2012-12-07 / People

Sparky, the Kaler School crossing guard

Harold “Sparky” Coolbroth, a longtime crossing guard and janitor at Kaler School. (Courtesy photo) Harold “Sparky” Coolbroth, a longtime crossing guard and janitor at Kaler School. (Courtesy photo) By Kathryn DiPhilippo

South Portland Historical Society

The South Portland Historical Society created a program series back in 2007 known as Evening Chats. These oral history programs are designed to capture and preserve the memories of both past and current residents. So much of what happens in life is never written down, so we value these programs and the wonderful stories that are shared and recorded for future generations.

In November, we held the most recent installment in the series, this time covering the Pleasantdale neighborhood. We had a full room of residents who remembered many different periods of time and who shared memories of growing up in the area of South Portland that lies between Anthoine and Evans streets. Thank you to Tom Blake who moderated this program and shared his own memories of growing up in the neighborhood. In preparation for the program, many current and former residents also came forward with some wonderful photographs to share that featured people and places familiar to Pleasantdale.

The accompanying photograph came to us courtesy of Judith Murphy. It is a delightful image from 1959 that shows Harold “Sparky” Coolbroth, who worked as the janitor at Kaler School and who the “kids” from that time remembered as being their beloved crossing guard, as well.

The historical society will showcase Pleasantdale in an exhibit at the museum next year. If you have photographs to share of the people or places of this neighborhood, we hope that you will contact the historical society at 767-7299 or visit its museum at 55 Bug Light Park, South Portland.

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