Seth Barden, Sara & Dan Boss, George Dean, Justin Dean, Ron & Michelle Desmarais, Ellen DeWitt, Catherine Ellison, Nancy Grant, Jef Hamlin, Teresa Hamlin, Ralph Jones, Mike Lundin, James Macomber, Theresa McMannus, Allen Monroe, Ralph Monroe, Mike Phillips, Bryce Royal
THE BEGINNING: 1996-2000
TRC began in 1996 as the OurTown Project, part of a competition sponsored by the Computer Learning Foundation. The project was designed as a hands-on experience for school students to do research and web design, and use that knowledge to promote their communities on the relatively new internet.
The original TRC Team consisted of members from a variety of different backgrounds: local community members, business leaders, school staff, and high school students. As we were connected to the local school system, we chose to represent the same towns that made up MSAD #41 in 1996 – Atkinson, Brownville, Lagrange, Lake View, and Milo – as well as Medford, who sent students there. We also included the Unorganized Townships of Orneville, Williamsburg, Barnard, Ebeemee, and Katahdin Iron Works.
The original version of the website contained a rudimentary community calendar, a very simple set of directories, general information about our communities, and some local news and highlights. It was hosted on donated webspace from our local Dial-Up ISP, KyND Internet.
By 1999, the high school students involved in the project had all graduated and moved away to college. The website went mostly without updates for nearly 2 years.
The website saw a rebirth in Spring of 2001 with new leadership and community members. The first major changes were moving to a real domain name, and a complete visual overhaul of the entire website. The Directory was made searchable, local Organizations were given webpages, and we added a news section and a brand new custom-designed calendar. We changed our official name from “Ourtown Project” to the “TRC Internet Project”. A few years later, we became the “TRC Alliance”. TRC also became the official website for each of its member towns at this time. TRC just kept expanding. We added more and more to the website, and continued improving as we went.
Three Rivers News
In 2002, TRC entered into a partnership with the Three Rivers Kiwanis to help publish the newly created “Three Rivers News”. The Kiwanis produced the print edition of the paper, and TRC published it online. In the beginning, we produced an actual webpage out of each issue, and posted it online. After a few years, we switched to using PDF files as it was much more convenient. The Three Rivers News was published from November 2001 till March 2012, for a total of 11 volumes and 494 issues. The entire collection can be viewed on the Milo Historical Society website.
TRC became the official website of the Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby in 2002, and we have provided live online coverage of the Prize Drawing every year since. We also started covering some local parades, a business expo, and the 100-Mile Wilderness Sled Dog Race with streaming webcams. The Sled Dog Race eventually grew into the Brownville Dog Days of Winter, and we’ve had a presence there every year.
Since the beginning, TRC had consisted of just the towns of MSAD #41. We eventually held an online poll in the Three Rivers News to see if we should expand our coverage. The answer was a resounding yes! We added Sebec to our coverage area in March 2002, and Bowerbank in September 2004.
TRC started to research permanent streaming webcams in 2004. We saw how popular they were in some towns, and people liked the idea of TRC having one. Trask Insurance bought and donated our first webcam in August 2004, and we installed it at their office on Main Street in Milo. The original camera took pictures every 10 seconds, round the clock. In October 2008, Trask Insurance bought our second webcam, which could see much better after dark. We installed the new camera on the Trask Insurance building, and moved the original camera to Brownville.
MODERN TIMES: 2010-2019
We added our third webcam, also sponsored by Trask Insurance, in July 2010. We installed this one on the south shore of Schoodic Lake, in Lake View Plantation. Sadly, this is the only webcam still in operation. The Milo and Brownville webcams both suffered electrical surges and stopped working. TRC is still working on getting them replaced.
In the last few years, we’ve been continuing to re-work and perfect the TRC website. We’ve tweaked sections, redone the visual look of the site, and overhauled the backend. We’ve also had several issues with web viruses, spam, and the likes. Every time we would fix the problems, they would rear their ugly heads again in another spot or fashion.
This prompted our most recent overhaul in September 2013 – TRC 8.0. Instead of trying to fix the problems, we rebuilt the entire website from the ground up. This hadn’t fully been done since 2001 when the site was overhauled from the archaic 90’s version. We chose a more modern software to run the site instead of hand-coded php and html files – Drupal. Drupal allows us much more control of editing and managing the website than we’ve ever had before!
In March of 2015, TRC gained 11 new webcams. Paid for by Trask Insurance of Milo, and installed by ProTech Solutions of Atkinson, these cameras are a great new addition to our site.
THE FUTURE: 2020-PRESENT
In 2020, we converted the site from Drupal to WordPress, and migrated to our new domain name of threeriverscommunity.me! The next year, we have started rolling site version 9.1, which will include complete overhauls to the Directory and Calendar!