Town of Skowhegan Maine; https://www.skowhegan.org/
The Early History of Skowhegan by Lee Granville, Associate Curator, Skowhegan History House & Research Center
More to come, keep checking back.
Information on Governor Abner Coburn, written by Skowhegan Heritage Council
The Town of Skowhegan has a rich and vibrant history. You can learn more by clicking on any of the following links.
View some historic photos about the Town of Skowhegan.
Kennebec River: https://www.britannica.com/place/Kennebec-River
Skowhegan Indian: https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/6162
Skowhegan's big brave is easily the World's Tallest Indian, though he is too skinny to be the World's Largest Indian (height x radius squared x pi).
He is 62 feet tall atop a 20-foot-tall base. He appears to be carved out of raw pine trees, with legs like telephone poles. The World's Tallest Indian was erected in 1969 in observance of Maine's 150th anniversary, created by Bernard Langlais (1921-1977), a sculptor from Old Town who attended the local art school.
The statue is dedicated to Maine's Abnaki Indians, who are known to have helped the Pilgrims make it through a couple of bad winters. In their heyday, the Abnaki dressed even more comfortably than the statue's crate-like attire suggests. No tomahawk-waving Mohawk with a mohawk here -- this Abnaki gentlemen is content to clutch a fish trap resembling too-skinny scaffolding.
The engraved wooden sign at the statue's base reads: "Dedicated to the Maine Indians, the first people to use these lands in peaceful ways." On the back of the base is the message: "Copyright 1969, Skowhegan Hospitality Association."
A popular 1970s postcard helped to make this out-of-the-way Indian widely known -- but subsequent decades of Maine weather beat up the Indian, leaving him barely recognizable and hidden behind tall trees. The town rallied to his aid, and a year-long restoration project saw the Indian returned to like-new condition on Sept. 13, 2014.
Coburn Park: http://coburnpark.com/
Who Was Margaret Chase Smith?
Born in 1897 in Maine, Margaret Chase Smith became one of the prominent voices of 20th century American politics. After taking over her husband's House seat in 1940, Smith carved out a three-decade career as an independent-minded congresswoman and senator, notably supporting women's rights and making a high-profile stand in opposition of Senator Joseph McCarthy's crusade against communism. Honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom late in life, she passed away in 1995.
Early Life and Career
Margaret Madeline Chase was born on December 14, 1897, in Skowhegan, Maine. The wife of U.S. Congressman Clyde Smith, Margaret Chase Smith became an important political force in her own right in the 20th century.
After graduating from high school in 1916, Smith worked as a teacher in her hometown’s one-room schoolhouse, but her career in education was short lived. Following a stint as a telephone operator, she joined the staff of the local newspaper, the Independent Reporter, in 1919.
Smith was active in the community, forming the local chapter of the Business and Professional Women’s Club in 1922. She left the newspaper in 1927, and went on to work as a manager at a wool mill.
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Marriage to Clyde Smith
In 1930, Margaret Smith married Independent Reporter owner Clyde Smith. There was a notable age difference between the two—she was 32 and he was 55—but they shared a mutual interest as strong supporters of the Republican Party.
For several years after her marriage, Margaret Smith served on the Republican State Committee. She left her post to help her husband with his 1936 run for the U.S. House of Representatives. Once he was elected, Smith became his secretary. She handled everything from mundane tasks, such as filing, to helping him prepare his speeches. Unfortunately, her husband died of a heart attack in April 1940. Margaret Smith assumed his position in the House shortly after his passing and held on to the post after winning in a special election that June.
Congresswoman and Senator
During her eight years in the House of Representatives, Smith demonstrated that she acted according to her conscience instead of simply following the party line. She supported the Selective Service Act of 1940 and voted against the Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Act of 1943, which she believed would hurt her constituents in Maine’s shipyards. Smith also bridged party lines to support President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation.
A career-long believer in a strong military, Smith toured U.S. bases in the South Pacific as a member of the House Naval Affairs Committee. Additionally, as an advocate for women’s rights, she co-sponsored the Equal Rights Amendment with Congresswoman Winifred Stanley in the mid-1940s, and worked on improving the status of women in the military.
In 1948, Smith successfully won her bid to become a senator, making her the first woman to serve in both chambers of Congress. She served on several committees during her time in the Senate, including the Rules Committee, the Appropriations Committee and the Government Operations Committee. And despite her own opposition to communism, Smith spoke out against Senator Joseph McCarthy's intense persecution of nearly anyone suspected to have communist links.
Delivering a speech called the “Declaration of Conscience” in 1950, Smith said in part, "Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism—The right to criticize; the right to hold unpopular beliefs; the right to protest; the right of independent thought. The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood, nor should he be in danger of losing his reputation or livelihood merely because he happens to know some one who holds unpopular beliefs."
The 'Lady From Maine'
Known as the "Lady from Maine," Smith was a skilled diplomat as well as a talented legislator. In the mid-1950s, she traveled the world, visiting with the leaders of 23 nations. Smith also hosted a visit to Maine by President Dwight D. Eisenhower around this time. On the television program Face the Nation, Smith debated well-known liberal and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
In 1960, Smith fended off a challenge for her seat from Lucia Cormier. The landmark election was the first to consist of two women competing against each other for a Senate seat. Four years later, Smith sought the highest office in the country. She tried to become the Republican presidential nominee for president, but eventually lost out to fellow Senator Barry Goldwater.
Reelected to the Senate in 1966, Smith continued to vote based on her own beliefs, not party politics. She opposed two of President Richard Nixon’s picks for the U.S. Supreme Court, Clement Haynsworth in 1969 and G. Harrold Carswell in 1970, contributing to their unsuccessful nominations. In 1972, Smith lost her bid for reelection and was replaced in the Senate by Democrat William D. Hathaway.
Later Years, Accolades and Death
After leaving office in 1973, Smith served as a visiting professor for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. She also helped establish the Margaret Chase Smith Library in her hometown of Skowhegan, where she spent her final years.
Smith, who received more than 90 honorary degrees during her remarkable life, was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 1990. She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1989 from President George H.W. Bush.
Smith died in Skowhegan on May 29, 1995, from complications from a stroke suffered several days earlier.
Town of Madison, Maine: https://madisonmaine.com/
Originally known as Barnardstown after the principal landowner Moses Barnard, it is said by some that Madison was later named for James Madison, who became President of the United States five years later. The town has also been referred to as Madison Bridge and Norridgewock Falls according to the accounts of Emma Folsom Clark, Madison's early historian.
Madison Public Library
Madison Public Library is one of many libraries across the country built with funds from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation around the turn of the 20th century. Dedicated on January 2, 1907, Madison Public Library was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 5, 1989.
Lakewood Theater, Madison Maine; http://www.lakewoodtheater.org/
An important part of the community from the mid-1920s onward was the Lakewood Players theater group which provided "plays which bear the stamp of Broadway approval". Set in Lakewood on the shore of Lake Wesserunsett, the theater still offers
In 1903, Madison was described as one of the state's leading towns in amount and importance of our manufactured goods.
Everything came in by rail until WW II was over. When the freight came in, the first thing to be handled was the baggage car which handled the mail. The railroad also carried passengers as well as baggage and freight.
Old Point Monument is a landmark of interest to every student of the history of New England and is of special interest to citizens of Madison for, here, within her bounds, came the tragic end of the Norridgewock tribe of Abenaki Indians who had for generations roamed this region unmolested.
Town of Norridgewock, Maine: https://www.bing.com/search?q=town+of+norridgewock+maine+website&FORM=QSRE1
History of Norridgewock, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine
By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Transcribed by Betsey S. Webber
Norridgewock lies on the Kennebec River in the south-
Town of Fairfield Maine: https://www.bing.com/search?q=townoffairfieldmaine&form=EDGEAR&qs=PF&cvid=f45c20c8649141ab96ffca02d35f4b68&cc=US&setlang=en-US&PC=HCTS
Early Settlements in Fairfield Plantation
According to state records, the entire area originally was the Fairfield Plantation. Settlement in the plantation may be said to date back to 1771 when Jonathan Emery built a house on Emery Hill near the banks of the Kennebec River. Other settlers established themselves nearby and a small community began to develop. In 1780, William Kendall purchased the mill of an earlier settler (Jonas Dutton) as well as much of the land in the area. The entire village area came to be known as Kendall's Mills?.
While the Kendall's Mills settlement was developing, a second population center was established. On October 11, 1781, Joseph Dimmock and Joseph Nye (both of Cape Cod in Massachusetts) purchased an 18-square mile tract of land in the Fairfield Plantation. Within a five year period, sixty lots were surveyed and settled. Nearby, a group of Quakers under the Bowerman brothers established a third settlement in North Fairfield in 1782.
On June 18, 1788, Fairfield Plantation was incorporated as the 56th town in Lincoln County in the District of Maine in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A few weeks later the first town meeting was convened in North Fairfield. A union church/meeting house was built in Fairfield Center in 1793-1794 and in 1802 the first permanent meeting house was established there ? because it was the center of the growing settlements. It remained as the town hall until 1875.
With one area of the town being primarily industrial and the other primarily agricultural, it is not surprising that differing priorities led to debates and arguments. The dispute came to a head in 1856 when a town meeting refused to provide increased police and fire protection to Kendall's Mills. On April 7th, Kendall's Mills established its own village corporation (later known as the Fairfield Village Corporation) in order to deal with those issues that were basic to its needs. In 1872 the main post office located in Fairfield Center was relocated to Kendall's Mills (and the original post office was renamed Fairfield Center).
For years the two population centers co-existed, each putting out an annual report and each being an entity of the town of Fairfield. The town meetings in Fairfield Center were concerned with the running of all areas of the town (including Kendall's Mills) while the Village Corporation was pretty much limited to the fire, police, electricity and water of Kendall's Mills.
The Opera House was built in 1888 on the site today occupied by the town offices and the town of Fairfield received a 99-year lien that would allow it to place its municipal offices in Kendall's Mills. Soon afterwards the town meeting was moved from the Center to Andrews Halls although it was not until 1928 that the town government agreed to support fire and police activity in Kendall?s Mills and the Corporation was dissolved.
Through the years, the boundaries and size of the town have changed. Land has been offset to Norridgewock and to Bloomfield (Skowhegan) and land has been added from Benton. Today the town covers nearly 55 square miles and includes the geographic areas of Fairfield Center, Fairfield Corners (Nye's Corner), Hinckley (East Fairfield), Larone, North Fairfield, Shawmut, and the downtown area (Kendall's Mills).
For more information on this area, check out townadvisor.com