Biddeford Pool Community Center’s Mission
To promote the social and general welfare of the inhabitants of the Biddeford Pool area in Biddeford, Maine, while fostering assistance (educational and /or charitable) to persons in need.
Biddeford Pool Community Center’s History
The Biddeford Pool Community Center (BPCC), formerly known as the Biddeford Pool Community Club, has a long and vibrant history. The mission and values that the Center serves today have existed since its founding in 1937. From its Temperance origins to the 2015 decision of the membership to change the name of the organization, the Center has provided a place for community gathering and served as a resource for many people in the area.
By the mid 1800’s, the Temperance movement, whose members pledged to abstain from alcohol, had grown in number and influence since its beginnings in Boston some 30 years earlier. Maine became the first state to ban alcohol in 1851, and for the next eighty years temperance meetings were held throughout the state. For this purpose, the Maine Order of Good Templar’s raised the original building in Biddeford Pool on land donated by the late Nathaniel Davis in the 1870’s, and named it Atlantic Hall #99. Articles from an 1878 report on annual temperance gatherings in the Camp Ellis area explained that people were often ferried across the Saco River to the “Hall” in Biddeford Pool for meetings. As an interesting aside it is rumored that St Martins Episcopal Church which is now located on St. Martins Lane held their services at Atlantic Hall #99 in their early years. No idea how that happened as they were not known as teetotalers and surly did not sign any pledges to Temperance. Maybe this type of accommodation by the local Templar’s is just an example of their sense of community which shows itself again after prohibition ends.