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 the age of 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’s, said Moore piloted the last tanker up the Kennebec River to Hallowell in May 1966.

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 showed an expansive list of community organizations he was involved with, describing 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 the chairman of the 1962 Hallowell Bicentennial Committee. A 1992 Kennebec Journal report celebrates the 30th anniversary of the bicentennial and describes a slideshow 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.”

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 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 slideshow 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.”

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.

Moore also advocated vigorously for recogniztion 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. “It’s just a really great relationship. I really am very sad that he has departed.”

Webber recalled digging through documents at City Hall and finding a contract between Moore’s father and the Vaughn family to cut ice on Cascade Pond in Vaughn Woods. The ice-cutting business was started in 1867 by his great-grandfather William Moore II, and Moore recalled working on the pond in an interview featured on the Maine Memory Network.

“It was a terrible job,” he said. “You had to have at least 4 inches of ice on the pond before you could set up to start cutting.”

Mahoney remembered Moore as a meticulous landscaper and recalled a problem with a pesky raccoon that Moore asked him to solve.

“He called one day (and said) that there was a big raccoon eating all the shoots off of his willow tree,” he said, holding back a laugh. “He knew I had a handgun, and I managed to help him out.”

Larry Davis said Moore was a talented singer and pianist with a soft spot for dancing, even into his 80s.

“For a guy that you wouldn’t think (liked dancing), he really enjoyed it,” he said.

Bachelder said he visited with Moore in September to chat about Hallowell’s history. He recalled that Moore told him he had to learn all of the information about Hallowell because there weren’t many lifelong Hallowell residents left.

“He was a Hallowell man through and through,” Bachelder said.

A memorial service for Moore will take place in the spring at the Hallowell Cemetery.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME


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