What's in a name? Bog Hoot. Jericho. McFalls. Mechanics Falls. Shakespeare said it best in his play about star-crossed lovers when Juliet says "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
And so Mechanic Falls, or Mechanics Falls, is still one and the same town. Eriks Petersons, president of the Mechanic Falls Historical Society, sent along in a recent email this history of the town's names:
“The earliest records indicate that Mechanic or Mechanics Falls was the unofficial name for the village. At the time prior to its becoming a town, Mechanic Falls was listed as a village which saddled the Little Androscoggin River on the Minot and Poland sides.
"In 1841 a post office was established in the village under the direction of S.F. Waterman and the official title became Mechanics Falls — the word 'mechanics' being attributed to the kind of work being done at the mills by the laborers. But the letter 's' at the end of Mechanics was usually dropped off. In 1887, under the direction of the postmaster in town, Frank A. Millet, Mechanic Falls became the official designation.
"Since 1823, when more people started arriving, the village was given a variety of 'nicknames' such as Bog Falls, Jericho, Groggy Harbor and Bog Hoot, but none passed muster. The nicknames are an amusing sidelight and now are merely used as advertisement features.”
The name "Bog Hoot" came from the area being swampy and there being a lot of owls who took up residence there. When you're in town, drop by the Bog Hoot Bar and Grill at 68 Maple St. — open at 4 p.m. every day but Tuesday. 345-9422.
Looking to have some fun in Mechanic Falls (pop. about 3,000)? Give the Wolf Run Karting Raceway and Disc Golf a call. They will be moving their go-karts back to the raceway the first week of May, so call and make a reservation. The Disc Golf is open year-round, currently has 12 stations, but will be enlarged to 18 soon. Check out their website at www.wolfrunraceway.com or call them at 713-6600.
And there's more to do and see while you are in town. If you're lucky, you may run into one of the brainy members of the two teams from Elm Street School who took first place in the recent Maine Destination Imagination competition and are now going to Tennessee for the world finals in May. Wish them luck.
And if you visit June 22 or 23, you can take part in the annual Community Day celebration. There will be a road race, parade, arts and crafts vendors, antique car show, fair food, games, a book sale, a chicken barbecue and more. So plan a trip soon.
Goss Berry Farm
311 Elm St.
Owners Walter and Sharon Goss are busy with getting the farm ready. They have pick-your-own high bush blueberries and raspberries in season. During a recent visit to the farm the plants were beginning to leaf out and Walter said that in a couple weeks they will be covered in blossoms. He has 10 acres devoted to the berries, which will all be ready to pick around the first of July. But don't wait till then, stop by and see the farm.
Farmhouse Pizza and Deli
Harvest Hill Farms
125 Pigeon Hill Road (Route 26)
This is a large farm that serves up more than pizza, but their pizza is great, so make sure you go try it out. Wednesday is pizza special day. Harvest Hills Farm is also home to Pumpkin Land in the fall, raises and sells range-fed beef, and has a farm market that sells fresh baked breads, pies, fine wines, beef, poultry and more. Check out their website for more information.
The Falls Country Gift Shoppe
33 Elm St.
This is a great shop to visit. They are open Wednesday through Sunday and are filled with country crafts, gifts and antiques.
Mechanic Falls Historical Society
64 Elm St.
345-2871 (Town Office)
Society President Eriks Petersons is the person to talk to if you need information. The historical society recently moved into its new home, which was formerly the Congregational Church. They serve up an "almost famous" roast beef dinner, so on May 5 join them for that. On May 6, a Sunday afternoon, there will be an organ concert. Call for more information.
128 Lewiston Road
This shop has lots of collectibles, including old signs and posters, musical instruments and sports memorabilia, and is now a pawn shop too.