By Susan Worcester
It always amazes me how we think we know the story but then someone comes along and says, “No, that’s not quite the way it happened.” Well, that’s what happened late in the summer after the Brownville Junction High School scoreboard had been restored, installed for all to enjoy, and displayed at our open house! We’ve had TV coverage for the event and newspaper stories written and now it seems there was a missing chapter. Here it is:
In mid-August I received an email from Bob Berg – yes, son of Ralph Berg – asking me to call him. After playing phone tag for a few days we finally connected. He had additional information to add to the story of the retrieval of the scoreboard from the doomed Brownville Junction High School.
It seems that our assumption is that his dad, Ralph, did not take the scoreboard from the old high school before demolition. It kind of …. came to him! When the town decided the high school was of no value and voted to have it torn down, they hired the Leeman Brothers to do that job. For those of you who remember those men they had quite a lucrative business in salvage of old buildings. They were mostly interested in old beams, barn boards, other types of lumber and slate shingles … but not so much old scoreboards.
As Bob tells the story….one afternoon at the end of their work day the two brothers stopped at Berg’s Store outside town, as usual, to purchase a couple bottles of beer to enjoy on their way home. Their truck was loaded with debris from the high school which they would take to the dump on their way home. On top of it all wa s…. you guessed it: the scoreboard! Ralph had a conversation with the gentlemen about what they were going to do with it and “for the price of a couple of beers,” Bob says, “they left the scoreboard at the store.” Ralph sold the store in 1983 or 1984 so when he moved his business to Corinna, the scoreboard went, too. As it sat at the store in the Junction, it sat at the business location in Corinna.
Ralph passed away in 2000. Bob said that he had looked often at that scoreboard wondering just what to do with it. He thought that one day he would have it restored. His vision was that wherever it was displayed, there would be a plaque saying “Donated by Ralph Berg.” So before the museum opens in 2022 there will be an added plaque to the BJHS display indicating that the scoreboard was, indeed, “donated by Ralph Berg.”
This piece of history would never have been restored without the generous donations given by Bill Bellatty but it would never have been available for restoration had it not been rescued by Ralph Berg.
Thanks to Bob Berg for sharing the rest of the story.
Worcester is president of the Brownville-Brownville Junction Historical Society.