A walk along Main Street Calais 1960 (part 2)

The below text is from an article written for  the Calais Advertiser in 1960 by Carol Obliskey who most of us know as Carol Ann Nicholson. We have added photos of the businesses she describes. Not all are 1960 but are close as we can come. We also added the captions to the photos. In part one, we toured the south side of Calais Main Street in 1960 from the bridge to Casey’s Barber Shop, now the Riverview Restaurant. In part two we’ll continue our tour to the corner of Calais Avenue and then return along the north side of Main Street to Pickard’s Laundry.

Casey’s Barber Shop, corner and Main Street and Sawyer Avenue, across from St Croix Hotel

Casey’s Barbershop:

With the third generation operating this establishment courtesy has been the byword for over 70 years of Service.

This photo was taken just before Taylor’s Hardware, on the corner of Sawyer Avenue and Main, was bought out by Todd’s which was then next door.
In this photo the Ryan Bookstore is to the right of the restaurant and left of McFaul’s. The restaurant was known as “Royal Lunch” and “Ryan’s Lunch” and had a few pool tables.

Todd’s Brothers Hardware Store:

Established about 1865, this general hardware store deals in nuts, bolts and anything else relative to hardware. Also available is houseware, roofing and building materials, paints, wood-finishing products, power tools, Stanley tools, guns, and fishing and hunting supplies.

Scholl’s Funeral Home:

A florist shop and funeral service establishment, owned and operated by Harold Scholl, this business has been in operation on Main Street for many years.

John McFaul’s Antique Shop:

Anyone care for antiques? You can find them at this store in any manner, shape or form. If antiques aren’t your dish, you can still spend a pleasant hour browsing through the secondhand books, and you might even come up with a treasure or two-in literary from that is.

Roy Ryan’s Bookstore:

Newspapers, magazines, books- this store which is owned and operated by Roy Ryan carries then all. The shop is the only one in Calais which deal exclusively in this type of business.

The old Opera House and Weitner’s Plumbing. To the far left can be seen the corner of  Ken Collins Boarding Home


Dealing in plumbing and heating, this store is owned by Charles Weitner.

Lois Campbell’s famous luncheonette and Crowley Appliances.


Owned and operated by Lois Campbell this lunch and grocery store carries candy, magazines, tobacco, to mention a few items.

Originally Checchi’s it became Demmon’s Store after Pisani


Situated at the corner of Main and Calais Avenue this establishment is the last store down on the right-hand side of the street for the purposes of this tour. Called the Elba Fruit Market, the store has a lunch counter and carries groceries, novelties, magazines, “a line of smokes and Italian sandwiches” says Mrs. Pisani with a twinkle in her eye. Anthony Pisani is the owner of the store. Our tour of one side of Main has been completed and if you should work your way on the other side of the street, the stores which can be found are:

One of the largest buildings on Main Street it was home to many photography studios in the early days because it was perfectly situated for the afternoon sun

Stewart’s Furniture Store:

Furniture of all types, wallpaper, linoleum, paint, shades, wool rugs, carpeting, lamps, anything for a house can be found in this four-floor building. The business is owned by Bill Johnston.

W.T. Grant Company:

“We carry a little bit of everything in this department store” says John Lapointe, the manager. This newly remodeled department store employs 40 Calais people and carries everything that a family might need, from the baby stage up.

J.C. Penney’s:

“For the first time in the history of the New England district, Penney’s is featuring a charge account plan” says Harry Strader, manager of the Calais department store that deals in women’s and men’s apparel, top fashions, children’s toys and household articles. “Pay within 30 days after the billing date, and there’s no charge for the service” continues Strader.

The Johnson Company:

The owners of the hardware, heating and plumbing and appliance store are Roscoe and Andrew Johnson.  Dealing in major appliances, aluminum windows and doors, toys, paints and wallpapers and wood and steel kitchens, Rocky admits with a grin “We even cut window shades for free”.

The first laundromat in Calais

Harvey Studio:

Hubert Atkinson is the manager of the photography studio which does both portrait and commercial photography, besides dealing in cameras and accessory retail photographic supplies. This branch of the Canadian Harvey Studios is the only one which is located on the American side of the border.


Th largest coin operated laundromat in the State of Maine, this establishment is open 24 hours a day. Owned by Ted Fales, the laundromat offers 30-minute wash and dry service.

Pickard’s did the laundry for all the hotels, cabins and motels in the area.

Pickard’s Laundry:

You would expect a laundry to clean wearing apparel, but would you think of pillows and electric blankets? This is the specialty at Pickard’s Laundry which is owned by Bill Murdock. The establishment has been in Calais for more than 100 years.

The tour of Main Street has taken us up one side of Main Street and down the other. Calais certainly has a lot to offer in the way of stores. However, there is one more major store, not located on the Main Street, which merits attention.

In 1960 the IGA opened on Washington Street. Photo above is 1959

IGA Foodliner:

Located on the corner of Washington and Church Streets, this modern Foodliner recently celebrated its first anniversary. Owned by Murray Tingley and managed by Leo Morrison, this self-service store offers; fresh meat cut to order; all types of groceries; a chicken barbecue which was recently added; a well-lighted free parking lot; bundle boy service direct to your car and soft music at all times.

So ends our 1960 merchants tour of the Calais Main Street. While many businesses such as banks, the State Theatre, St Croix Hotel etc were omitted from Carol’s article the photos show most of the commercial establishments in what was a vibrant business district. Much has changed and sadly not for the better.

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