July 02, 2020

Yesterday …

(As reported in the Bangor Daily News)

10 years ago – April 6, 1996

ORONO – Old buildings make way for modern structures or roads. It’s an improvement from one viewpoint, a disregard for historic legacy from another.

On Main Street in Orono, for example, traditional structures like the circa-1800 Capt. David Reed House and the stately 1904 Town Hall were removed in the past to be replaced by a convenience store and a modern municipal building. Now, however, the lapping of the same tide of change at the worn steps of the circa-1830 Katahdin Building, recently pointed out as the possible site of a “super drug store,” has sparked objections from some residents based in part on its historic value.

The Katahdin Building isn’t architecturally beautiful – a 1975 Orono Historical Society survey terms its workmanlike style, “brick commercial revival.” It’s linked with no famous person or significant document. Look back through time, however, and you’ll find that from its beginnings as Wyman’s Tavern in the 1830s, the building has been a constant reflection of the commercial and social life of a small Maine town.


BANGOR – The Downtown Bangor Association began as a meeting of seven businesspeople at West Market Square 18 months ago. They took as their objective the promotion and development of the downtown district, a district that encompasses commercial, professional and residential interests.

Cynthia Cavanaugh, who with her husband, Tom, owns Best Bib and Tucker, a men’s and women’s clothing store on Main Street, is the group’s president and chief spokeswoman. She sees the focus of the association as inclusive.

“We call ourselves the Downtown Bangor Association for a reason. We don’t use the word ‘merchants’ because there’s a large portion of people who live here who aren’t merchants, and they’ve joined our organization,” Cavanaugh said.

25 years ago – April 6, 1981

ORONO – “When I write for children,” said Norma Fox Mazur, the chief speaker at the second annual Young Authors’ Conference held at the University of Maine, “I never write down to them. I write for them as I would for adults. No patronization. That’s deadly.”

The first conference was held in 1979, said Nancy Andrews.

From all accounts, Mrs. Mazur’s speech was germane since she addressed herself to the pragmatic aspects of the craft of writing. “I told them that when I write, I must start with a story line to grab and hold my readers.”


BANGOR – While most of Bangor’s residents were sound asleep, a small group of people from a Connecticut-based international children’s organization were at Bangor International Airport waiting, tired but eager, to make connection with a mammoth 747 cargo-passenger jet.

On board were 170,000 pounds of medical, agricultural and construction supplies, and among the jet’s 26 passengers were a medical team, an agronomist, a logistics specialist and five relief specialists from various international organizations.

Destination: Somalia, a small slipper-shaped country that makes up the promontory of the Horn of Africa, where nomadic people who inhabit the area are dying of starvation at the rate of 15 million to 20 million a year.

The mercy flight originated in Oakland, Calif., and had its beginnings two months ago when a group of people in California recognized the needs of the drought- and hunger-stricken people of Somalia.

50 years ago – April 6, 1956

BANGOR – This has been a reading winter for the adults of Bangor according to the figures released by L. Felix Ranlett, librarian of the Bangor Public Library.

Total adult home use of books was up 14 percent for the first quarter of 1956 over the same period of 1955. Nonfiction reading was up 17 percent and fiction reading was up 10 percent. The children who heretofore have been shaming their elders in the amount of reading they have been doing bowed before the grown-ups this winter. The children showed only a 5 percent increase, but Ranlett pointed out this small gain was expected as the kids have been making very large gains during the past few years.

The adult nonfiction gain was in social sciences, useful arts technology and how to make and use things, literature, plays, poetry, humor, essays and short stories, history and biography. Ranlett could give no reason for the increased interest in reading by the adult population of Bangor.


BANGOR – Eighty-six Lions from eight clubs watched a preview of the musical “Brigadoon,” as the cast danced and sang in competition with a clucking, strutting rooster at a Traveling Trophy night in the Penobscot Hotel.

The meeting featured a short talk on the Maine Sight Conservation program of the Lions Club by Dr. Clyde Swett, district governor from Island Falls, and saw the East Millinocket Lions Club win the traveling trophy only to turn it over to Bucksport. For East Millinocket’s generous gesture, they were presented a consolation prize of a live rooster, who very nearly stole the show.

Dr. Swett told the group that the Lions are all set to go, with clinics and doctors lined up, to take care of glaucoma cases, which if not treated would lead to blindness. More than 2 percent of the people over 45 years of age in Maine have glaucoma, he said.

100 years ago – April 6, 1906

HAMPDEN – The deputy sheriffs of the enforcement squad made a highly successful expedition to Hampden on Thursday afternoon, returning with a large and varied assortment of liquors, from champagne to beer, which they found in the wine-room of the Hampden House.

The wine-room was in a somewhat remote section of the tavern – in fact, most people would have had trouble finding it at all. The deputies ransacked the house quite thoroughly without finding anything suspicious until, sounding the floors in the attic, they heard a suspicious rattle and, ripping up a board, discovered a bottle of whiskey. Flashing a searchlight, they illuminated a sizable room in a space made by the overlapping of two roofs.

There did not appear to be any door to the place and not having any Houdini along during the expedition, Deputy Bowen rang the bell for the innkeeper, D.H. Clements, and told him that he could either reveal the combination, or the place would be unlocked with an axe. At this, Mr. Clements revealed a secret trapdoor skillfully concealed between two beams.


BANGOR – Fire last night in the new business building on Broad Street owned by Hiram Oliver and occupied by the Snow & Nealley Co., heavy hardware and ship chandlery, and by the Arthur Chapin Co., wholesale grocers, caused an aggregate damage of about $20,000, fully insured.

Never was the value of the police patrol system known as the “light routes” made possible by the three-squad arrangement, or the almost wonderful efficiency of the Bangor Fire Department in the matter of quick hitches, demonstrated to better advantage than when the two working together saved a big property loss.

Patrolmen Meade, Carey and Golden were “doing the lights,” which means a careful inspection over certain routes in the business section, in the rear of Broad Street stores, when they discovered exactly what they were looking for – a fire.

The building, which is one of the most modern in Maine, and was erected just last year at a cost of $35,000-$45,000, was as nearly fireproof as possible. Doors of zinc and several inches thick, shut off the various floors and closed automatically in case of fire, working perfectly last night. The modern construction of the building and the automatic doors saved a greater loss.

The origin of the fire was not immediately known.


BUCKSPORT – Charles Davis returned from Bangor at noon Wednesday, bringing with him a nice family driving horse that he purchased there.


BUCKSPORT – Henry C. Backman went to Bangor on Thursday to take the position of engineer for a short time on the steamer Cimbria, which commences running on the Bangor and Bar Harbor route Friday.

Compiled by Ardeana Hamlin

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