Alexander/Crawford History

By John Dudley 

& Cassie Oakes


Do you know how public roads came to be?  Last week we wrote how roads ceased being public ways.  Here is some history about roads we travel in our area.  This information comes from Volume One of the Washington County Commissioners Ledger Book.

The earliest mention of a road created here by a public body (government) was the 1806 survey of a “short way” from Machias to Calais.  That line came from Cooper along today’s Cooper Road to the present Airline then through the woods northerly then east to the Houlton Road at the top of Bailey Hill.  This actually was a trail from Lund’s Corner to Cooper, then a blazed line to the Houlton Road.

In 1807 John Cooper and others petitioned the Commissioners begging repairs to the county road in Townships 18 (Berry) and 13 (Marion) east of Machias which is in an impassable, unsafe and unfit state for travelers either with horse, ox or on foot.  The Commission solved the problem by ordering the proprietors to appear before them on August 3, 1807.  (This road is from Lund’s Corner to East Machias line near McGeorge’s RR Crossing.)

In 1818 John Black and others petitioned the Commission to lay out a road from the Calais Post Office to Plantation #6 (Baring).  This petition was approved with all expenses beyond $20.00 being borne by the petitioners.  (This was part of the Houlton Road and the approved 1806 survey.)

In 1823 Samuel Coombs petitioned for a road to be laid out from Cooper to Plantation #3  from the docket.  (This road would include parts of routes 191 and 214.  Meddybemps had not been set off from Cooper, Charlotte and Baring by 1823.  Who was Samuel Coombs?)

In 1824 Stephen Babcock and others petitioned for a road from Plantation #16 (Alexander) to Calais.  The Commission found this was similar to a petition of William Vance, so the Babcock petition was stayed.  (Babcock lived on Breakneck and likely wanted repairs to the present day Airline.)

In March 1971 the voters approved the purchase of a private road from the Airline to Pleasant Lake.  The Davis Road is named for its builder and former owner.

At the March 1991 town meeting the voters accepted as a public way a road from the south end of the Davis Road to Brent Kavanaugh’s driveway on the Arm Road.  That entire road from the Davis Road became the Crawford Road.

So a way becomes public by government action, and the same government can discontinue or abandon a public way.