The Libby Family on May 12, celebrating the unveiling on the “Libby Corner” sign that was posted at the intersection of Payne and Gorham Road in Scarborough. The Scarborough Police Department sponsored the sign. Catherine Bart photo

SCARBOROUGH — Libby’s Corner, at the intersection of Gorham and Payne Road in Scarborough, now has signage dubbing it as such, something the family has wanted the town to do for the last eight years.

A combined effort has made the “Libby Corner” sign possible, with the Scarborough Police Department sponsoring the post that went into place next to Sam’s Club, facing the Gorham and Payne Road intersection, on May 12.

For over 200 years, Libby family members have inhabited three of the four corners at the intersection, said Rebecca (Libby) Arsenault. Back in the 1700s, the Libbys owned a stagecoach weigh station there that served travelers going from Portland to Boston.

The Libby family lived on the intersection from 1710 until 1987, said Donna (Libby) Leeman, who spearheaded the idea for the sign.

Stagecoaches would stop in Scarborough at the Libby’s homestead and weigh station during a time when nothing else was in the area, Arsenault said.

“My ancestors ran a weigh station, and then those stagecoaches would continue to Boston,” she said. “That history is what my cousin pushed to get recognized.”

Chief Robert Moulton uncovering the Libby Corner sign on May 12. Catherine Bart photo

The project turned out to be more difficult than Police Chief Robert Moulton had initially thought it would be, he said. While speaking to a Libby family member two or three years ago, Moulton learned about the desire for a sign.

“When she was describing this and saying she had been trying to get the town to find a way to recognize the spot, I mistakenly thought, ‘Well, that should be fairly easy,'” he said. “So I thought it would be pretty simple to get the powers that be to erect a sign there and have it reflect that that was Libby’s Corner. Unfortunately, things are never as easy as they seem. Although folks weren’t opposed to the idea, it was a situation where they’re thinking that if they were going to do that for one area, it wouldn’t be fair to just select one. There are several different areas in town that have some history and should be recognized, so then it became a project of trying to identify what those areas would be.”

Community Resource Sgt. Steve Thibodeau and the Scarborough Historical Society worked together to identify about 30 other historically significant locations, Thibodeau said. After that, Thibodeau checked with Public Works to see if putting a sign up by Sam’s Club would be safe.

“I hope to carry it forward to the other spots that I see should be identified from that list,” he said.

The Police Department sponsored the Libby’s Corner sign, covering the $200 cost that it took to get the sign in the ground, said Thibodeau. He and Moulton said they hope to reach out to other families and neighborhood organizations to sponsor future signs, preventing them from being a cost to the town.

“If we don’t start documenting our history, we lose it, and future generations won’t know it or see it and understand it,” Moulton said. “I think that’s important. We’ve got lots of officers here who had no idea that was Libby’s Corner. We have an older population and some of our old-timers identify things by those, so when somebody calls into dispatch and says, I’m at Harmon’s Corner, there are probably a number of folks who will say, ‘Harmon’s Corner? What is that?'”

The Zebulon Libby Farm. According to information posted to the Scarborough Police Department’s Facebook page, the farm house pictured was across from Route 114 and burned down in 1932. Courtesy photo Scarborough Historical Society

Thibodeau has been in Scarborough for 25 years and never knew that the intersection was referred to as “Libby’s Corner,” he said.

“I found the historical portion of that information that was given to me by the chief meant a lot,” he said. “It meant a lot to the family, but for somebody like me it meant a lot when I go out on patrol. I go by there a few times a day. It just struck me that once upon a time that was the Libby’s family’s family.”

Identifying historical areas in town can also serve safety purposes, Thibodeau said.

“If a car accident happens and a dispatcher asks, “Where are you?’ somebody can look over and say, ‘Well, it says the Libby Corner,'” he said. “Hopefully, that’s a frame of reference people can pick up on, younger kids or folks who have run into some danger and need help as quickly as they can.”

Thibodeau had the idea to put up QR codes, a way for smartphones to scan links onto their devices by taking a picture of the code, on future signs that are in pedestrian areas so that people can read about the history of an area on their phones, Moulton said.

Arsenault and Leeman said the Libbys are grateful to Moulton for helping the town recognize the family, Leeman adding that the sign may not have been possible without Moulton’s help.

“We’re thrilled the town has done this,” Arsenault said.

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