July 16, 2020

Yesterday …

10 years ago – March 24, 1995

(As reported in the Bangor Daily News)

HAMPDEN – For the last 16 years the annual Hampden Children’s Day has been filled with fun and games for families in the area. While the event has grown to attract thousands of people, changes have been few.

With an eye on the future and the hopes of bettering a growing tradition, organizers are looking for new volunteers to pump in new ideas as a busy five-month preparation stretches ahead for the 17th annual event.

The Hampden Children’s Day committee, which has lost a couple of its volunteers, is made up of 15 individuals, including some who have no children.

25 years ago – March 24, 1980

BANGOR – Congresswoman Olympia J. Snowe will address spring graduation exercises of Beal College at the Bangor Armory, according to an announcement by President David R. Tibbetts.

In 1978 Snowe was chosen in a United Press International survey as one of the 10 most influential women in New England. She is the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the first Greek-American woman.

50 years ago – March 24, 1955

BANGOR – Two Bangor women will be among those witnessing an atom bomb survival test at the Nevada Proving Grounds on April 15.

Mrs. Aubigne Smith, deputy director of nursing for the Penobscot County Civil Defense organization, will participate in the survival test, and Miss M. Elizabeth McCarthy, civilian administrative supervisor at the Bangor Filter Center, will be an observer.

Miss McCarthy has been invited to attend by the Continental Air Defense Command, with headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the only Maine civilian to be invited by that command. Mrs. Smith is one of eight Maine people who have been invited by the Federal Civil Defense or the Maine Civil Defense organizations.

Miss McCarthy is a Bangor native and attended Eastern State Normal School at Machias. She is the head of the social studies and English departments at the Fifth Street Junior High School. She has served more than 25 years in Bangor schools.

Mrs. Smith is the wife of Dr. Hugh Smith, radiologist at Eastern Maine General Hospital. She graduated from Bates College in Lewiston and the Yale University School of Nursing. She attended the Atomic Warfare Institute at the Eastern Maine General Hospital in 1950. For the past four years she has been director of nursing for the Penobscot County CD organization.


BANGOR – A story from London on the front page of the NEWS reporting the sale of an elephant size folio of Audubon’s “Birds of America” – the 9,200-pound volume sold for $25,700 – caught the eye of L. Felix Ranlett, librarian of the Bangor Public Library.

He had only to look on the landing of the library’s grand staircase and there were two of Audubon’s elephant size prints, about the size of a one sheet poster, that were given to the library in 1913 by Mary T. Sanford and Martha Clark Sanford.

How much were they worth?

Well, 13 years ago, the nearest reference point until the sale in London, the ivory-billed woodpecker was worth $145 and the broad-winged hawk $110.

There were 435 plates in the original publication, which was published in 1827 and 1833. The London sale was for the complete folio.

Ah, well! Fabulous book sales in London, ivory-billed woodpeckers and broad-winged hawks on the walls of the public library in Bangor. But how much will you give for Bangor’s first red-breasted robin?


CASTINE – Lincoln Sennett, principal of the Washington State Teacher’s College, will speak on the “Need for Teachers” before the high school. Two WAC recruiters from the Bangor Receiving Station will talk on “What the Army has to Offer” and explain where the student stands in relation to the draft.

100 years ago – March 24, 1905

BUSCKSPORT – Well, it’s all over – she’s off and her name is Roosevelt, just plain Roosevelt. And it’s a good and appropriate name, all will agree, for there’s not a more strenuous ship in the world than the Roosevelt will be when her heart of oak is set throbbing and she turns her prow to the dark, silent frozen north, ever north.

It will be strenuous, the 350 miles of ramming, jamming, dodging battle with the icebergs, the heart-breaking hammering of the brave little ship as she passes on and on in her one life endeavor to reach the top end of creation [the North Pole] with the dauntless Peary.

The hull of the Peary Arctic Club’s steamer slid from the ways in the McKay & Dix ship yard on the head of Verona Island just across the back channel from Bucksport at 12:35 p.m. Thursday. She slid across the channel and struck the mud on the farther side, but this was a mere incident as she was pulled out and docked as soon as a tug could get a line to her.

It was the biggest day ever for Bucksport. The town was amazed beyond measure at the invasion from every direction. The regular morning train brought more than 700 people from Bangor. Hundreds drove in by teams from miles around and the first excursion party of the season came up from Castine way in the Silver Star to swell the great concourse.

It was a well-dressed, well-behaved crowd, estimated to number more than 5,000. Many prominent business and professional men from all over eastern Maine, all the old-time shipmasters, high school girls and boys playing hooky and – well, most everybody was there.

The souvenir postal card collectors added to their collections. And the cameras! Hundreds of them. It seemed as if every other person had a camera, from the wee Brownies to the larger varieties and photographic paraphernalia enough to load a dray. The local dealers in camera supplies were entirely cleaned out of films and plates before the day was over.

Bucksport was nearly eaten out of house and home. The hotels and restaurants were swamped, boardinghouses did a hotel business and the groceries took care of the overflow. The wise people brought their lunch boxes.

The crowds formed a cordon extending more than a mile from Verona Bridge, up Main Street, on the banks, in the street and on the sidewalks, all eyes focused on the stern of the craft just showing through the end of the great building across the channel, and over which floated a beautiful bunting ensign presented by the citizens of Bucksport.

Meanwhile on a platform built at the bow about 10 feet above the ground, the christening party was waiting: Mrs. Peary, charming, vivacious and self-possessed, as always, in a trim blue suit, her almost priceless blue fox furs and a picture hat; Commander Peary; Robert Peary Jr., 17 months old, hugging tight to Charlie, the big steward; Miss Marie Peary, 11 years old, and her particular friends and guests, Miss Margaret Snow and Miss Florence Homer; Capt. and Mrs. Charles Dix; Capt. Bartlett, the old Arctic skipper and his daughter, Miss Edith Bartlett; and Mrs. Mary Evans of Portland, an aunt of Commander Peary.

The christening was decidedly unique thanks to a novel idea originated and carried out by Capt. Dix, who reasoned that as the craft was essentially an icebreaker it would be fitting and proper for her to break ice at the very start. And with the baptism by champagne, which couldn’t be lost sight of, Dix cleverly combined the two.

A huge block of ice was scooped out and the bottle of champagne placed inside. With all her might, Mrs. Peary drove the block of ice against the bow and ice and glass shattered into a thousand fragments.

As soon as the vessel was clear of the ways, a staff was raised on her deck and a great pennant fluttered a moment and broke out with “Roosevelt” in blue letters on a white ground.

The great cheer that burst spontaneously from the vast crowd was hushed for a moment then burst forth again, greater than before.

Compiled by Ardeana Hamlin

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