April 08, 2020

Yesterday …

(As reported in the Bangor Daily News)

10 years ago – Oct. 26, 1996

OLD TOWN – An early morning fire swept through the midsection of North Main Street, cutting into the heart of the downtown business district.

By the time firefighters from Old Town and several neighboring communities got the fire under control, flames had consumed three turn-of-the-century buildings that housed six businesses and several apartments. Only one unit was occupied, leaving a couple homeless.

The fire cut short Old Town Fire Chief Ed Pollard’s trip to a state convention in Portland where fire chiefs were gathered for their annual conference.

“You know it’s going to be a crummy day when you hear on Portland TV news that your downtown’s in flames,” Pollard said. He made it back to Old Town by midmorning.


OLD TOWN – When fire devastated several North Main Street businesses and apartments, it took with it a part of Old Town’s history. The 151-year-old Bradbury Block and adjacent structures comprised landmarks whose names have been known in Old Town for a century or more.

Cutler’s still operates its wholesale business, but ceased the retail clothing and sporting goods store a couple of years ago. The company had been started in 1898 by Edwin Cutler.

Even before Cutler’s there was Gray Hardware Co., located at the 40 North Main St. site which Chief Poolaw’s Trading Post occupied in recent years.

Before the turn of the century, George and Herbert Gray also provided financial backing to a small business behind the hardware store run by a man named Wickett. That business built canoes and was incorporated in 1903 as Old Town Canoe.


BANGOR – Fifty-one years after the city vowed its intention to erect a memorial to those who served in World War II, it’s going to happen – without city money.

Councilor Don Soucy will introduce a resolution at the City Council meeting to support the efforts to those who will erect and maintain the memorial – Galen Cole and the Galen Cole Family Foundation.

The bronze memorial, featuring a World War II jeep and GI to be located on the site of the Cole Transportation Museum on Perry Road, will honor Bangor residents and all Mainers who served in the war, including the 4,476 who died.


OLD TOWN – An award-winning author, Ellen Bryan Obed of Old Town, will have her work featured by one of Canada’s most respected theaters for the young.

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia has adapted Obed’s “Borrowed Black, a Labrador Fantasy” for the stage with a production which features whimsical puppets and unusual “black light” theater techniques.

Obed has been invited to visit the Maritime region during the fall tour of “Borrowed Black” and will address the Canadian Children’s Literature Round Table in both Fredericton, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

25 years ago – Oct. 26, 1981

HAMPDEN – When Wendy Monson was studying recreation leadership at a two-year college in Vermont, she didn’t have any idea that five years later she would be ordained minister of a church with a congregation of more than 100 people.

Now, at 26, the Rev. Wendy Monson of the United Methodist Church of Hampden admits that she is probably one of the youngest in her church, but that – and the responsibility of the congregation – doesn’t faze her.

Monson has experienced no resistance from the congregation because she is a woman minister. At Drew University, where she received seminary education, women made up 35 percent of the seminary student body. “I wasn’t unusual,” she said.


ORONO – University of Maine in Orono police detective Terry Burgess became the second man in the 10-year history of UM’s Police and Safety Division to be commended for bravery.

Police and Safety Division Director Alan Reynolds presented Burgess with the departmental bravery citation and a silver bar for his decisive action in disarming a man who drew a gun in a potentially threatening situation.

Burgess, a member of the division since 1976, said he “did only what every other officer in the department would do in similar circumstances.” Police Officer John Gray, who answered the call with Burgess, received a certificate for distinguished service for his assistance.

50 years ago – Oct. 26, 1956

ORONO – “The atom and the United Nations, coupled as they are in this, our present day international relations, have made world war impossible,” declared professor Herbert H. Wood Jr. of the arts and sciences department of the University of Maine. Wood spoke on the United Nations at the meeting of Soroptimist International of Bangor at the Penobscot Hotel.

He pointed out that the United Nations is the business of everyone. It should be the obligation of all citizens to understand the United Nations and the role it is to play in international affairs in the Atomic Age. The atom makes war unprofitable because of its great dangers, and the United Nations provides as the alternative to war a method of negotiation, Wood said.


BANGOR – “I like to go out, but I am just too busy most of the time,” Mrs. Lillian Reynolds of 56 Essex St. declared. She will celebrate her 95th birthday anniversary Sunday.

If you can imagine a rabid Red Sox fan who only a few weeks ago watched TV until 2 o’clock in the morning when this ball club played a 19-inning game; a woman who keeps her own home, sews and crochets, washes and irons, you have a pretty good picture of this remarkable woman.

Discussing sports, she says she doesn’t care too much for basketball and football, but baseball is really her love.

Right now she is putting together a crib quilt, the top of which her mother made 73 years ago for one of her 10 great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Reynolds lives with her two sons, Harvey L. Reynolds and Perley W. Reynolds, of Bangor.

100 years ago – Oct. 26, 1906

ORONO – Trains running between Old Town and Bangor will hereafter be governed by the automatic block signals which have lately been installed and the operation of which went into effect last week. These signals have been installed between Great Works and Basin Mills.


BUCKSPORT – Fire broke out in the Emery Hall building, the large, four-story wooden structure on the east side of Main Street. By the hardest kind of firefighting, the local department confined the blaze to the immediate section of the buildings where it originated, otherwise the village might have suffered from a disastrous conflagration. As it was the loss was limited to about $12,000.

The building contains Emery Hall, with the stores A.F. Page, druggist; and the Dinsmore Shoe Co. beneath; and the hall of Verona Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, above. A stairway separates this part from the Summer and Winter Hotel, beneath a portion of which is the store of William A. Remick, paper hanging and upholstery, and James McInnis, barber shop.

It was a difficult fire to fight and required much water, which was poured into the building for two hours or more from the two hand tubs and the hydrants. The building was flooded with water and badly smoked.


ORONO – The new Carnegie library at the University of Maine will be dedicated Nov. 2. The keys to the new library will be delivered to the president and faculty of the university by Maine Gov. William T. Cobb. University librarian Ralph K. Jones will give an address, “The Relation of the Library to the State.” Music will be provided by the University Military Band and the University Orchestra.

The authorities of the university wish every citizen of the state to feel himself personally invited to attend the ceremony. As the institution is a state university, every citizen is always invited to every public affair connected with it.

Compiled by Ardeana Hamlin

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