Farmington Corner :

a surrealistic compendium of life in the American boonies.

By John Nolan

All columns strictly Copyright - John Nolan

Now on sale: The collected poems and songs of Farmington Corner. See details below

Farmington, pre-1700 was known as Chemung - gathering place of the canoes - but when aboriginal fishing was forcibly replaced by rapacious logging, the name changed to Puddledock. And when the old timber was gone, it became Farmington, although with the poverty of the soil, the abundance of rocks and the harshness of the winters, Scrapealivington would have been a more apt name. Then, in the late 1800s came the mills and the shoe factories, attracted by the water power of the Cocheco River and its tributaries, Kicking Horse Brook, Pokeamoonshine, the Mad River, the Ela River and Dick Dame Brook, all of which converge in Farmington.

As with other industrial spasms, a few people got rich and most folks stayed poor. Wages were low (except on piecework) and unions were almost non-existent thanks to a useful immigration policy which ensured a ready supply of workers from Quebec. The backlash to this influx of Catholic migrant workers, was the flourishing of Ku Klux Klan chapters in Farmington and neighboring Rochester, peaking in the 1920s. 

This, too, has passed, and today the area is as free of religious bigotry as it is of old trees and farms.  With the last shoe-shop closing in the 1980s and now demolished, most of the town's population of 6,000 heads south out of the scrubby forest each morning on the Spaulding Turnpike to office and factory jobs further down the Cocheco valley. A fairly easy commute, even in snowstorms, from a town where early breakfasts are an echo of the farming past, basketball rivals MTV in popularity, and of an evening, Budweiser is the refreshment of choice. 

Years roll by; people, real and occasionally fictional, weave in and out of the columns. Folks age and die ... too soon in three or four sorely missed instances, and this quirky history is dedicated to them, and to their sparkles of fun amid the grit of daily life.   J.N.


001. Avoiding controversy

002 The Valley of the Clauses

003. Where I Stand On Gum

004. Collective Claus Winner

005. Percy's Engine

006 Dog Officer - Who's It Gonna Bbe?

007 Dead Henry

008 Dog Officer 1 Dogs 2

009 Dogfight at Bean's Barn

010 Mark Antonio

011 Have We Hired a Monster?

012 Helium Balloons and Dogs

013 Stop Signs Go

014 Cuckoos on the Mountain

015 A Night at the ZBA

016 Electrical News

017 One Step Sideways

018 Rats!

019 Good-bye!

020 The Deerhunters

021 Watch This Space

022 Noel - A Short Farce

023 The Dump Padlock Key

024 The Kennedy Painting

025 The Septic Lagoon

026 Fresh Hopes

027 Winter Carnival Slides Closer

028 Big Cake

029 The Language of Flowers

030 Hanging Out With More Flags

031 U.S. VP Henry Wilson Winter Carnival

032 Woman's Club Dissemination of facts

033 Name That Song

034 Calypso Beats Out Reggae

035 Eternal Triangles

036 Writes of Spring

037 Minority Sports

038 After Thoughts

039 Foot Fetish and More

040 Stones, Stumps, Structures

041 Embarrassments 1, 2 & 3

042 Musical Notations

043 From Gold to Dust

044 Summer Reading

045 Doctor Spooner I Presume, Typesetter

046 Ecstasy and Agony

047 What Rhymes With Skunk?

048 It Was a Very Good Year

049 To Be, Or Not To Be?

050 Twenty Parrots Wanted


PART 2  FC  51 - FC100

PART 3  FC101 - FC150

PART 4  FC151 - FC200

PART 5  FC201 - FC312


FC Gallery No. 1 - Henry Wilson


FC Gallery No. 2 - Who's Who, What's What


If you enjoy Farmington Corner, make sure you have this companion guide with indispensable notes that only the passage of time has made possible.



Ramgunshoch Press presents The Poems and Songs of Farmington Corner. This is the book with everything a reader could possibly want - an inside title page, a preface (thanks to Alasdair Gray for that idea), a table of contents, a glossary, copious notes, and an index. But wait, there's more. As a bonus, this book also contains 60 poems gleaned from Farmington Corner, including Hiawatha's Mudding, The Battle of Chevy Chase, the Hackett's Crevasse Elegies, Peacock Poems 1-5 and much, much more.

You need even more? There is even more ..  a dozen unique illustrations by our favorite cartoonist, Stephanie Piro.

With a strong, yet tasteful, spiral binding, and a protective clear plastic cover, this genuine Made in Farmington book is available for the remarkably low price of $6.95 plus $2 shipping (U.S. and Canada) - actual postage cost elsewhere in the world.

Call or fax (603) 755-2925, or e-mail

Note: $1 from the sale of each book is donated to Farmington Historical Society.