’Round Town


Posted:  Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 7:00am

Almost exactly two years ago this fall the image above found its way into my viewfinder shortly after departing Wiscasset airport, in a Cessna “172” puddle jumper. I had a good batch of aerial work to do and was waiting for tree color and fair weather.

Many will know of this bridge but maybe not this view.

When driving across the Wiscasset bridge, it can be seen up the Sheepscot River to the north. It allows for Maine Eastern Railroad traffic to pass over the river from the Wiscasset section of the line to, I'm guessing, Edgecomb or maybe Newcastle.

One of the reasons this got my attention had nothing to do with photo work. It had to do with an old buddy I met while working at Main Street Photo in Damariscotta, back in the early 1990s.

Robert Burrage stopped by the lab pretty regularly back then and I found him really a very fascinating fellow. He was wound pretty tight and sometimes our conversations would drift outside so he could have a smoke while we chatted.

Bob went to school at Brown where he studied civil engineering. Not satisfied with just that amount of knowledge and whatever he was doing for work, he attended night school to become a lawyer. Fairly ambitious chap. His wife, Jean, who still lives in Damariscotta, was from a close-by suburb of Boston, attending college to study physical education. This was back in the ’40s I think. They married and Jean stayed home while Bob worked and studied for his law degree.

Bob sued the government. When he told stories about some of his “adventures,” like in Saudi Arabia, he would literally vibrate with excitement, reliving those experiences. He represented private contractors who were doing work for the government. Bob's civil engineering background and knowledege of the law were perfect for the job.

One day he told me about his love of bridges. “If you can ever get a photo of that railroad bridge above Wiscasset,” he said, “I'd love a copy.” I never got the photo before Bob passed over the final bridge, but it has always reminds me of him.