WWII

Pearl Harbor, a tribute

7 December 1941 is a day that shall live in infamy, or so President Roosevelt stated in a speech to this nation upon declaring war in retaliation to Japans attack on our base at Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii. It seems as though many people many people have forgotten what happened that day, and why the reaction to the attack was so swift and certain. Perhaps infamy only has a life span of fifty years or so.

The ranks of our veterans who served during WWII are dwindling, and even more are those that served at Pearl Harbor during the attack. A few years ago I watched a news/documentary piece relating this fact to the audience. One short piece out of that entire episode centered upon one veteran who had become the sole remaining member of his unit he had served with at that base. I do not recall the man’s name, or what his duties encompassed while in the service, but I do remember a vision that formed in my mind over this man’s lasting legacy as a part of the efforts to maintain the life of democracy around the world during those years.

According to the piece, after the war was over he and his fellow comrades in arms from that unit gathered in memory every December 7th and toasted first those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, and then raised their glasses in memory of those comrades who had died as the years passed after the wars end.

There was finally just two men left, and as one of the men was too ill to travel very far, it was agreed that the reunion of the two would be held in this man’s hometown, rather than at the usual restaurant in another town where they had always met before. As the first man boarded a plan in early December to travel to his friends town, his wife had received an urgent call saying that his friend had been rushed to the hospital. Having no family, the man died alone in the hospital before his friend could get there.

The remaining vet mourned for his friend, arranged for his interment, and on the 7th, went to the bar the two were supposed to meet at. The TV piece did not elaborate on this last evening of remembrance, but I had a vision of this man at the bar. I could see him sitting alone at the bar, gazing at his reflection of the mirror at the back of the bar. His image blurred by the film from the smoke filled air in the bar, he could see his graying hair, the lines of age etched upon his face as he remembered every one of the toasts he and his comrades gave to those who had departed.

He raised his glass for one last toast, first for those who had died at Pearl Harbor, then for those who had passed beyond life since then, and one last time for his dear departed friend, knowing full well that there would be no one to raise their glass in remembrance of himself, the last of the heros.

I wrote a poem in tribute to these men that I call “Tipping My Last Beer,” and this year I put together a video in tribute to the 70th anniversary of this insidious attack. An attack that began even while the Japanese ambassador met with officials in Washington to negotiate a treaty.

Enjoy the video, and please share it if you would like to.

Categories: breaking news, events, headlines, history, military, Uncategorized, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fort Williams to be Unearthed?

Dining with Antiques – Christmas Rosettes
In the 1840s and 1850s, Scandinavian settlers brought to the United States the tradition of making an assortment of delicious Christmas cookies using open fireplaces and cast iron implements. Over time, cultures blended into America’s melting pot and traditions became diluted, but these fascinating cookie-making tools can still be found, hidden among the Dutch ovens, skillets and other cast iron miscellany on tables at outdoor flea markets. The items, resembling small branding irons (with screw-on “brands”), are used to make rosettes, a favorite Nordic Christmas treat. Check out Worthologist Liz Holderman’s primer on these vintage kitchen implements, as well as a traditional recipe for those interested in trying to make them. Read “Dining with Antiques – Christmas Rosettes”

History buried at Fort Williams Park


The park’s charitable foundation plans to explore the possibility of uncovering a buried gun battery.

CAPE ELIZABETH – Large interpretive signs help explain Battery Blair to visitors at the town’s Fort Williams ParkJoe Edgar says much more interesting things are under those visitors’ feet. Edgar is a director of the Fort Williams Charitable Foundation, which has raised more than $36,000 for an engineering study to determine whether a buried section of the gun battery — which includes the ammunition magazines, plotting rooms, and space for tool storage, generators and latrines — can stand the stress of being uncovered.

“Spend Christmas in Jail!”

The Ellsworth Historical Society will again be having their annual open house and “Old Fashioned Christmas” with free admission to the museum on December 3, 11:00-3:00 at the home of the Society” The Old Hancock County Jail”, 40 State Street Ellsworth next to the Ellsworth Library.

The 1886 home of the Sherriff will decorated for the holidays with hot mulled cider and cookies. Guests will be welcome to tour the 1886 home of the Hancock County Sherriff’s of the past and see how they spent their day-to-day lives and tending the prisoners in the jail. Guests will also be allowed to tour the Sherriff’s office and the cellblock of so many of our notorious Ellsworth prisoners!

A special exhibit will also be on display “A Soldiers Christmas” that will display military items from the archives of the society as well as items on loan. One very special exhibit we will have this year is a recent donation to the society of a 12 lb British Canon Ball that was shot at a Ellsworth Barn on the Union River believed from the Revolutionary War period. So many Ellsworth boys were not home for the holidays so we felt it was important to show our support and remember the soldiers of Ellsworth at this special time of year.

The society continues its goal of preserving the artifacts of Ellsworth History and as always needs your support. Donations are welcome and may be sent to The Ellsworth Historical Society PO Box 355 Ellsworth, Me 04605. If you have items to donate or any questions, please contact Terri Weed Cormier at 667-8235 or Linda Grindle at 667-5716. The society is currently looking for glass locking display cabinets to display items securely, if you have one to donate please contact us. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you all at the Open House for some cider and cookies and lots of reminiscing about Ellsworth’s past.

Museums of Old York

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

December

3rd Join us this Saturday for A Christmas Tea at Jefferds Tavern.

As a part of the annual Festival of Lights celebration in York Village, Museums of Old York hosts a favorite holiday tradition at historic Jefferds Tavern from noon until 4 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 3. This yuletide fest, managed by volunteer Michele LaBranche, offers traditional Victorian-style holiday cheer to the whole family. Candlelight, a cozy fire, shining silver, delicate teacups and holiday greens set the stage in the Tavern. But the desserts are really the highlight of the afternoon!

Created by local bakers and talented volunteers, this year’s menue of tasty treats includeds: Apple Crisp, Harvest Pumpkin Pie, Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Almond Pie, Lemon Pie, Fluffy Peanut Butter Pie, and Indian Pudding. Enjoy the ambiance, company of friends and delicious desserts as you warm yourself by the fire. The last sitting will be at 3:30 p.m. Admission is $6 and includes a choice of two desserts and tea. No charge for children under age 5 and no reservation required.

14th Candle Dipping and Holiday Decor. Without electricity how did people light their homes at night? With candles of course! Dip your own candles for when the power goes out this winter or as a centerpiece for a holiday dinner. Create colorful curled candles, string cranberries and make a decoration for your window or Christmas tree. 3-5 p.m. at The Parsons Center. Registration required, ages 8 and up, $10 ($8 members).

Stories from Maine Memory Network

Bringing in the Swedes

30th Anniversary Celebration, New Sweden, 1900

The settlement of the Swedish colony in Aroostook County in the 1870s is a remarkable story. Political leaders, spurred by the Homestead Act and led by W.W. Thomas, actively recruited Swedish immigrants to northern Maine, both to encourage economic development and to secure the northern border with Canada. By the 1890s, nearly 1,500 Swedish immigrants had settled in Aroostook County and established a vibrant community that remains strong to this day.

View the exhibit from Maine History Online for an overview. To explore the story further, visit the website a local team from New Sweden developed through the Maine Community Heritage Project.

TRAVELIN’ MAINE(RS): Head to New Gloucester and have yourself a Merry Shaker
Kennebec Journal
Shaker Village includes a store with many interesting products, a fascinating museum, a craft store with locally made crafts from lamps to baskets to cheese balls, a farm with sheep and goats and several historical buildings

Farmington Historical Society to sell wreaths
Lewiston Sun Journal
Along with a parade and other activities, the Titcomb House Museum is open from 9:30 am to 3 pm All proceeds support the Farmington Historical Society’s mission of preserving Farmington’s history and maintenance of the Titcomb House and North Church

Schooner Bowdoin’s Untold Story Subject of Upcoming Castine Exhibit
The Maritime Executive (press release)
The untold story of Maine Maritime Academy’s (MMA) historic schooner Bowdoin will be illuminated in an upcoming exhibit at the Castine Historical Society scheduled for the summer of 2012. The exhibit, entitled “Schooner Bowdoin on the Greenland Patrol”

Leeds Historical Society views Harry Cochrane Murals
Lewiston Sun Journal
LEEDS — Members of the Leeds Historical Society met recently at the old Methodist Church on Quaker Ridge with artisan Tony Castro from New Gloucester. Castro has worked for more than 25 years in the field of decorative painting, and some of Maine’s…

Maine fish passage restoration effort get $92K grant
The Republic
Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe says the $92505 grant is going to the Nobleboro Historical Society. Through the years, the towns have undertaken several

Categories: antiques, articles, breaking news, collectibles, events, Geneology, headlines, historic buildings, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine, Maine Historical Society, Museums of Old York, stories, Uncategorized, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WWII Warbirds Flock to Auburn

Hello everyone! I’ve been vacationing, so a lot of news has been missed, but here is another roundup (a long one this time) of Maine history news highlights and headlines from around the state. Lots of exciting things going on, from the visit of some WWII warplanes to the LA municipal airport in Auburn. Also, a lot of events are still happening all over, even though Fall is coming, along with the traditional shuttering of many historical society operating seasons.

As usual, if you have trouble with a link, copy and paste it into your browsers search window to visit the site. And if you have any news to share ot events to schedule, feel free to email them to me at editor@touringmaineshistory.com.

I would like to give a shout out this week to Susan Sheffield of Dover Delaware for emailing a couple of excerpts from an issue of the New England Magazine with a story about Thomas B. Reed. It is unusual to find something like that so far from its home area. Thanks Susan!

Journalist/author visits Thomaston Historical
Thomaston — Author Kevin C. Mills will discuss his journey researching his family history to publishing his first novel, “Sons and Daughters of the Ocean,” at the monthly meeting of Thomaston Historical Society at the Knox Farmhouse, 80 Knox St. The…

Author to discuss Civil War regiment from Maine at Heritage Day in Brooks
Brooks — Brooks Historical Society will hold its annual Heritage Day Open House on Sunday, Oct. 9 from 1-4 pm at the Pilley House. New this year will be a featured speaker Peter Dalton of Northport, author of “With Our Faces To The Foe: A History Of…

Bird talks on ‘Rockland, Maine’s Tidal Turn’
Rockland — On Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 pm, Rockland Public Library will present a talk John Bird on his recent book, “Rockland, Maine’s Tidal Turn.” The talk is co-sponsored by the Rockland Historical Society. Bird has compiled a series of columns…

Clean gravestones with water, elbow grease, gentle brushes
When I hear them talk about their travels — a newly discovered cemetery in Mercer, a historical society meeting in Hope — all I can think of is a pinball machine pinging them around Maine’s graveyards in need. Bill’s slide presentation took us along…

25 things to do this fall — festivals, foliage and fun
See how Mainers from the past two centuries got dressed up at the Maine Historical Society’s fashion in Maine exhibit, which runs into 2012. Hats, jewelry, shoes, hair combs, walking sticks and several complete costumes are on display along with a wide…

Irish lecture series proving to be a hit
A former teacher, he is a member of the Androscoggin Historical Society, Maine Historical Society and the Irish American Club of Maine. He has authored two books, “Early Murphy Descendants of Mary Hurley and James McCarthy” and “Androscoggin Irish…

Hauling History: Jon Hentz to share lobster trap lore
But through personal memory, research and craftsmanship, Hentz has hauled up more than a century’s worth of trap-making that he will present at the Georgetown Historical Society building Tuesday night. The free talk will trace the development from the…

Surprise takes WWII veteran back to old heights

A ride in a historic plane honors a Maine Tuskegee Airman who served his country and came home to face racial bias.

World War II bombers make stop in Auburn

AUBURN — “You see them on TV, but you never really know what they’re like inside,” marveled Russ Allen of Auburn as he made his way slowly through the belly of the B-17G Flying Fortress at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport on Monday afternoon. Inside, the plane was a…

Wings of Freedom bringing vintage planes to airport

AUBURN — Former New Gloucester resident Tom Driscoll picks up the leather flying jacket that his father, Lt. John Driscoll Sr., wore when he piloted B-17s in the 1940s. The jacket is a family treasure and symbol of the stories that John finally began telling about the war near th…

Old Otisfield Town House may be raised to save historic listing

OTISFIELD — The old Otisfield Town House and the approximate one-half acre of land it sits on may be raised 52 inches so it can retain its listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The wood-frame 1905 building on Bell Hill Road has its original oak chairs and voting booth…

From WorthPoint; Q& A: Talking 125 Years of Coke
This year, Coca-Cola marks the 125th anniversary of the creation of the famous beverage, first introduced as a fountain drink in Atlanta, Ga., in 1886. The popularity of the sparkling refreshment was aided by a merchandising frenzy, as thousands of mass-market advertising collectibles were produced over the years—from promotional items, holiday-themed items and signs—and all proved to be pretty durable, making collecting fairly easy. In that vein of thought, Worthologist Liz Holderman interviews Denis Bardin, the president of the Coca-Cola Collectors Club. Check out what hardcore Coke collectors are looking for these days. Read “Q & A: Talking 125 Years of Coke”

Museums of Old York Events:

October
3 Needle Wizards. Join us every Monday morning as we socialize while sewing costumes for Old York’s education interpreters. Whether you are good at cutting out patterns, hand-sewing caps, piecing skirts or sewing on the machine, we could use your help. Come to The Parsons Center upstairs in the gallery at 3 Lindsay Road for an hour or the whole morning. 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. For more information, email Cindi Young-Gomes at registrar@oldyork.org.

6 Who Discovered York? Observe Columbus Day in a different way by learning about the several “discoveries” of York from the 1630s – 1900s. 7 p.m. at The Parsons Center.

10 Needle Wizards. Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. upstairs at The Parsons Center. Email registrar@oldyork.org for more information.

12 Scarecrow Making. Learn the origins of the scarecrow while you make one to decroate your yard. Bring old clothes to struff with leaves and create a crazy face out of cloth. 3-5 p.m. at The Parsons Center. Ages 6 and up, $8 per child ($6 members). Registration required. Email education@oldyork.org to sign up.

15 Marketfest! The Museums of Old York will be a busy place Saturday October 15th from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Jefferds Tavern will be open to the public for $1. Visitors can watch the Tavern Mistress cook a full meal over the open fire, enjoy traditional crafters, and check out our new upstairs exhibit on WWII home front efforts. Outside Jefferds Tavern children and adults can help press apples into cider, enjoy home baked goods and have fun making a rag doll at our kids table. The Parsons Center will be open for $1 with the upstairs exhibit on life in 17th century York, titled “The country heer is plentiful”, open all day. Downstairs people can view the pies entered in our Autumn Pies contest, or have their photo taken in costume in our Old Time Photo Booth. The pies will be judged in the The Parsons Center at 2 p.m. The 1719 Old Gaol will be open all day so people can see the original stone cells and learn about the prisoners incarcerated within. For $1 join us at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m. to watch theatrical prisoner performances and hear stories told by the jail keeper! If you would like to enter a pie in the Autumn Pies contest, or are interested in volunteering at the Museum for Marketfest, please email education@oldyork.org.

17 Needle Wizards. Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. upstairs at The Parsons Center. Email registrar@oldyork.org for more information.

19 Fall Fair Day. Join us for traditional fair activities and fall fun! Potato sack and three-legged races, human ox pull, skillet throw, bobbing for apples, leaf diving for treasure and apple cider pressing. 3-5 p.m. at The Parsons Center. Ages 6 and up, $8 per child ($6 members). Registration required. Email education@oldyork.org to sign up.

24 Needle Wizards. Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. upstairs at The Parsons Center. Email registrar@oldyork.org for more information.

26 Pumpkin Carving. Come carve pumpkins in front of the fire! Learn the history of Halloween as you transform your pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern and eat the seeds roasted over the open fire. Bring your own pumpkin. Knives, newspaper and cleanup will be provided. 3-5 p.m. at The Parsons Center. All ages are welcome. $5 suggested donation. Registration encouraged. Email education@oldyork.org to sign up.

29 Haunted Historical Halloween — Where Facts are Scarier than Fiction! Join a tour of historic ghosts starting at The Parsons Center and traveling through the buildings and grounds at Old York. For the young or skittish, we offer storytelling in Jefferds Tavern and spooky games in the Parsons Center. 6 – 8 p.m. All ages are welcome. Members free. $5 for teens and adults and family rates for non-members.

Maine Historical Society Events:


Tuesday, October 4, 12pm

Book Talk: Our Game Was Baseball

Presenter: John Hodgkins, Author

Get in the mood for the World Series with this wonderful new memoir of growing up with the Temple Townies in the 1940s and ’50s. Our Game Was Baseball follows A Soldier’s Son, Hodgkins’ poignant memoir of his childhood in Temple, Maine during World War II. Hodgkins interviews former team members, recounts his own passion for the Townies, and explores the central role the Townies played in the life of this western Maine community.

Friday, October 7, 5-8pm

First Friday Art Walk: Two Fabulous Fashion Exhibits

Thursday, October 13, 7pm

Book Talk: Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light

Presenter: Jane Brox, Author

Saturday, October 15, 1-4pm

Maine Home Movie Day with Northeast Historic Film

Categories: antiques, articles, collectibles, events, headlines, historic buildings, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine, Maine Historical Society, Maine things to do, museum news, Museums of Old York, preservation, Uncategorized, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Mitchell B-25 and the Panchito

This film contains archival footage and video taken by the Remember ME! Media crew at the Great State of Maine Air Show, 2011 in Brunswick Maine. The Panchito is a faithfully restored B-25 medium bomber used in conjunction with the DAV’s outreach program to spread the services available to our veterans in the US.

The purpose of this short film is to tell the story of this fabulous little bomber and the impact that it had on all theaters of the WWII conflict. Primarily utilized in the Pacific Theater, the B-25’s most famous moment was when Lt. Colonel “Jimmy” Doolittle used 16 of these airplanes in a daring sea launched raid over Japan.

Launched 600 miles from Japan from the aircraft carrier the USS Hornet after having been prematurely discovered by the Japanese, these airmen volunteered without exception to carry on with the mission, even though they knew there would be insufficient fuel to carry them to safe bases in China where they could be safely recovered.

All but one plane crashed, and the one surviving plane was confiscated when the pilot landed in Russia.

The plane used in the clips from the movie Aerial Gunner was not actually a B-25, although I had been assured it was. It is actually what was designated a B-34, or more properly a Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon/Ventura. My guess would be that there were no B-25’s available for filming, and this is the closest variant the film company could come up with.

However, the set props were B-25 components for the most part. Remember that Hollywood is Hollywood, and artistic license trumps detail nearly every time.

It was still a great little movie and worth seeing sometime, and can be downloaded in full from the Prelinger Archives, along with miles of other vintage footage.

Enjoy the video!

Categories: antiques, events, historic preservation, history, Maine things to do, museum news, preservation, Uncategorized, WWII | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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