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On Oct. 18, 1996, a hurricane stalled off the coast brought heavy rains to portions of southern Maine. Westbrook was in the path of this storm and received more than 18 inches of rain. The Presumpscot River overflowed its banks, causing severe damage throughout the city. Bridges on Spring Street and Saco Street were washed away, The Highland Lake Dam collapsed, and S.D. Warren (Sappi Fine Paper) sustained millions of dollars in damages. Homes and businesses in the area of the river also sustained serious damage. The photo on the left shows Bridgton Road at East Bridge Street on the morning of Oct. 22, 1996, with the intersection under water. The first floor of the building occupied by Dunkin’ Donuts was under water, as was the T & T Golf Course and adjacent office building across the street. The one-story pro shop at the golf course was washed away.

On the right, the photo shows the intersection today with the recently renovated Dunkin’ Donuts. Note to readers: Mike Sanphy, who puts together Westbrook Then & Now every week, is seeking old photos of city scenes to be used in future columns. Photos – and whatever information can be provided about the scenes – can be dropped off for Sanphy at the American Journal office, 840 Main St. They’ll be scanned and returned.

Research and photos courtesy of Mike Sanphy


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