East Lamoine Coaling Station

Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you all are enjoying this day of celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus. It is amazing how far the legend of Santa Claus has come in the relatively short time period of its existence. Here in Maine Christmas has always been held by we Mainer’s in a special way, just as it has been by folks in other states. As we become more and more globalized, I find that the season has become, unfortunately, far too commercialized, and even now the real reason having slipped far away into our distant memories.

Even the more recent Santa Claus fable has become to be erased from our memories, with a shallow attitude of just a simple “happy holidays” replacing the once loved and jovial “Merry Christmas” that we grew up with. It just goes to show how easy it is to have our history replaced with a false story to change the meaning of our past.

This time of year, many of our historical societies have closed the barn door, or are soon about to, for the frigid winter season. Keep them in your thoughts and try to support them, not only financially but by offering your time by helping out with the many tasks required to maintain an organization that in many communities is relegated to just a small position of importance. Joyeux Noël mes amis!

This post card from my collection depicts the Navy’s coaling station built at East Lamoine in down east Maine. This station was a vital link in the Naval operations for the northern Atlantic region as it was the closest coaling station on the route to the European waters. Its construction was begun in the year 1900, and finished in 1902.

The station was only in operation for a short while due to the fact that oil was already replacing coal as the major fuel used by the Navy. During World War I, the station became a nitrate storage facility for nitrates used in the manufacture of explosives. Shortly thereafter the facility was largely dismantled and sold for scrap metal. In the 1930’s the University of Maine acquired some of the buildings for a biological laboratory and then, it was acquired by the state for use as a state park facility during the 1950’s.

The following is an excerpt from the 1900 Report of the Secretary of the Navy to the House of Representatives, 56th Congress, 2nd session, Document #3.

Frenchman’s Bay.—During the past year a site for a naval coal depot has been acquired in the town of East Lamoine, Frenchmans Bay, coast of Maine. The site consists of about 60 acres, and cost, including two frame houses, $24,650. It has a water front of 2,425 feet and is admirably situated in every respect for a coaling station. At the point where the pier will be erected a depth of 30 feet is found within 100 feet of low-water mark. There is ample room off the station for an entire fleet to anchor in a well-protected harbor with good holding ground. The site is being fenced and graded and bids nave been asked for the construction of a steel pier, steel house capable of storing 10,000 tons of coal, and the necessary conveying appliances for rapidly handling the same.


Lewiston’s Museum L-A gets grant to preserve textile designs

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Edward Little High School world history students Caleb Gray, left, and Patrick Cowan engage in a mock sword fight during a re-enactment of the medieval Battle of Agincourt, part of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France. The idea and script for the re-enactment in Auburn on Tuesday cam…

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The historical society has sought advice of three consultants, including Les Fossel of Old House Restoration in Alna, and a representative from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. She said all three consultants agreed that the building should…

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February events at the Museums of Old York

2 Author Talk at York Public Library: Maine’s Museums: Art, Oddities & Artifacts. Author Janet Mendelsohn will present “On the road to Maine’s Museums,” a talk, slide show and book signing at the York Public Library, 15 Long Sands Road, York, on Thursday, Feb. 2 from 12–1 p.m. Explore Maine through its art, history, maritime, children’s and quirky museums. Mendelsohn, a freelance writer for the Boston Globe travel section and other publications, will offer ideas for day trips, mini-vacations and armchair traveling. Books will be available for purchase. The event is co-sponsored by Museums of Old York. Free and open to the public. For information about the author, visit www.janetmendelsohn.com

17 Tavern Dinner. Traditional hearth cooked meal in a cozy, colonial tavern environment. Menu to be announced. 6-8 p.m. at Jefferds Tavern, 3 Lindsay Road, York. Cost: $30 members / $35 non-members. Reservations are required. Please email early to reserve your space.

19 Blue Grass Jam with Kevin Dyer and Friends. Join this lively bunch on the third Sunday of (almost) every month from 1-4 p.m. at The Parsons Center at Museums of Old York, 3 Lindsay Road, York. $4 donation appreciated. FMI, email or call 207-363-4974 ext 13.

21, 22, 23 Vacation Camp: Indian Raids and Pioneer Trades. Become a 16th century York settler! See what a settler’s house looked like, try on their clothes and experience 17th century food by cooking some historic recipes over the fire. Embark on a snow shoe trek through the snow to “Canada” deciding your fate along the way, just like captured settlers in 1692. Dip candles and make tin lanterns to take home. 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at The Parsons Center, 3 Lindsay Road, York. Preregistration Required. $65 ($60 members) Ages 6-12.

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