How many of us ride through Waldo County each day and encounter things that we know have an untold story? Often, the passage of time has worked its shift and the story becomes lost. But it is only lost if the people who know the story remain silent, or time buries it along with the people who knew the story. Sometimes a forgotten story stirs the memory of a person who knows, and the story regains its life in the re-telling. This is one such example.

 

Let us begin this story by identifying where “the slab of Edgecomb Road” is located. (Note: Edgecomb Road in Belfast connects Route 52 to Route 3.) If you were to drive south on Route 52 from Route 1 at the traffic light, you would travel approximately 1 mile to the intersection of Edgecomb Road and turn right, heading for Route 3. As you turn on to Edgecomb Road, you are immediately traveling down a fairly steep incline to the bottom where a stream crosses under the road through a culvert. The road temporarily flattens out here before another culvert is encountered, and the road starts to progress up another incline. Where the road flattens out, almost across from Frank Wareham’s driveway, if you look to the left side of the road, there appears to be a bunch of alders in the delta created by the convergence of the two streams. Close inspection however will reveal that there is a square concrete slab, overgrown with years of green moss, alders and accumulated debris from numerous storms. This slab looks very aged with the ever-present alders and roots looking to exploit a defect, crack or other weak spot in the slab into which the could spread their growth, further deteriorating this man-made piece of modern technology. Also, erosion from storms and water has played their part in the passage of time to add to the degraded and forgotten look of this place. Pieces of an abandoned automobile also grace one side of this small lot. It just begs explanation.

 

Why is this slab of concrete here? Who placed it? What happened here long ago? Who owns it now? Is there a story here? Can anyone answer these questions?

 

The answer is, I can answer some of these questions, but not all. Yes, there is a story here. It does not have a happy ending, but it is a true story. I happen to know the story and am more than happy to share it with you.

 

A gentleman once lived where the slab is now located, and his name was Charles Ward. He was the great-uncle of current Belfast Police Department officer Wendell Ward. The home that was located there was small and if memory serves, was not in the best of conditions. Bear in mind that at the time, I was a very young boy, so I may make a few errors in the details of the story and welcome any corrections some of the older population in the area may be able to provide. As this story goes back 35 or 40 years, and being the age I was at the time, I hope my memory serves me accurately.

 

My dad, Richard Oxton Sr., knew Charlie, probably because both of his brothers — Wallace and Eddie — worked with my dad at State Sand & Gravel at the time. I also remember my dad had a lot of respect for Charlie, and every weekend when we drove out to State Sand in the mornings to check on the heat, he oftentimes would stop there for a brief visit. I remember my dad saying his home must be difficult to heat as it was not in the best condition. I also recall my dad mentioned the floor was made of wood only, with no foundation. The floor had a few weak spots and the cold entered through these. I’m sure there was a lot of friendly conversation on this subject, but being a small boy and attention spans being what they are, I have limited memory of them.

 

My dad was a concrete truck driver for State Sand at the time, and his uncle owned the company. He told Charlie if he could ever remove or rebuild his home, somehow he would see to it that it got a concrete floor. My memory skips here to a time when Charlie had done just that, removed the home, and I was with my dad as he set up the forms for the slab and as it was poured. I remember my dad was pleased with being able to help Charlie and everything was going as planned. Charlie had made arrangements somehow for new lumber and planned on rebuilding his home.

 

I don’t remember the details, being of a young age, but suddenly my dad was upset. No home would be built there after all. A gentleman from the state of Maine working for the Department of Environmental Protection had shown up and said no home could be built that close to the streams. So, Charlie had to relocate, again, and thus the site became known as “the slab of Edgecomb Road.” Charlie had no hard feelings toward my dad, as he knew dad was only trying to help him. I think he had a few toward the state government, however.

 

This is the true story of this aged piece of concrete, “the slab of Edgecomb Road.”

 

Richard Oxton Jr. submitted this story for publication.