Maine History News…Events…

Rockland to vote on preserving historic signs

ROCKLAND (Feb 3): The Senter Crane and J.F. Gregory stores have long been closed but a city councilor has proposed a local law that would allow their signs to remain as historic reminders of downtown Rockland’s past. Rockland City Councilor Tom Molloy has proposed an ordinance amendment that would exempt downtown signs, deemed to be of historic significance, from the city’s sign ordinance. The council will consider the ordinance at its Monday, Feb. 9 meeting that begins at 7 p.m. at city hall…………….

After snowstorms, Capers of yesteryear ‘broke the road’ with rollers, horses, shovels

Cape Elizabeth historians remember when Cape had mountains of snow. The late Connie Murray, founder of the Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society, remembered her grandmother talking about “day after day” of heavy snow, and how glad she was when the sleigh finally could get through the snow. Cape residents of the past frequently talked about snow in their diaries, historical society member Wayne Brooking said. “The condition of the roads was very important,” because people were very isolated until roads were passable, Brooking said. After a heavy snowfall, “men would gather and try to get through,” which they called “breaking the road.”……………….

From the emails………

Jonathan Yellowbear to talk about native people

The Lincoln County Historical Association continues its annual Winter Lecture Series at 2 p.m. Sunday, downstairs at the 911 Communications Center, behind the Lincoln County Courthouse at routes 1 and 27.
The program features Jonathan Yellowbear, an Abenaki Indian and living history presenter. His talk is “Once We Were Here: Native Peoples of Our Region.” To find out more, visit For schedule changes due to weather, call Jay Robbins at 737-2239 after 10:30 a.m. on the day of the lecture.

Skyline Farm to open museum during sleigh day

Skyline Farm will host its 10th annual Sleigh Day and the opening of its new sleigh exhibit from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the carriage museum. Attendees should dress warmly. Admission is $8 for ages 7 and older and includes one sleigh ride. For more details, call Lynn Young at 829-5838 or e-mail

The Raymond-Casco Historical Society is seeking photographs and other memorabilia from past Casco Days events to create a permanent historical exhibit for display. The exhibit will be displayed during the 75th annual Casco Days in July. To donate or for more information, call 998-3123 or 627-4989 or e-mail

Freeport Historical Society needs Pettengill Farm stewards, Harrington House greeters and docents and project volunteers, 865-3170.

National news from History News Network…..

Auction for Revolutionary War letter with LI link
Posted: 03 Feb 2009 12:07 AM CST
Source: Newsday (2-2-09)
One of three known letters written by Gen. George Washington about his Long Island spy network in the American Revolution is scheduled to be auctioned in Manhattan next week.Stony Brook University, which already owns one of the historically important letters about the Setauket Spy Ring, is hoping to add a second to its colonial document collection at the Feb. 12 sale by Christie’s.The 1780 letter, owned by an unnamed private collector, was written by the commander of the Continental Army to Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge, his head of intelligence, about giving recognition after the war to Oyster Bay resident Robert Townsend, aka Culper Jr., his chief spy. Christie’s estimates the letter will sell for $25,000 to $35,000. Manuscript specialist Pat McGrath said the estimate would be much higher if not for the economic downturn.

Recession forces historians to make do
Posted: 03 Feb 2009 12:03 AM CST
Source: Newark Advocate (2-1-09)
The Civil War flag that was brandished by the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry is wrapped tightly around its pole. It’s a delicate task to unfurl the almost 150-year-old banner without it crumbling.Yet, the humidity-raising chamber used to loosen the material consists of a homemade aluminum frame covered with a plastic-like film. It was built with parts from Lowe’s that cost less than $500. The work is being done in a warehouse and in a homemade chamber instead of with state-of-the-art equipment costing as much as $20,000.With the recession tightening its grip, budgets being cut and donors drying up, preservationists are scaling back on restorations.The Ohio Historical Society is trying to preserve much of the Ohio Adjutant General’s battle flag collection — 552 flags carried in five wars. Most earlier preservation was carried out in the 1960s and to date, only 18 flags have been preserved using updated, more costly techniques paid for largely by private funds.
Norwich renews push to find Lincoln portrait
Posted: 03 Feb 2009 12:00 AM CST
Source: Hartford Courant (2-1-09)
Norwich officials are renewing the search for whoever stole a large portrait of Abraham Lincoln from the entrance of Norwich Ckty Hall about 15 years ago. The picture has been missing since 1994, when someone cut it from its large Victorian frame and left with it in the middle of the night. The case was assigned to the detective division, but police came up empty with every lead they followed.Part of the difficulty, authorities say, is that they could not find old pictures of the portrait. Now, however, police and city officials say the investigation may get a big boost because they recently learned that historian William Hosley had a copy and had digitized it along with many others in his collection.
Opposition to Wal-Mart development growing North and South
Posted: 02 Feb 2009 08:41 PM CST
Source: (1-31-09)
The so-called “Wilderness Wal-Mart” in Orange County is catching grief from both North and South–and elected officials on both ends of the political spectrum.U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, a conservative Republican from eastern Texas, has expressed to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott his “profound disappointment” about the giant retailer’s plan to build a Supercenter beside the Civil War battlefield. In a letter written last week, he urges Scott to give the matter “immediate reconsideration.”Meanwhile, lawmakers in Vermont–a haven for independent-minded Democrats–are holding hearings on the issue. Vermont troops suffered their worst casualties of the war in the Battle of the Wilderness, turning back a Confederate attack that threatened to split the Union Army.The Vermont Senate and House are considering whether to ask Wal-Mart to move the store farther from the entrance to Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, according to Howard Coffin, a Civil War historian and author who lives in Montpelier, the state capital.

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