and GMC to his inventory at “Rier Motors,” located at the corner of Dublin Street and the Roque Bluffs road.

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My mother kept the photos of that time period in an album. She cut titles out of magazines to tell the story of their humble beginnings.

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A face to the name: How to find photos of your ancestors

Have you ever wondered where your relatives got their upturned noses, turned-out ears or mousy hair that never quite sits flat? Photos are a fantastic way of bringing you a little closer to your ancestors, giving you an insight into the people who made you what you are today. It’s possible that you’re lucky enough…

via A face to the name: How to find photos of your ancestors — Findmypast – Genealogy, Ancestry, History blog from Findmypast

What Will Our Descendants Say About the Earth We Leave Behind? Part I.

“ In effect, then, to establish tolerances is to authorize contamination of public food supplies with poisonous chemicals in order that the farmer and the processor may enjoy the benefit of cheaper production—then to penalize the consumer by taxing him to maintain a policing agency to make certain that he shall not get a lethal dose. But to do the policing job properly would cost money beyond any legislator’s courage to appropriate, given the present volume and toxicity of agricultural chemicals. So in the end the luckless consumer pays his taxes but gets his poisons regardless.”                                   ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962

Modern pesticides and herbicides emerged post World War II, many designed for warfare, their toxicity tested on insects. Those chemicals that killed insects were marketed as a means to increase agricultural production. “Feed the Hungry” was the mantra. Early chemicals introduced in the 1940s, including DDT, diedrin and related aldrin, eldrin, heptoclor/chlordane, 2-4-D (dioxin), were declared the answer to an ever-increasing number of destructive insects and weeds taking a toll on agriculture. When insects developed resistance, chemicals far more toxic than their predecessors were synthesized, marketed and spread throughout the world, but nowhere more than the US. The toxicity of these chemicals was only understood over decades. Dead birds and fish, eggs that failed to hatch, illness in workers employed in chemical production and town residents exposed to chemicals dumped in their water and soil.  Continue reading “What Will Our Descendants Say About the Earth We Leave Behind? Part I.”

How to use old family photos to build your tree

Old photographs are some of the most exciting finds you can make when researching your family history, but they’re not often useless without background or context. Unless a relative has handily marked names and dates on the back, that beaming smile is sure to soon send you spiraling into despair, yelling in exasperation “WHO ON…

via How to use old family photos to build your tree — Findmypast – Genealogy, Ancestry, History blog from Findmypast

One of Dad’s Projects in the late 50s and Early 60s.

It was a community effort to build the Machias Gymnasium and Auditorium. At first, the proposal was turned down at a town meeting. The news at the time was saved in an album by my mother:

The idea was first conceived in 1958 by James Rier at a meeting of the Machias Rotary Club. The Machias businessman, an active member of the club, had learned that some building material was available at a fraction of the original cost through a surplus sale of the United States Government. After months of meetings, discussions and just plain hard leg work, the committee arrived at an estimated cost of the proposed building. 

Turned Down Plan

A town meeting in Machias, however, turned thumbs down on a proposal that the municipality would spend $25,00 of the building and be responsible for the remainder of the cost.

“Looking back now, I am rather glad that the first town meeting did turn us down, because it only made us more determined to have the building and to do the necessary work to make our goal possible,” Rier said. Members of the committee credit the late Clarence “Tommy” Thompson and Roy Gallager, as being the two spark plus among the group of eager volunteers who worked persistently on the project. The late Warren Hill, of Machias, was credited by Rier as being one of the most important mainstays of the association. “Without the help and advice of Warren Hill, we could never have completed the project,” Rier commented. 

The gymnasium was built and became a part of Machias sports, music and the arts for hundreds of students at Rose M Gaffney School and Machias Memorial High School for decades. And, it stands today, serving the same purpose within the community. A proud accomplishment for the town of Machias, Maine.

“A concern for the youth of the area by a group of businessmen, plus a good deal of Downeast ingenuity, resulted in the building of a spacious gymnasium – auditorium. The building has the largest seating capacity east of Bangor.”

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Gifts from our ancestors

Ends and Beginnings

“You are the fairy tale told by your ancestors.” – Toba Beta

My mother has a very pronounced hand tremor which she has graciously shared with me. Fortunately mine is still in its infant stages of development but I can watch my mom today and know where mine is headed.

Please don’t take this as complaining. I realize that there are many physical elements and disabilities much worse than this that I could be dealing with. Our close friend, a beautiful, kind and caring woman has battled MS for the last five years. I am sure she wishes it was just a hand tremor and honestly I don’t know how she has remained so positive dealing with this horrible and progressive disease. Her courage inspires me everyday.

My fascination with my tremor is the genetical aspect of it. My mom and dad have high blood pressure and all of their children…

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Family Stories Are Universal

Voices of Ancestors blog was launched less than three months ago. Today the hits topped 5000 views from nearly 1900 visitors in the US and fourteen countries worldwide. Wow!

Have you read about my grandmother Harriet yet?