September 16, 2019
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Rockland planning 150th birthday bash

ROCKLAND – The new year will be special for residents with the celebration of the city’s 150th birthday on June 3.

The sesquicentennial committee is plotting a number of events throughout the year to recognize the city’s rich history. Rockland was incorporated June 3, 1854.

On that date in 2004, a municipal meeting will be held, where the reading of some of the city’s first official documents will occur, City Councilor Brian Harden said earlier this week. Harden is also chairman of the sesquicentennial committee.

The 24-member committee is working on a series of events, some of which will be tied to Rockland Public Library’s 100th birthday in April and the city’s summer solstice event, which takes place in June.

The scattered activities will include a “heavy emphasis with working with the schools,” Harden said, noting SAD 5 Superintendent Anne Demers has been consulted and is “very enthusiastic” about students participating in the celebration through writing, art and other activities.

The city’s logo depicting bees at a hive with the words “God gives reward to industry” will be displayed at many of the events, Harden said. From shipbuilding, lime processing, and granite quarrying to commercial fishing and lobstering, Rockland is known for its working past.

Besides planning a sesquicentennial event to coincide with the library’s centennial, the Rockland Historical Society hopes to release resident Bert Snow’s book “The Main Beam” at that time. Snow’s 600-page book with some 200 illustrations is all about the ships and shipyards of Rockland.

Nearly 500 ships, including 10 clipper ships, have been built in the city, Harden noted.

Other goals of the committee are to have the Maine Lobster Festival’s 2004 theme reflect the city’s 150th birthday and for the Farnsworth Art Museum to exhibit the works of Rockland artists and paintings of the city.

Artist Edward Hopper did 21 paintings of Rockland, Harden said, which have never been exhibited all together. It is hoped a good number of his works will be on display, he said.

The steering committee will continue piecing together a full slate of events and activities to honor the city.

Its next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, at City Hall. The public is invited.


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