By Leslie H. Dixon
NORTH WATERFORD — 04267. It’s a community’s identity.
The North Waterford Post Office has a new sign to show the beauty and life in the 04267 zip code village.
“I had fun doing it,” said local artist and box holder David Dupree, who created the new sign that has been hung at the post office on Valley Road after the old one succumbed to 60 years of Maine weather.
Dupree said he got the inspiration for the east-facing side of the sign by driving down Five Kezars Road, which is rich with ponds and blackberries, blueberries, wildlife and more. The pond pictured is one of the many ponds in Five Kezars.
The west-facing side of the sign shows daily life in the village of North Waterford.
“I did have fun doing it and hope the community enjoys it,” Dupree said as he stood with retired Postmaster Kathleen McAllister and Maxine Roak, who raised funds to make a donation to Dupree for his work.
The last sign, which showed Five Kezars, hung on the signpost outside of the post office for 60 years and was painted by Micky Liimata of West Paris, who over the years painted a number of local signs. These include the star of life symbol on the on Tri-Town Rescue’s new building at Trapp Corner in West Paris and the new Oxford Fairgrounds sign on Route 26 at Pottle Road.
The Five Kezars include Back Pond, Little Mud Pond, Middle Pond, Mud Pond and Jewett Pond. The cluster of small ponds form the headwaters of the Kezar River and cover about 222 acres. The area has been home to many of the North Waterford postmasters and now Dupree himself.
“There has always been a sign with two of the five Kezar Ponds painted on it designating the North Waterford Post Office,” said McAllister.
She said that when her late husband, Irving McAllister, was formerly the North Waterford postmaster, Liimata made the sign, using the original sign as a guide, to replace the original that was not repairable.
It pictured Five Kezars on both sides and was later restored by local artist and boxholder Roger Green III. But over the years it too became so damaged by the weather that it had to come down. It was deemed unsalavagle.
When that sign became too weathered and unrepairable, they looked to Dupree for help.
The North Waterford community, spearheaded by Roak and others, rallied to get a new sign in place.
This sign has been painted in acrylic paints and several protective coats of polyurethane to ensure it holds up to the weather.
Current Postmaster Deborah Mason said she first had to get permission from the landlord of the building – a former school house – but the project was strictly a community effort.
“I left it up to David,” Masse said when asked if she had any suggestions for the sign.
Dupree said he opted to do something a little different this time.
“Why not have different pictures on each side,” he said.
Dupree has lived, worked and traveled across the country painting landscape and other scenes with oils for many years. He moved to Maine in 1985 and started painting his experiences in the Oxford Hills and lakes region.
“I have been a ‘day-dreamer’ as long as I can remember and all of my art is a window of the daydreams. The images reflected in my paintings are from those ‘daydreams’ or memories,” he says of himself on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/david.e.dupree.
The sign signifies what North Waterford is all about, say community members.
“For at least 60 years now, the [post office] sign has been a very big part of our little hamlet, such an important part of the North Waterford post office history,” McAllister wrote in a statement about the sign history.
Roak, who collected donations to give to the artist said she is still accepting donation. Donations may be sent to Maxine Roak at P.O. Box 66, North Waterford, ME 04267.