Maine History News for 21 May 2009

Special announcement!

The week of June 14 has been designated “Maine Lighthouse Week”. We at Maine Lighthouse Tours have extended it a few more days to include June 26, and have planned a very special” one day tour to

Matinicus Rock Lighthouse.

 The light is seldom seen by lighthouse enthusiasts as it is not easily accessible.  

 Matinicus Rock Light sits on a barren rock 25 miles out to sea. It’s home to Puffins in the summer.

Best known for 14 year old Abbie Burgess, who, while her father was away, saved her invalid mother and sisters from certain death and kept the light burning for days during a vicious storm that destroyed their living quarters.

Anyone interested in joining us should call now. The tour is limited and expected to fill fast.

Hazel Davis


Get in on this tour folks! It’s not every day a chance like this comes along! (D.S.)



The Maine Historical Society and the Maine Olmsted Alliance invite you to…  


Thursday, May 28, 7pm
Designing the Maine Landscape


Theresa Mattor and Lucie Teegarden, Authors


Join us to celebrate the publication of this landmark new book.  Both beautiful and intellectually rigorous, Designing the Maine Landscape is the product of a ten-year survey of Maine’s historic designed landscapes conducted by the Maine Olmsted Alliance for Parks and Landscapes and the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.


Maine’s rich heritage of designed landscapes is defined by groundbreaking landscape architects who saw the state’s natural beauty as a muse guiding their work rather than as mere ground to be manipulated.  The field’s great luminaries – Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. and his sons, Beatrix Farrand, Fletcher Steele, Warren Manning, and Jens Jensen – all completed significant designs here in Maine and helped shape our sense of place. Designing the Maine Landscape showcases and provides rich context for many of these projects – ranging from public parks to private estates.  The evening will include a behind-the-scenes look at the book and a book signing.


This event is free and open to the public.   

Event Information
When: Thursday, May 28, 2009,  7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Where: Maine Historical Society

           489 Congress Street

           Portland, ME   04101

 For more information call 207-774-1822; 


Historic church schedules free public open house

The Abyssinian Meeting House, the nation’s third-oldest church built for a black congregation, will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Monday. Admission is free.

Built in 1828, the meeting house at 75 Newbury St. is undergoing a $3 million restoration by the Committee to Restore the Abyssinian.

Contractors recently finished removing several apartments that were built within the church and restoring its original timber-frame structure.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

Festival marks alewives’ journey

It’s an annual rite of spring.

Each year, an estimated 150,000 alewives navigate their way up the Damariscotta River estuary and into the Great Salt Bay before running up the fish ladder that takes them into Damariscotta Lake. To celebrate their journey, supporters will hold the second annual Fish Ladder Restoration Festival Friday through Monday in Damariscotta Mills.

The festival will have food, including alewives at Mulligan’s Smoked Alewives; a contra dance on Friday, a chicken barbecue on Saturday and a pig roast on Sunday.

Vintage Voices presents program on Victorian music

Vintage Voices will present “The Songs I Delighted to Hear,” a program of music from the late Victorian era, at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Counting House Museum as part of the annual meeting of the Old Berwick Historical Society.

There also will be a brief business meeting and refreshments. An opening of a small new exhibit will also take place. “From South Berwick to the South Pacific,” a collection of World War II correspondence and memorabilia, has been donated to the museum by the family of Wildre Pelletier.

New members are welcome. Membership is $20, or $30 for families. The Counting House Museum opens in June for regular summer weekend hours from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 384-0000

Greater Portland Landmarks will hold its second annual Spring Historic House Gala from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 27 at the Samuel D. Plummer House, 140 Eastern Promenade.

The 1898 home is owned by Dan and Connie Haley. Earle G. Shettleworth Jr., director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, will speak about the unique features of Queen Anne architecture and the history of the Munjoy Hill area.

Tickets are $50 per person. Refreshments will be served, courtesy of Aurora Provisions.

For more information or to get tickets, call 332-1513 or go to

Shaker museum and store opening for the season

The Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum and Shaker Store on Route 26 opens for the season on Friday with an exhibit of Shaker folk art called “The Human and the Eternal.”

On Saturday, a workshop on making traditional painted canvas floorcloth will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a $50 fee. Two guided nature hikes, both free of charge, are being offered, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The hikes cover the fields and woods on the south end of the village leading to Sabbathday Lake and Aurelia’s Cascade.

Preregistration is required for all events by calling 926-4597.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays through Columbus Day.

For more details, go to

Town, state work to save Indian Rock
NORWAY – An official at the Maine Department of Transportation said this week the agency will try to help the town save the so-called Indian Rock on Route 117.

Museum receives World War II UDT uniform – May 20, 2009

By Erica A. Holthausen The collections at the Museums of Old York are tangible links to the history of our community. Each object preserves the story of a …

Holocaust survivors’ film to hit airwaves

York County Coast Star – 13 hours ago

It contains historical clips, interviews, commentary by the Polaks, and by their daughter Margaret (who assisted in the publication of the book and in the 

Acadian Memorial Foundation, CAFA, History Break Tours

KATC – May 19, 2009

For those not interested in riding the bus for 3 days, a flight into Bangor, Maine will be arranged. The bus will meet those flying to Bangor on August, 



News From Away…

Windsor Castle antique furniture to be sold at auction

Source: Telegraph (UK) (5-20-09)

Antique furniture from Windsor Castle that originally belonged to Queen Victoria is to be sold at auction later this month. 

Four items are going under the hammer with a combined guide price of up to £12,000.

They were bought by the current vendor’s parents shortly after Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.

The sale, which includes a pair of giltwood chairs, a green-silk screen, a table, and a pair of cabinets, will be held at Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, on May 29.

Ancient handle with Hebrew text found in Jerusalem

Source: AP (2-20-09)

Archaeologists digging on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives have discovered a nearly 3,000-year-old jar handle bearing ancient Hebrew script, a find significantly older than most inscribed artifacts unearthed in the ancient city, an archaeologist said. The Iron Age handle is inscribed with the Hebrew name Menachem, which was the name of an Israelite king and is still common among Jews.

Coroner: Human Bones Found in Indiana Barbershop Are Prehistoric

Source: AP (5-20-09)

Bones found in the basement of a small-town barbershop in eastern Indiana are those of prehistoric American Indians, a coroner said, but how the bones got there is unknown.

Gary Engelbrecht discovered the bones in a basement vault when he opened his Fading Tradition barbershop about a year ago in Albany, about 10 miles northeast of Muncie.

Engelbrecht mentioned the bones to Clevenger, who investigated. About 125 bone fragments were found in a deteriorating cardboard box. An anthropologist determined that they were from three prehistoric native Americans.

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