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The Steamer “Royal Tar”

Tourism being the currently touted gem of Maine business, we pay close attention to the port of Portland, and its cruise ship business. For many years, the Maine attraction at that port was the ferry service that docked near the bridge. It was replaced by the high-speed cat, but now we can ogle over the gigantic liners that visit the Old Port. Back in the 1800s there was also regular steam service through a string of steamers between St. John’s New Brunswick and Portland Harbor as well.

One of the most famously known of these steamers was the steamer Royal Tar, which burned on a trip during a gale (shown to the right burning during the tragedy). Francis B.C. Bradlee writes this of the event in his book Some Account of Steam Navigation in New England:

Although many of the early coast of Maine steamers previously mentioned may have, and probably did, make sporadic trips to St. John, N. B., and ports in southern Nova Scotia, the first regular service of which there is any knowledge was in 1836, when the wooden sidewheeler “Royal Tar” (named for King William IV of Great Britain) was built at St. John, N. B., to run regularly between that place and Portland, Maine, where she connected with the Boston steamers. The “Royal Tar” was 164 feet long, 24 feet beam, and measured 400 tons; she cost $50,000 to build, and was owned by John Hammond and D. J. McLaughlin of St. John; she made her first trip to Portland in May, 1836; with over 200 passengers.

A few months later this steamer was lost under such tragic but curious circumstances as to render the disaster long memorable in the annals of New England steam boating. On Friday, Oct. 21, 1836, the “Royal Tar” left St. John for Eastport and Portland, having on board a crew of 21 persons and 72 passengers. She also carried Burgess’ collection of serpents and birds, Dexter’s locomotive museum and a brass band. Among the animals on board were an elephant, six horses, two dromedaries, two lionesses, one royal Bengal tiger, one gnu, and a pair of pelicans. As a result of a high northwest wind, the “Royal Tar” remained at anchor at Eastport until Tuesday, the 25th, when at 2 P. M. she got under way and resumed her voyage. She had not much more than got outside when the gale increased in violence and she ran in for shelter near Fox island.

The story of her loss was told by Capt. Thomas Reed, her commander, in these words: “The steam being down after we had been at anchor about half an hour, the boat was discovered to be on fire immediately over the boiler, under the deck. The cable was slipped instantly and the fire engine set to work, but in five minutes the men could not stand at the pump, which was below, the smoke nearly suffocating them. At this awful juncture there was a rush for the boats, there being only two. Sixteen of the passengers and crew took the largest boat and went away before the wind, which blew so hard they were afraid to bring her to. I got possession of the jolly boat, with two men, and picked up another man belonging to the caravan who had jumped overboard.”

“In about half an hour we saw a schooner coming to us, which proved to be the United States revenue cutter Veto, Capt. Dyer, who rendered us every assistance in his power. He ran the cutter close to the burning steamer, then in a sheet of flames, and succeeded in taking out forty passengers, who must have perished had not the cutter come to our assistance.”

One of the passengers, Hinson Patten by name, gave an account of the affair which explains the conduct of Capt. Reed in taking the one remaining boat. He says: “Capt. Reed took charge of the stern boat, with two men, and kept her off the steamboat, which was a very fortunate circumstance, as it was the means of saving from forty to fifty persons, and to him all credit is due for his deliberate and manly perseverance throughout the whole calamity.” Another account mentions that the elephant jumped overboard, crashing down upon a raft that was being hurriedly constructed, thus destroying the raft and losing the lives of several passengers. The horses also leaped overboard, and it was said that the elephant and a pony succeeded in swimming ashore. That statement was contradicted by an item in a St. John newspaper, which stated that every animal belonging to the menagerie was doubtless lost. The elephant was seen a few days ago floating near Brimstone island. Other accounts state that when the horses jumped overboard in their wild panic, instead of making for the shore, they swam round and round the burning steamboat until they became exhausted and were drowned.

Twenty-nine passengers and eight of the crew of the “Royal Tar” perished in this dreadful disaster, and the money loss was estimated at not less than $125,000. Capt. Reed was presented with a purse of $750 in gold for his gallantry in saving so many of his passengers; at a later date he was made harbor roaster of St. John, a post he filled acceptably for many years.

A steamer named the “Gazelle” took the place of the “Royal Tar,” and she also was wrecked by running ashore near St. John in June, 1838; there was, luckily, no loss of life.

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Malaga Island

Malaga Island: A century of shame

By: Colin Woodard

Analysis: A new exhibit at the Maine State Museum tells the story of the eviction of Malaga Island’s residents, one of the state’s most disgraceful official acts ever.

Maps and letters by the ‘Great Geographer’ topic of museum speaker series …
Lake of the Woods Enterprise
Maine Historical Society librarian Frances Pollitt discusses the ‘Great Geographer’ with Lake of the Woods Museum educator Braden Murray following her presentation David Thompson – Letters and Maps at the museum speaker series, Tuesday.

Garvey to perform for Old Berwick Historical Society 50th anniversary concert
Seacoastonline.com
Folk-rock singer-songwriter Connor Garvey will perform at the society’s Counting House Museum (1 Liberty St., South Berwick, Maine) on Thursday, May 24. Doors open at 7 pm The concert is open to members of the public who join the Old Berwick Historical …

Maine students’ field trip includes Rollinsford Mills
The Union Leader
By JOHN QUINN SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Elementary students from Central School are getting ready to take a Hike Through History and will visit several key stops in the downtown as well as cross the state line to learn about the nearby mills this Friday.

Owls Head struggles to save relegated one-room schoolhouses
Bangor Daily News
By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff OWLS HEAD, Maine — At its peak, this small coastal town had five one-room schoolhouses. Now only two remain, and both are out of use. To raise awareness about the legacy of the schools, the Mussel Ridge Historical Society …

Midlander to donate quilt to Maine museum
Midland Reporter-Telegram
It most likely was made on one of the Fox Islands — either Vinalhaven or North Haven in Maine — where Denham’s grandmother was born, he said. Once Denham realized the historical value of the quilt he began researching its history.

Waterboro presentation honors Civil War’s 32nd Maine
KeepMEcurrent.com
According to local historian Bruce Tucker, who gave a presentation on the 32nd Maine Regiment on May 3 to the Waterborough Historical Society, most of the men who signed up were either “really young” or “rather old,” since by the spring of 1864 most of …

Rockland neighborhood off Route 1 to be leveled
May 16, 2012 05:23 pm | Stephen Betts

ROCKLAND, Maine — Nearly every home along a street off Route 1 is expected to be demolished over the next week. The 12 cottage-style homes and several sheds date back more than a century in some cases. Applications were filed this week by David Landry of Superior Restoration to demolish…

An ‘amazing’ collection set to go public at USM

By: Kelley Bouchard

A Mainer’s painstaking work tracks the chief mode of travel from the U.S. to Europe for a century.

PHOTO: A place in Lewiston history

Susan Hall, right, owner of The Vault at 84 Lisbon St., chats with Jennifer Ferguson, left, and Rick Morris of the Lewiston Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday. The building at 84 Lisbon St. has been recognized as a piece of Lewiston history. The Healy Terrace on Ash Street and the Andro…

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Frank Knight, Yarmouth Tree Hugger Passes


Frank Knight, man who cared for famed elm tree, dies at 103
PORTLAND — Frank Knight’s decades-long battle to save New England’s tallest elm served as an inspiring tale of devotion, so it is fitting that he will be laid to rest in a coffin made from the tree he made famous. Knight, who died Monday at 103, had affectionately referred to the 217…

Yarmouth man to be buried in casket made from tree he revered

Frank Knight, who cared for New England’s oldest known American elm for 52 years, dies at 103…

Restoring life to aging clocks a rare profession

AUBURN — There’s something about a grandfather clock’s low “tock … tock” that speaks to Patrick Rohman. “It’s kind of like a heartbeat,” the 57-year-old clock repairman said. Clear out the dead spiders. Clean the gears and springs. Restore the oil. Life returns…

Brunswick discontinues war hero’s imaginary street

BRUNSWICK — In an intriguing example of the sometimes-tenuous relationship between people and reality, the Town Council on Monday unanimously voted to do away with a 105-year-old street that existed only in the imagination of a long-dead war hero…

Ancient tradition of harvesting alewives still going strong in Woolwich

WOOLWICH, Maine — Steve Dodge, who has been helping with springtime alewife harvests in Woolwich for 54 years, held up a stick with 10 smoked fish Sunday and told a reporter to “write us up big.” “Tell ’em they’re smoked golden brown and incredibly delicious,” said Dodge. “Even if they’re…


More Events, Exhibits and Presentations

Maine Agriculture: Views from the Past: Historic photo exhibit. Donation requested. At Page Farm and Home Museum, University of Maine-Orono. Through Nov. 10.

Knox Country Through Eastern’s Eye: Exhibit of historic photos from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection. At Thomaston Public Library. Through June 29.

The Coastal Photography of Elmer Montgomery: Exhibit of works by the renowned Midcoast Maine photographer. At the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, 9 Water St., Rockland. Through June 30.

Greetings from Vassalboro: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show and discuss old photos of Vassalboro and surrounding towns. At Vassalboro Hist. Soc., 360 Main St., East Vassalboro. Free. May 17, 7 p.m.

Greetings from Brooks: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show and discuss old photos of Brooks and surrounding towns. At Harvest Home Grange Hall, Moosehead Trail H’wy (Rte.7), Brooks. Donation requested. More information: 207-722-3633. May 18, 6:30 p.m.

Greetings from St. George: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show and discuss old photos of St. George, Port Clyde, Tenants Harbor, Martinsville and Long Cove. At St. George Grange Hall, Wiley’s Corner Rd., St. George. Free; donation accepted. More information: 207-372-8893. May 31: potluck at 6:30; slide show at 7:30 p.m.

Greetings from Nobleboro: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show old photos of Nobleboro and surrounding towns. At Nobleboro Hist. Soc., 198 Center St. (Old Rte.1). Free. June 15, 7 p.m.


May Programs

18 Tavern Dinner. Join us for this month’s ever popular historic dinner. Relax and kindle new friendships as colonial ladies prepare a fabulous meal at the hearth. This month’s menu will include: Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup, Spring Greens with Goat Cheese and Nuts, Chicken with Dried Plums and Olives, Wild Rice Pilaf, Steamed Green Beans, and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. Sign up soon –these dinners fill fast! $35 ($30 members) at the Parsons Education Center, 6 p.m.

20 Blue Grass Jam with Kevin Dyer and Friends. 1-4 p.m. at The Parsons Center. $4 donation appreciated.

28 Buck-a-Building Memorial Day and Paddle-to-the-Sea. Come see the Museum properties, including the the Old Gaol, Emerson-Wilcox House, Elizabeth Perkins House, Jefferds Tavern, the School House, and our Exhibit, “The country heer is plentiful” Trade, Religion and Warfare in York and Southern Maine, open for $1 tours. At 2 p.m. families are invited participate in Paddle-to-the-Sea, a kid-focused program based on Holling Clancy Hollings children’s book by the same name. After hearing the story, build a little boat, label it with your family’s name and launch it down the river. Follow your boat’s journey to the ocean on our blog. $5 per mini boat at the John Hancock Warehouse. 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

June Programs

2 Museum Opening Day! Come to the Museums of Old York for our opening day, enjoy the historic tours and beautiful ambience of our buildings and grounds. Also stop by the George Marshall Store for the opening of a new exhibit: Michael Stasiuk.
18 Great Bay Sailors Performance at the Wharf Join us for a Seafaring concert complete with shanty tunes at the Hancock Wharf featuring the musical stylings of Portsmouth’s own Great Bay Sailors. The concert starts at 4p.m. a $5 donation is appreciated. Please bring your own chairs or blankets, rain site is inside the warehouse. For more information, pleae contact Zoe or call her at 207-363-4974 x12

News and Updates

For the First Time EVER! The Museums of Old York will hold our Decorator’s Show House and our Antiques show at the SAME time Come to our 23rd Annual Decorator’s Show House and our 5th Annual Antiques Show this summer. The Decorator’s Show House will take place at 19 Harmon Park Road from July 14th through August 11th. The Antiques Show will take place in our Parson’s Center on July 21st and 22nd. During that time, if you purchase a ticket to the Decorator’s Show House, you get free admission to the Antiques Show. Plus, a ticket to either show will entitle you to $5 off admission to all of the Museums of Old York during the 2012 season. For more information, please visit our website or if you would like to volunteer please contact us at 207-363-4974.

Celebration of the Working and Playing Waterfront. A team of staff and trustees are looking ahead to summer and have been working to create an array of programs for 2012 all under the theme York’s rivers and ocean dominate its history. Celebrating our heritage on the water will take many forms. A series of fun and educational programs will be offered throughout June-July-August-September including a river regatta and barbeque, workshops, lectures and demonstrations on the history of lobstering, fishing, boat building, waterfront stories, riverscape painting, the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and more! A brochure will be coming out soon detailing all the offerings over the summer. See our website for a preliminary schedule of events — stay tuned for updated information.

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1812 Cannon Gets New Home

A fresh take on the Longfellow Children’s Gate
Portland Daily Sun
The gate was designed by the architect Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow “to honor his uncle Henry’s famous affection for children,” according to Maine Historical Society’s official history. But the gate, installed soon after the original MHS library…

Cannon from War of 1812 to go on display in Maine museum after years of being …
Boston.com
Nicholas Noyes, head librarian at the Maine Historical Society, said the cannon was likely purchased at that auction and later wound up as an ornament on a man’s lawn in Cape Elizabeth. “It was transferred to the society in the late 1800s and we…

Historic cannon gets new home in Maine
Appleton Post Crescent
The cannon dates to the early 1800s and it is believed it was on the HMS Boxer when the British ship battled with the USS Enterprise off Maine’s coast in 1813. The Maine Historical Society packed up the 1200-pound cannon and its 400-pound carriage on…

Historic battle cannon heads to Bath
Press Herald
On Thursday, the Maine Historical Society packed up the 1200-pound cannon — plus a 400-pound carriage — and sent it off to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, where it will be part of a bicentennial exhibit on the War of 1812. The historical society…

Cannon from War of 1812 headed to Bath
Press Herald
The 1200-pound cannon was donated to the Maine Historical Society in 1894 and immediately loaned to the city of Portland, probably because the society — housed at the time in a couple of rooms of the Portland Public Library — had no place to display…

Old Berwick Historical Society set to announce ‘major gift’ at annual meeting
Foster’s Daily Democrat
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — A history enthusiast whose ancestor ran a shop in downtown South Berwick in the early 1800s has made a “major gift” to the Old Berwick Historical Society, according to society President Patricia Laska. At the society’s annual…

North Berwick Historical Society Book Club seeks new members from area
Foster’s Daily Democrat
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — All area residents who are interested in classical literature are urged to attend a discussion roundtable with the North Berwick Historical Society Book Club. New members are being welcomed now through May 31…

Maine Historical Society names new executive director
Kennebec Journal
By Bob Keyes bkeyes@mainetoday.com PORTLAND — Stephen Bromage will become the new executive director of the Maine Historical Society beginning June 1. He succeeds Richard D’Abate, who is retiring. “He’s the very best choice,” Katherine Pope…

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A week of Shipwrecks

The anniversary of the wreck of the Titanic was this past Tuesday, April 10, and there has been no lack of interest on this subject. TV specials were all over the place, as well as movies, interviews of researchers, lectures and more could be found all across the state. There were events held in many of Maine’s historical societies, from the mother ship on down.

The picture to the left of the Titanic is from The Loss of the SS Titanic, by Lawrence Beesley, published in 1912. You can download the book by clicking onto the title.

I have a few headlines to share today, as well as a MHS event and an excellent article on selling your collections by Harry Rinker. A link to the story can be found at the end of the blurb. Enjoy, and don’t forget to remember our service men and women on Monday, which is also Patriots Day.

Shipwrecks highlighted during next Belfast Historical Society meeting
Johansen is the publisher of Maine Coastal News, a monthly publication dedicated to covering the waterfront of the state of Maine. He has a lifelong interest in shipwrecks and maritime history. Belfast Historical Society meetings are free and open to

Stow Historical Society Chowd’a Fest April 14
First Annual Stow Historical Society Chowd’a Fest will be held Saturday, April 14, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm snow or shine at Saco Valley Fire Station (Route 113 in North Fryeburg). A challenge has been extended to the Cold River Valley and

‘Field School’ allows study of archaeological dig
Students, teachers and history buffs interested in archaeology have an opportunity this summer to join a field school led by archaeologist Neill De Paoli and sponsored by the Old Berwick Historical Society

A child’s account of the Titanic retold in Portland
Author and St. Joseph’s College Professor of Education Karen Marks Lemke speaks about the ill-fated Titanic at the Maine Historical Society on Tuesday, April 10, 2012. The ship sank 100 years ago this week…

New book upcoming on Isles of Shoals
An upcoming book about the Isles of Shoals off the New Hampshire and Maine coasts traces 6000 years of history at one of the tiny islands. Author and historian J. Dennis Robinson says 250000 artifacts were unearthed on rocky Smuttynose

Maine Historical Society

Thursday, April 19, 7pm

The Civil War of 1812

Speaker: Dr. Alan Taylor, University of California, Davis

This year marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812, a formative event in both Maine and U.S. history and the subject of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor’s new book. Join us to learn more! This program is part of the Richard D’Abate Lectures: Conversations About History, Art, and Literature. Series details.

To see a full list of upcoming programs, please click here.

Rinker on Collectibles: Advice on Selling a Collection
When starting a collection, it’s all fun and games and the thrill of the hunt, locating that missing or surprising treasure that will no doubt be the group’s centerpiece. But at some point, when the collection becomes more of a hindrance than a hobby, a decision will be made to sell it off. When selling any collections, especially if assembled after 1980, there are several truths a seller has to face, says Worthologist Harry Rinker. Unfortunately, all have a “bad news” aspect and run counter to what the collector believes deep in his/her heart. Harry has some advice for those who decide to go through with the sale. Does it apply to you and your collection? Read “Rinker on Collectibles: Advice on Selling a Collection”

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Berwick’s Royal Cloyd Passes

Here are a few Google headlines to keep you updated with the goings on around the state of Maine, -historical society wise- enjoy and if you have any news to share, send it on in!

Historical Society fetes 50 years in style Naples Daily News
The Naples Historical Society staged its 50th Anniversary Ball, appropriately, in a spot with some history: the Naples Yacht Club, which took a hit from Hurricane Donna that hit in 1960 — just after its completion. The club had been rapidly repaired…

North Berwick loses Royal Cloyd, a true champion Foster’s Daily Democrat
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — Royal Cloyd, the longtime leader of North Berwick’s Historical Society, died Feb. 23 in Arizona after a short illness. He was 86. Although not a native, in recent years Cloyd was arguably North Berwick’s most effective community…

Conway Historical Society March meeting Conway Daily Sun
The speaker will be June O’Donal, who will be speaking on her research into the early history of Fryeburg, Maine (1767 to 1806) and how she wove the people and events into her historical novel, “The Fryeburg Chronicles – Book 1 The Amazing Grace…

Smithfield has reason to celebrate on Leap Day WLBZ-TV
SMITHFIELD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — On February 29, 1840 the town of Smithfield was incorporated as the 348th town in Maine, and remains the only town in the state founded on a Leap Day. Members of the town’s historical society are not sure why that…

Making history in Arundel Seacoastonline.com
Memorable events change the character of a town or community at different points in their history and for the town of Arundel, Feb. 12, 2012 will go down as a date to remember. The Arundel Historical Society, after more than two years of fundraising,..

Historical society seeks info on gown, dress coat found in Dixfield town garage

DIXFIELD — The town and the Dixfield Historical Society are trying to find the owner and purpose of a vintage gown and ankle-length white cotton dress coat discovered upstairs in the town garage. Charlotte Collins, a society director and deputy treasurer for the town, took the two ba…

History center to offer journey back to origins

The Yarmouth Historical Society plans to renovate and expand a building on East Elm Street to create the history center.

At the Maine Historical Society:

Tuesday, March 6, 12pm

Longfellow’s Shadow: A reading of poems by Wesley McNair and Betsy Sholl

Join us to kick off our Richard D’Abate Lectures with readings by two Maine Poet Laureates. The poets’ readings will reflect themes in Longfellow’s poetry, his stance as a poet, and his attitude toward the social issues of his time.

Tuesday, March 20, 7pm

Downtown Corridors: Franklin and Spring Streets

Downtown corridors move us through Portland’s urban landscape. But certain corridors–like Franklin and Spring Streets–are the source of much dissatisfaction. What are our options moving forward? Stakeholders will share their ideas, discuss current initiatives, and consider what future development along these routes might look like. This program is part of(Re) Designing the Greater Portland Landscape: Issues in Contemporary Design and Development, a program series held in partnership with Greater Portland Landmarks.

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L.L. Bean: The stuff of legend

Headlines have been kind of sparse lately, so I have decided to add some material beyond the front pages and event listings in the next few posts. You can still email your events and news that you would like to share at the same old address: editor@remembermemedia.com though.

LL Bean in Freeport is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year and it looks like there will be lots of excitement and a good number of events to spread the pride of reaching that milestone. 100 years is a long time for a business to be open, and I extend my hand in congratulations for their success, and wish them another 100 years. The papers will be full of articles the next few months with lots of information and articles on the birth and growth of this company.

Of course, as we all know, Leo Leonwood Bean designed his first hunting shoe in 1911 because he, like so many of us, was sick and tired of having wet, cold, and aching feet when returning home from his jaunts in the woods. He had some leather tops sewn to a pair of rubbers, and the rest is history. The Bean ad here lists a service whereby a hunter could send in any old pair of boots, and LL Bean’s craftsmen would clean them up, sew on a pair of rubbers and add new laces for the exorbitant cost (at the time) of just $3.40. Bean’s 100th anniversary hunting shoe lists for $139.00 in their catalog. What a difference a century makes!

L.L. Bean: The stuff of legend

FREEPORT — In the rear of a plain-looking white house — not far from the crush of shoppers at L.L. Bean’s retail complex — reside the relics of the company’s century-long history.

Racks of vintage wool coats hang alongside antique fishing poles and knapsacks. L.L. Bean-brand dinnerware sold in the 1950s is here. So are the original paintings used for the covers of Eisenhower-era L.L. Bean catalogs…

History’s hidden in the floorboards

MAPLE GROVE – This small Quaker church just two miles from the Canadian border was likely the last stop on the Underground Railroad for many runaway slaves making their way to freedom, according to historians in the Fort Fairfield area. But it isn’t always easy to find references to it among historical accounts of the Underground Railroad, which helped tens of thousands of slaves gain freedom before slavery was abolished in 1865.

Those who helped the slaves faced jail and heavy fines, so they didn’t tend to leave written records of what they did…

Family history workshop offered at Counting House Museum

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — A public workshop called Researching and Writing Your Family’s History will be held on the second floor of the Counting House Museum at 1 p.m. March 4.

Presented by author Joseph Hardy with genealogist Beth Tykodi, the event is free for members of the Old Berwick Historical Society, and new members are welcome to join at the door. A one-year membership donation is $20 per person or $30 for a family.

Hardy, whose book, “Four American Stories: Emigration and the Lure of the West,” was published this year, will explain how he discovered and developed the stories of his and his wife’s grandparents and their ancestors. He describes his book…

County man collects chain saws of all shapes, styles and colors

ALLAGASH, Maine — Anyone who has spent any time at all in the Maine woods is familiar with the sounds of a gas-powered chain saw. The constant buzz of a saw is the soundtrack to timber operations, woodlot maintenance and firewood gathering. It’s also music to the ears

 

From the Maine Historical Society

Friday, March 2, 5-8pm

First Friday Art Walk: Take to the Streets

Join us for a festive evening at MHS! Exhibits on display include Take to the Streets! in the Shettleworth Lecture Hall, Dressing Up, Standing Out, Fitting In: Adornment & Identity in Maine in our main gallery, and fantastic work by students in our Local History, Local Schools program in the Showcase Gallery.

Tuesday, March 6, 12pm

Longfellow’s Shadow: A reading of poems by Wesley McNair and Betsy Sholl

Join us to kick off our Richard D’Abate program series with readings by two Maine Poet Laureates. In his tenure at MHS, D’Abate, himself a poet, has embraced MHS’s Longfellow legacy as an opportunity to incorporate literature, the arts, and culture as vital elements of a Maine history that is broadly told and understood. The poets’ readings will reflect themes in Longfellow’s poetry, his stance as a poet, and his attitude toward the social issues of his time.

March Programs at Old York (From their March 2012 newsletter)

2nd Curator’s Potluck. Join us as we thank last year’s donors to our collections. Bring your appetite and a favorite dish to share. 5:30 p.m. at the Parsons Center. FMI and to RSVP to 207-363-4974 ext. 20 or email Cynthia Young-Gomes.

13th Stories, Stones and Superstitions — Author Talk at York Public Library. New England’s burying grounds are often called outdoor museums – full of history, art and chronicles of religious beliefs, genealogy, sometimes tragedy and scandal – even humor. Author Roxie Zwicker’s presentation will provide an explanation of the symbolism and special language of gravestones and further explore the attitudes and customs about death that these historic artifacts reflect. Focusing on early New England grave markers and their carvers, this illustrated program promises to be informative as well as entertaining and should make you look at area gravestones with new insight and appreciation. Books and artwork will be on sale after the presentation. Program co-sponsored by York Public Library and Museums of Old York. Noon at York Library, 15 Long Sands Road, York. Call 207-363-2818

18th 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

25th Andrea Quartet at the Parsons Center. Come listen to beautiful classical music by Haydn, Dvorak and Grainger at the Remick Barn. Learn about the composers and their work from violinists Augusto Salazar and Theresa Carr; violist Katie Backus; and cellist Michael Danielski. 3 Lindsay Road, York; 2 p.m. Ticket Prices: Adult $10, Student $5, Family $25.To purchase tickets stop by the museum office or call 207-363-4974 ext. 14.

31st Tap, Tap, Tap….. A Special Jefferds Tavern Dinner Fundraiser! Celebrate the very end of winter and help us raise funds for the winterization and restoration of Jefferds Tavern. A much beloved historic building, the Tavern continues to be a focal point in York Village and is used year-round for the Museum’s educational programs, Tavern Dinners and the annual Christmas Tea. The building stands as a shining example of how a group of concerned people can protect history while at the same time making a building relevant to the community. Today the tavern needs insulation, new clapboards, and “buttoning up” so that it can be used throughout the winter months with energy efficiency. Once this work is completed, there will be no better or more charming location for bridge parties, sewing groups, poetry readings, book clubs, tavern dinners, and the new educational programs for both children and adults. Watch for your invitation in the mail in early March. At the Parsons Center, 3 Lindsay Road, York Village, 6:30 p.m. for wine and hors d’oeuvres, 7:30 p.m. for dinner; $125 per person; RSVP by March 23, 2012; FMI call 207-363-4974 ext. 13 or email Laura Dehler.

Collecting a Hero for the Ages: A Look at Flash Gordon
Long before “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” captivated audiences with their imaginative tales of heroes, villains, alien creatures and travel to other galaxies, science-fiction fans were enthralled by the gallant exploits of the fearless space adventurer, Flash Gordon. Created by artist and cartoonist Alex Raymond, the dashing, blond-haired hero has been traveling to the strange planets, meeting a host of unusual beings and bizarre creatures, and battling the planet Mongo’s evil ruler, Ming the Merciless, for 78 years. As one of the science-fiction genre’s earliest and most popular creations, Flash Gordon was also one of the first…

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Fort Andross Winter Antique Show

Steeple repairs to make history

The 186-year-old structure atop First Parish Church is being refurbished to match the original, even the wood

Community Calendar Feb. 1-12
Portland History Docents classes, Thursdays 9 am-12 pm, Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress St. #2, Portland, registration required, 774-5561 ext. 120. City of Portland Republican Caucus, 9:30 am, Riverton Elementary, 1600 Forest Ave., Portland.

Fort Kent Historical Society, archives unveil massive genealogical collection
Thanks to his efforts and with the support of the Fort Kent Historical Society and the Acadian Archives at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, the massive collection of books, photographs, notes, maps and related genealogical ephemera is now indexed…

Eastport’s 1814 history deserves commemoration
Members of the Eastport Border Historical Society have done a great job in opening the pages of our history to so many people. It is time, however, for the entire community delegation, Maine state government, members of Congress and all of Maine to get…

Maine to Ohio … Farmall collection finds new home

Alden Peabody, of Augusta, Maine, restored the tractors with his father, Harold. … and did not understand the history or the significance of the models…

FORT ANDROSS WINTER ANTIQUE SHOW!

WE CORDIALLY INVITE YOU TO THE SECOND ANNUAL FORT ANDROSS WINTER ANTIQUE SHOW!
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 26TH, 2012
FROM 10AM TO 3PM!
LOCATED IN TH HISTORIC FORT ANDROSS BUILDING
AT 14 MAINE STREET BRUNSWICK, ME 04011
THE SHOW WILL OFFER 54 PLUS DEALERS SELLING AN ASSORTMENT OF ANTIQUES AND ACCESSORIES!
THESE RANGE FROM 18TH AND 19TH CENTURY PRIMITIVES, FURNITURE, FOLK ART, ART, POTTERY, FIRE ARMS, NAUTICAL, JEWELRY, PEWTER, TEXTILES, AND SO MUCH MORE!
EARLY BUYING FROM 8AM TO 10AM, $5 ADMISSION FEE
FREE GENERAL ADMISSION STARTING AT 10AM!
FREE PARKING
FOOD WILL BE PROVIDED BY FORT ANDROSS’ OWN “THE FOOD DUDE” JAC CARY
AND DELECTIABLE DESERTS BY DAVE HANSEN!

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU!
“YOU ARE SURE TO FIND SOMETHING RARE, UNUSUAL, OR ONE OF A KIND!”

THANK YOU!

FOR SHOW INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT
DEBORAH J. STUFFLEBEAM
SHOW MANAGER
207-607-4514
207-522-1977
207-607-4513-FAX
CABOT@WATERFRONTME.COM
WWW.CABOTIQUES.COM

February events at Museums of Old York:

For a complete and up-to-date calendar please see our website.

February

2nd Maine’s Museums: Art, Oddities & Artifacts. Janet Mendelsohn, author of Maine’s Museums: Art, Oddities & Artifacts (Countryman Press, 2011) will present “On the road to Maine’s Museums,” a talk, slide show and book signing at York Public Library. 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, part of the York Public Library’s Brown Bag Lunch series, is co-sponsored by Museums of Old York. Free and open to the public. 12–1 p.m at York Public Library, 15 Long Sands Road in York. For information about the author, visit www.janetmendelsohn.com.

3rd George Marshall Store Gallery Opening Reception. Please join us for an opening reception for the gallery’s winter installation. Mary has installed the gallery with a selection of work; some will be familiar and others will be new to you. It is nice to have a reason to come together during these quieter winter days.
RECEPTION Friday, February 3, 2012 5-7 pm at George Marshall Store Gallery, 140 Lindsay Road, York, Maine, 207-351-1083
EXHIBITION DATES Through April 8, 2012
GALLERY HOURS By chance and appointment

8th & 12th “Let’s Talk About York History” at the Parsons Center. First sessions for 1631 Partners as well as our current and former Trustees. Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. and Feb. 12 at 3 p .m. Please email Laura at development@oldyork.org for more information and to RSVP. (General membership sessions will be held on the 26th and 29th of February – see below.)

17th 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 Eileen early to reserve your space.

19th Blue Grass Jam with Kevin Dyer and Friends. 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.

26th & 29th “Let’s Talk About York History” Discussion Groups Convene for our Members at the Parsons Center. Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. and Feb. 29 at 5 p.m. Please email Laura at development@oldyork.org for more information and to RSVP. (We have invited our 1631 Partners and current and former Trustees to discussion sessions earlier in February – see above.)

Categories: antiques, articles, breaking news, headlines, historical societies, Maine, Maine things to do, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

AUGUSTA — Museum L-A will receive a grant of $2,418 to help it preserve and store historical collections, including textile designs. The grant comes from the Historical Records Collections Grant Program administered by the Maine Historical Records Advisory Board. It was announced Fri…

Students study history by acting out Middle Ages battle

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…

Gray Historical Society
Independent Publishing Group
There are many pictures in the book written by George Hill, History, Records and Recollections of Gray, Maine, that show its original appearance. There are others housed at the Historical Society. The Gray Historical Society has been meticulous in its…

Historical society mugs celebrate Farmington
Lewiston Sun Journal
A closeup of the latest mug in a series released by Farmington Historical Society celebrating Farmington’s history. Allan Smith and Karl Holschuh are shown with the latest mug in a series released by Farmington Historical Society celebrating…

Town House gathers support
Kennebec Journal
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…

Family Ties: 1881 diary details shopping trip in Eastport
Bangor Daily News
29, Maine Old Cemetery Association meeting, Hiram. New or renewal memberships to MOCA are $5 for one year, $20 five years or $100 life membership, sent to MOCA, PO Box 641, Augusta, ME 04432-0641. For more information on researching family history in…

Scuttlebutt
knox.VillageSoup.com
The untold story of Maine Maritime Academy’s historic schooner Bowdoin will be illuminated in an upcoming exhibit at the Castine Historical Society scheduled for the summer of 2012. The exhibit, titled Schooner Bowdoin on the Greenland Patrol…

Grant to help revamp history hike
Seacoastonline.com
“This program is an all-school walking tour for elementary students that seeks to teach history through local historical sites,” said Nina Mauer, consulting curator of the Old Berwick Historical Society in South Berwick, which is working with the…

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.

Categories: articles, breaking news, headlines, history, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bell Tolls in Farmington

Here are a few more headlines for your reading enjoyment…

Bell rings at Farmington’s Old South Church again

FARMINGTON — A 3,000-pound bronze bell is back in the tower of Old South Congregational Church on Main Street. The bell was removed in August and shipped to Ohio for repairs. Steeplejacks put the bell back Tuesday, and after making adjustments, tested it Wednesday afternoon…

Greenbush man finds Declaration of Independence copies in roadside garbage

GREENBUSH, Maine — Roger Sanborn likes to make treasure of trash. More than 20 years ago, he pulled over on a Maine road and saved a couple of old picture frames from a junk pile with the intent of making a gift for his cousin. Inside the tossed-away picture frames were a painting of a sailboat and a photo of a military aircraft. When Sanborn removed the old images, he uncovered two copies of the Declaration of Independence…

Harrison considers moving tower clock

HARRISON — The town’s tower clock, installed nearly 90 years ago, could run another 700 years, plus or minus. But that likely won’t happen if it’s left where it is, Rick and Linda Balzer told town officials Wednesday. Seven hundred years for a clock to stay running is no exaggeration, according to Rick Balzer…

Scuttlebutt

knox.VillageSoup.com. The untold story of Maine Maritime Academy’s historic schooner Bowdoin will be … The Castine Historical Society has joined with faculty from Maine…

Memorial Bridge contract approved, but without cables

Foster’s Daily Democrat/ New Hampshire and Maine, which jointly own the Memorial Bridge, will share the cost of … Officials said the historical nature of the bridge was taken into…

Penobscot Marine Museum’s new virtual museum places collections online

Bangor Daily News/ one way of marking the nonprofit institution’s 75th year and getting more eyes to see the second-largest collection of historical photographs in Maine…

Fort Kent historian looking for everyone’s story, not just tales …

Bangor Daily News/ “Les Belles Histoires de Fort Kent, Maine” will be published as a 300-page, hardcover book by the Fort Kent Historical Society. “I’m looking for stories on…

As you may have noticed, this site is undergoing some changes. In the New Year, I will be changing the way we operate somewhat by offering more articles as opposed to just headlines news and announcements. I hope to be able to put more time into this project and be able to travel around and do some interviews and attend more functions than I have been able to do in the past. Unfortunately, to find the time to do this means that I will have to give up some of my income producing time, so let’s all hope this works.

One of the things I will be adding is a Maine history book page or pages where I will be posting book reviews on new and old books dealing with Maine history. If you have a book to promote, or know of someone who does, please email me at editor@touringmaineshistory.com with the details. Please include a relevant but brief description in the subject line as I no longer open emails without a valid subject description. Thanks, and have a very merry Christmas, and enjoy your time with the family!

Categories: breaking news, headlines, historic buildings, historical societies, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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