HALLOWELL — Arthur R. Moore Jr., a lifelong Hallowell citizen, was the city’s “biggest booster.”

That’s how friends remember the former city councilor and harbormaster, who died on Dec. 14 at 94.

Moore’s Hallowell roots run about as deep as they possibly could – he was a descendant of the city’s first settler, Deacon Pease Clark, who settled in 1762. According to his obituary, he graduated from Hallowell High School in 1942 before attending the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in New York.

During World War II, he served on a number of merchant ships in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea and South Pacific war zones. He had an Unlimited Master of Ocean’s License with the U.S. Coast Guard and added 42 First Class Pilotage Endorsements for harbors and rivers between the Kennebec River and Washington, D.C.

In 1954, he became a Kennebec River pilot, operating tankers, tugs and barges that delivered oil, grain and coal to Hallowell, Farmingdale and Gardiner. Sam Webber, a historian and longtime friend of Moore, said Moore piloted the last tanker up the Kennebec River to Hallowell in May 1966.

RIVER PILOT

Longtime friend Gerry Mahoney said some of the tankers he piloted were more than 280 feet long, and Moore would have to turn them around skillfully in the river.

“When they did that, the bow of the ship actually brushed against the tree branches on the Chelsea side of the river,” Mahoney said. “He was just proud of being a Kennebec River pilot.”

“He loved that river so,” said Moore’s sister Janis Cross.

Moore was the harbormaster in Hallowell from 1983 to 2007. Current harbormaster Dan Davis said he had a few conversations with him before Moore’s death.

“I thought he was a genuine and wonderful guy,” he said.

Moore’s obituary included an expansive list of community organizations he was involved with, and described him as a “tireless advocate” for Hallowell. He was a member of the Hubbard Free Library board of trustees, Row House Inc., the Hallowell Burial Ground Association, Maine Rail Group and Hallowell’s Goodrich-Caldwell American Legion Post.

Notably, he was chairman of the 1962 Hallowell Bicentennial Committee. A 1992 Kennebec Journal report celebrated the 30th anniversary of the bicentennial and described a slide show compiled by Moore, John Woodside and Dick Bachelder, who organized the celebration.

“It was just one real good time,” Bachelder said Friday. “It wasn’t a big fancy thing; it was just little Hallowell putting on a show.”

CITY COUNCILOR

Bachelder said marquee events were a beauty contest, a beard-growing contest, a dance at the City Hall and a parade that dwarfed the annual Old Hallowell Day parade. Gov. John H. Reed attended the 1962 celebration, he added.

“(Floats) were backed up on Second Street, Middle Street and even Warren Street,” Bachelder said. “They had a ‘Growing The Beard’ contest. It sounds foolish now, but in those days, we could be entertained easier then than we are now.”

The slide show featured documents from 1620 bearing the signature of the city’s namesake, Benjamin Hallowell; deeds of Deacon Pease Clark’s land; and images of colorful characters from the city such as furniture maker John Stringer and musician Jimmy the Bugler. Webber said he made sure those items were preserved at the Hubbard Free Library.

“He did a wonderful job in bringing that all together,” Webber said.

Moore also served as a city councilor for Ward 5.

Cross said her brother was persistent in pushing for development in Hallowell and along the Kennebec River. His dedication to the cause was recognized with the completion of Granite City Park, a public recreation space on the river he loved, in the city he loved.

“He was just so proud of Hallowell, always; it was home and he loved it,” she said. “He loved participating and doing things in groups to try and make Hallowell better and more available to people.”

BOOK AUTHOR

Larry Davis, the harbormaster who took over after Moore, worked with Moore and Mahoney on a committee that advocated for development along the river, eventually resulting in the bulkhead at the park.

“He was the longest and loudest voice on that,” Davis said. “He was instrumental in moving that forward.”

In 1983, Moore authored a book about American merchant vessels sunk during World War II titled “A Careless Word … A Needless Sink.” A March 23, 1983, report in the Kennebec Journal called the book a “labor of love.”

“It’s not something the general public would buy. That’s why I couldn’t get a publisher,” Moore told the newspaper at that time. “It’s a nonprofit thing.”

Mahoney said Moore would travel to Washington, D.C., to look through the National Archives while he was writing the book.

“It was a huge physical effort, as well as intellectual and literary effort,” Mahoney said.

VETERANS ADVOCATE

Moore also advocated vigorously for recognition of Hallowell’s military veterans. He and his wife, Florence, co-chaired a fundraising committee for the Hallowell Veterans Granite Memorial monument at the Hallowell Cemetery. Webber said he helped Moore gather names to be put on the monument.

Webber said he and Moore would take up little historical projects, and they constantly traded documents and photos to be added to collections.

“(It was) more of a family relationship; we were friends forever,” Webber said, adding he had known Moore since he was 9 years old. “I really am very sad that he has departed.”

Sam Shepherd can be contacted at 621-5666 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: SamShepME

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