Hayes Law Office relocating for 2024
Note: The Hon. Kevin Stitham (retired) wrote most of this history for an invitation to a Piscataquis County Bar meeting. The exception is the second to last paragraph added for clarity.
Charles W. Hayes was admitted to the Maine Bar on Sept. 24, 1889 at age 24. On Aug. 25, 1909 D.H. Danforth and Judge C.W. Hayes purchased from H.L. Knowlton the office building at 5 Lincoln Street next to the Opera House in the town of Foxcroft. They paid him $1,200. A few months later they sold the building to B.A. Thomas; he moved the entire building to his land on the east side of Railroad Avenue, on the south side of the stream (this building still stands today).
With the building removed, Danforth and Hayes contracted for the erection of a building 22 by 32 feet, two stories high, and built of concrete blocks. Hayes had the foresight to have the roof constructed of concrete a full two feet thick (this wound up saving the structure when on Dec. 31, 1935 the top portion of the 4-story eastern wall of the burning Opera House collapsed onto the Hayes Law office building. The construction was not without incident, as it was reported in the Piscataquis Observer that Henry Pearl fell 30 feet from a platform, down a shaft landing on his feet, and save for a general shaking up and slight sprain of the left ankle, escaped what might have been a serious accident.
There were two offices, one on each floor. The building shared a common wall with a portion of the eastern brick wall of the Opera House. Hayes’ law office was on the first floor; Danforth was on the second floor. Danforth was a lumberman selling long and short lumber, and peeled spruce for pulpwood. On Jan. 6, 1922 Danforth conveyed his half interest in the 5 Lincoln Street property to Charles Hayes.
On Sept. 24, 1971 the three law partners in the Hayes Law Office at 5 Lincoln Street, Stuart Hayes, Jack Easton, and James White purchased the two story building that Willis Parsons Esq. had designed and had built at 7 Lincoln Street back in the late 1880s. Parson’s law office was on the first floor (after his death, Judge Burgess rented this space for his law office). An interior passage was built connecting the two buildings, so Jack and Jim joined Stu with offices for all on the first floor of the combined buildings.
The Hayes Law Office continued to practice in these two buildings right up through today with attorney Tonya H. Johnson joining the firm in 1994. She has had the pleasure of practicing with Stuart Hayes, as well as many other great Piscataquis County lawyers, most recently including attorney Neil Hamlin until he retired in 2017 and has been the sole owner for the last 25 years.
And so it will come to pass that on Dec. 31, 2023 the Hayes Law Office will leave its home on Lincoln Street – exactly 114 years and 128 days after its founder Charles W. Hayes took a chance and bought 5 Lincoln Street with Danforth. The new year will see the Hayes Law Office, far above its former location on the flood plain of the Piscataquis River at its new location of 572 Bangor Road.