The Waldseemüller Map and other fun history notes

Being a history buff of sorts I had always admired the maps of the ancients. While not particularly accurate, they have always been great pieces of art work, but still useful to sort of get where one was going. The has an interesting article regarding the Waldseemüller Map that had been first published in the 16th century. Actually, the article discusses a little book of 103 pages called Introduction to Cosmography… I sometimes wonder if these cartographers of old realized they were really charting the course of history along the way.

An article in the Lewiston Sun Journal describes another chapter in the saga of Norway’s grand old lady. In Voters approve taking Opera House/Owner vows to appeal, the story continues with the town voting to take the building by eminent domain, and the current owner, Barry Mazzaglia of Bitim Enterprises in Londonderry, N.H., threatening to sue the town over the $185,000 offer for the building. If I were Mazzaglia I’d certainly take the money and run. After the roof collapsed in 2007, serious damage occurred to the building, flooding out the businesses renting space in the Opera House. Mazzaglia either had no insurance, or he took the insurance money and spent it elsewhere, but the building has been sitting vacant and in an increasing state of decay since that tragedy.

I have been working on a series of documentary shorts on some of the old mill sites in Maine this past year, and find the history of them quite interesting. Of course, the Maine Memory Network has an interesting exhibit as well, although it is dealing with the brick and mortar behemoths known as Maine’s textile mills. You can catch the exhibit at Biddeford, Saco and the Textile Industry. Here’s what their email says about the project;

Dear Friend,
Numerous Maine communities large and small that are located along rivers are reminded of their industrial pasts by large brick mill buildings. Most no longer produce cotton or wool or shoes.
But when the rivers supplied the power for the industrial explosion in Maine, populations of towns often swelled and the sounds of the looms or other machinery could be heard throughout the community.
The story of the factories in Saco and Biddeford is one of the growth of two communities, the social and religious structures that helped support the increasing population, the process of making cloth, and the experiences of workers. To explore this history, click on the following link: Biddeford, Saco and the Textile Industry
A collaboration between the McArthur Library in Biddeford, the Dyer Library Archives/Saco Museum in Saco, and Professor Elizabeth De Wolfe from the University of New England created this exhibit about the some of the experiences of the two communities.

It’s a great little exhibit and well worth the time, and while you are visiting, consider donating to the cause. While we are on the subject of exhibits, check out the article in the Bangor Daily news regarding Volunteers preserve 150,000 historic court documents. The story tells of a five year project to preserves some 150,000 documents from the Washington County Courthouse. A hearty round of applause needs to go to Valdine Atwood and her team of volunteers. This kind of preservation is incredibly vital to the field of history, and yet it is also probably the most tedious and boring work that can be done. It takes a special kind of researcher to do this kind of work.

Just received a press release from the Maine Historical Society regarding a couple of events….


TWO (2) Events at MHS in December!!!

December 9, 2009

CONTACT: Elizabeth Nash, Maine Historical Society, 207.774.1822, ext. 206,

1. Christmas with the Longfellows

House Tours, Children’s Activities, Holiday Book and Gift Fair at the Longfellow House

Tours 10:30 am – 5pm (last tour leaves at 4pm)

Closed December 25 and January 1

Sponsored by Maine Bank & Trust

A month-long celebration! Tour the Longfellow House at Maine Historical Society this December and experience a traditional Christmas of the 1850s. The house will be decorated and open for tours daily from December 1 through January 3.

With poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in Cambridge and his sister Anne Longfellow Pierce in Portland, family letters convey the yuletide celebrations of the mid-19th century. The greenery and holiday decorations throughout the rooms capture the spirit of the season, and the house is infused with warmth and good cheer. A special feast has been prepared, after which the family will enjoy music and each other’s company.

Following the tour, guests are invited to enjoy Children’s Activities and the annual Holiday Book and Gift Fair next door at the Maine Historical Society. Admission to the house includes entrance to the MHS Museum exhibit, “Re-Collected: Great Works and New Discoveries from the Brown Library.”

2. Longfellow Family Christmas
Family Christmas Tour and Activities at the Longfellow House
Saturday, December 12, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Enjoy a special family tour of the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, decorated to reflect an authentic 19th-century Christmas. Then, create a period-style Christmas tree ornament to take home and enjoy an old-fashion tree-trimming party, complete with carols and refreshments.
Reservations required. Call 207-774-1822.
Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Recommended for ages 5-12.
Fee: $7 per child; one adult/child free. Each additional adult $8.

If you have any news you’d like to share, events to schedule or just want to point something out for others to see about Maine history, feel free to email me at

Categories: articles, events, headlines, historic buildings, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine Historical Society, Maine things to do, museum news, preservation, restoration | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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