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                                SCOTCH HILL : A COLONY BUILT FOR SCOTTISH WEAVERS
                                                      (Walker and Pike Streets)

   

Scotch Hill
Scotch Hill Homes




 

 

The first few Scots who came to Westbrook are believed to have arrived as early as 1852 and a few more trickled in during the 1860s and 70s and worked in the paper mill and on farms.  However, the first large  immigration occurred in 1881 when 42 Scots were recruited as experienced weavers. They arrived with machinery brought from Scotland for use in the Westbrook Manufacturing Company. The Scots left their homeland in the hope of improving their economic lots.

These 1881 weavers were subsequently followed by other native Scots who came to Westbrook in groups both large and small. These fine people lived in homes built for them by the Westbrook Manufacturing company. The homes were situated on a rise of land near the mills, on Walker and Pike Streets. The neighborhood soon became known as  “Scotch Hill” and is still called that today by older Westbook citizens.

The homes were laid out to form a horseshoe around a central field where rugby was played. Old timers would tell of the Scotch soccer and rugby games, when Westbrook teams played against crews of the English Steamboats docked in Portland Harbor. Often the people of Westbrook were treated to the novel sight of a brawny Highlander in kilt, plaid, bonnet and sportan, marching around the center field,  playing “stirring war marches, lively jibs and reels, and weird, doleful laments of his native land.”   These events carried on Scottish traditions while giving the people a sense of belonging here. The Scotch Caledonia Flute band played for all the parades in town. They also played at Scottish gatherings on the hill when lovely old ballads were sung from “Bonnie Scotland”. [See Photo Archives for an early article about the Cairns and the Kimond families.]

Over the years these families moved on to other places and the neighborhood became more diverse but descendants of the early settlers can still be found within our city, with names of Graham, Smith, Bell, Adair, MacNair, Millions, Burgh, Quinn, Bryson, and Hendersons, giving evidence of this once-fine community.

 
    scotch hill map
Parts of this article were taken from notes given to the Historical Society by Dorothy Kinmond LaChance. She drew the map on the left in the early 1950s, using her memories of the early settlement. It was passed on to the Society in 1991.
 
   
scotch hill2020
This 2020 photo was taken from Pike Street, looking toward homes on Walker Street. The central park is still a much used site for the neighborhood..

 
All photographs and information taken from Westbrook Historical Society archives, unless otherwise noted.
References: Neighborhoods Scrapbooks, Memories of Dorothy Kimond LaChance.
Comments welcomed at info@westbrookhistoricalsociety.org
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© 2006 Westbrook Historical Society, 17 Dunn Street, Westbrook, Maine 04092     •    (207) 854-5588
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