Auditorium Park

Albert E. Morris Memorial Park
Dedicated in August 1937 and now known as Auditorium Park.

The dedication of Bayside, ME’s Albert E. Morris Memorial Park, now known as Auditorium Park, was reported in the Courier Gazette on August 21, 1937, as follows: “Patriotic Exercises Held at Bayside With Musical Program – Tablet Unveiled and Gifts Made – A dedication was held Thursday on the ground of the Methodist Campmeeting auditorium at Bayside. A short address was given by the president of the Northport Society of Willing Workers Emma L. Torrey, who acted as chairman. She presented a new approach to the beach, also a large flag from the Willing Workers in memory of the Wesleyan Grove Campmeeting Association and Dr. Albert E. Morris. The flag was raised by the widow, Mrs. Emma W. Morris, attended by Paul A. Morris and Capt. Ernest M. Torrey. A trumpet solo call to the colors was played by Nancy Parkinson. A tableau was formed by Jeanette and Marion Hook, Marion Keith, Paula Mills, Barbara Sibley, Sybil Kuhule, Sheila Flanders, Mary L. Carey, Elaine Sullivan, Joan Short, Jean Parkinson and Gladys Baker, each carrying a flag. The old Bible was held by Pauline Edgecomb and the bell run[g] by Mrs. Ellenor Morris for the 85 years attended by Joan VanCampen. A violin and piano duet was played by Miriam Edgecomb and Ellenor Morris; vocal solo, Gabriel Guedy. A tablet in memory of the Wesleyan Grove Campmeeting Assn. 1849-1934 was unveiled by the president, Paul A. Morris and son of the late Dr. Albert E. Morris who also renamed the park the Alfred E. Morris Memorial Park. An address was given by Rev. Charles W. Martin and the flag was lowered at half mast by Capt. Ernest M. Torrey for Dr. Morris. Taps were sounded and the singing of ‘America,’ prayer and benediction closed the ceremonies. Two settees were donated to the park by Marion Eaton.”

The James Bench: In memory of Edna E. James and Lawrence H. James

Back row: Holly Lagner, Haley Dionne, Brandy Lagner, Sandy Hall. Middle: Everett Irby, Liam Lagner. Front row: Gretchen Irby, Dean Lagner, Christian Dionne, Art Hall, Aurelia Irby

Edna and Lawrence James purchased Union Cottage in 1939 (signing the papers in mid-winter, 1940).  At that time, they were residents of Silver Spring, Maryland.  They had previously taken their young family to the Virginia shore for relief from the summer heat.  As family tradition tells the story, Granddaddy came up from the sea in anguish with a red jellyfish draped over one arm.  He herded the family into the car and exclaimed, “We are driving north until it gets cooler!” 

It finally got cool at Bayside.

The James family (Edna and Larry, Dorothy, Ellie (Eleanor), and baby Norman) rented at various locations around Auditorium Park for a couple of summers, then purchased Union.  They only missed one summer after that, the year Ellie was married to Dick (Richard) Lagner, and the cottage was rented.

Ellie inherited Union Cottage from her father upon his death in 1984 (? – or 85).  Edna had passed away a couple of years earlier.  Ellie Lagner donated the bench in her parents’ memory. The cottage still belongs in the James family, as it was transferred to Ellie and Dick’s daughter, Sandy (Sandra) Lagner Hall in 2014.  The Halls, Sandy’s brother Dean and his family, and Sandy’s two daughters,

Katie (Kathryn) and Gretchen, continue to enjoy the cottage.  Gretchen’s two children, Aurelia and Everett, are proud 5th generation visitors to our favorite place, Union Cottage.

By Sandy Lagner Hall, Summer 2023

The Murch Bench:
In memory of Bernice V. Murch (1912-1984) and Rexford Murch (1910-2001)

Bernice (Bunny) and Rexford (Rex) Murch were Marge’s parents.  The bench was donated to the village by Richard Tardif (1933-2023), a neighbor and friend, who bought and assembled the components, and labelled the bench in honor of the Murches.  This was the first bench to be established in Auditorium Park.

Rex’s mother was the first Murch to come to Bayside.  She lived in the Bangor area, and had visited Bayside when the Eddington Cottage was still a society cottage, renting a room there.  When the Eddington Methodists decided to dissolve their ownership of the cottage, they sold interests in the building by room.  Participants each bought their upstairs room, which came with a joint interest in the common kitchen and living areas on the first floor.  Mrs. Murch, who was a widow by that time, decided to buy up each bedroom share as it became available, and by 1938 owned the entire cottage in that manner.  The cottage became Rex’s at some point in time; details are not available for that transaction.

Rex and Bunny had three children, Margaret (now Marge Brockway), David, and Fred.  Ultimately, Marge and husband Richard (Dick) inherited the Eddington Cottage, as David and Fred had no interest in cottage ownership in Bayside.  Now in 2023, Dick Brockway has passed away.  He and Marge have no children, so Marge’s expectation is that the Eddington cottage and the Beale cottage (on lower Clinton Street, which they also own) will pass to two of Marge’s brother David’s daughters, thus continuing the family ownership tradition in Bayside.

Sandy Hall interviewed Marge Murch Brockway in August 2023 for the Bayside Historical Preservation Society.

The Malm/Morris Bench: In memory of Alfred C. Malm and Paul A. Morris

Alfred and Susan Malm purchased the South Thomaston cottage in 1923. They discovered Bayside while visiting Massachusetts neighbors who had already become summer residents.  Alfred and Susan had three children – Elizabeth, Susan, and John – who spent idyllic summers growing up in Bayside in the days and years prior to WWII. 

The Malm family continues to own and occupy the South Thomaston cottage. Elizabeth (Anderson, Carlson) donated the funds to support this memorial bench.

Paul and Eleanor Morris owned the Unity cottage in Auditorium Park. They enjoyed many years in Bayside, years that overlapped with those enjoyed by the Malm family.

Paul was active in the Bayside community, serving as President of the Wesleyan Grove Campground Association in 1947. A stone monument marks the site in Morris Park of the (demolished) Auditorium.

On many evenings, after supper, Paul and Alfred would sit at the bottom of Auditorium Park, smoking their pipes, viewing the bay, and discussing the issues of the day.                         

By Dorothy Lloyd-Still, July 2023

The Martin Family Pew

The pew represents and remembers several generations of the Martin family in Bayside and their ownership of the Carmel Cottage and The Crow’s Nest Cottage in Auditorium Park.

Rev. Charles W. Martin (1872-1937) was the final minister assigned by the Maine Methodist Church to serve both the Belfast Methodist Church and the Methodist Tabernacle and summer campground activities until his death in 1937.   As far as the family knows, no Belfast minister was assigned to lead the summer religious program after Charles Martin.   With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the entire campground enterprise came to a close and the cottages eventually went from ownership by the Methodist Church to private individuals.

Rev. Charles Martin purchased The Crow’s Nest Cottage in 1922 and used it as his home with his wife, Abbie Berry Martin, while overseeing the summer program.  The Martin family owned The Crow’s Nest Cottage until 2019.

Rev. Morrill O. Martin (1912-1999), Charles’s son, carried forward the family ownership tradition by purchasing the Carmel Cottage in 1960 with his wife, Jennyvee McBride Martin.  The Carmel is still the summer home of their children,  Rev. Dr. Jim Martin and his wife Sheila Murphy, and Nancy Martin Conlon, and their children and grandchildren.

As Rev. Charles Martin presided over a celebration recognizing Auditorium Park shortly before his passing, the Martin family believed that the placement of the Martin Family Pew near the center of the park would be a welcome historical link.                                            

September 2023

The Hodgman Bench: In memory of Grace (1893-1981) and Earle (1902-1974) Hodgman

The Grace (1893-1981) and Earle (1902-1974) Hodgman memorial bench, located near the Orono Cottage at the top of Auditorium Park, was placed there by our parents, Larry and Barbara Gibbs. Grace and Earle were best friends with Barbara’s parents, Harry and Agnes Fish (our grandparents). Both couples lived and worked in Turner, Maine. Earle’s mother left the Orono Cottage to him in her will when she passed in the early 1900’s. He was the youngest of eight. Our understanding is that Earle’s mother originally acquired the cottage from the church in Orono. Like so many who enjoyed Bayside in the early days, Grace was a teacher in Turner, and Earle drove the school bus, so their schedule allowed them the flexibility to spend their summers in Bayside. As children, we spent time with our grandparents in Turner during our summer vacations, often including day trips to see Grace and Earle in Bayside. When Earle passed away in the mid-1970s, Grace approached our parents and asked if they wanted to purchase the cottage. They immediately said, “Yes!” Grace continued to spend her summers in Bayside until she passed. Only then did our parents start upgrading and renovating the Orono.

Submitted by Diana Eastty and Sharon Baraiola