Hallowell 1820: A Celebration of Maine’s Bicentennial LECTURES & EXHIBITS: “Our City” History Day at Hall-Dale Elementary School March 13, 2020 Organized by Hallowell Citizens Initiative Committee Hallowell Bicentennial Kickoff – Pre-party Party! (Bicentennial Celebration in Augusta is the next...
Hallowell 1820: A Celebration of Maine’s Bicentennial Maine is celebrating its bicentennial in 2020, and “Old Hallowell” has a great story to tell! It is the birthplace of the Maine State Seal and the State Capital for a few brief hours. The City’s celebration begins with a display of its copy of...
by Gerry Mahoney Ships on the Hallowell waterfront. ca 1900 Even before the Treaty of Paris brought Revolutionary War hostilities to a close large number of people began seeking a better life by moving from Massachusetts to Maine. As a group these people were young, literate and possessed a strong desire for...
There was a time before Instragram, SnapChat and SmugMug when, if you wanted to share a picture, you visited the local apothecary, picked up a postcard, stuck on a penny stamp and dropped it in the mail. In fact, post cards were so popular the Penobscot Marine Museum has a collection of over 50,000 photographs of...
Rialto Theater in 1937 shortly before opening night. The photo in the inset is of the first manager, Norman J Beauparlant. Kennebec Journal Photo. There was a time when enjoying the film industry’s Hollywood’s finest offerings didn’t require a trip across town to a multiplex or a subscription to a high-priced...
Next Committee Meeting Saturday, April 28 at 10:00AM in the Hubbard Free Library.
The Historic Hallowell Committee's charge is to guide the creation of policy and practices regarding the collection, preservation and display of the City's historic artifacts and related properties, to prioritize and coordinate the many historical projects now underway and to promote historic preservation efforts. ...
Hallowell has an amazing collection of historic artifacts, documents, and photographs. This Historic Hallowell Committee is compiling a listing of collections and how they can be accessed for research or personal interest. Foremost, and the most readily accessible, is the collection housed at the Hubbard Free...
Hallowell 1820: A Celebration of Maine’s Bicentennial
LECTURES & EXHIBITS:
“Our City” History
Day at Hall-Dale Elementary School
March 13, 2020 Organized by Hallowell Citizens Initiative Committee
Hallowell Bicentennial Kickoff – Pre-party Party!
(Bicentennial Celebration in Augusta is the next day)Benjamin Vaughan and the Creation of the State Seal by Ron Kley, A Tale of Two Capitals – Hallowell vs Augusta by Earle Shettleworth, JR., Maine State Historian. March 14, 2020, 2:00 p.m., Old South Congregational Church Sponsored by Row House in cooperation with the Bicentennial Committee
Hallowell’s Declaration of Independence Broadside On Display
March 14, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Hall-Dale Elementary School
Organized by Hallowell Citizens Initiative Committee
Federalist: Benjamin Vaughan, Statehood, & The Maine Identity
Online Exhibit Goes “Live”
April 1, 2020 at vaughanhomestead.org
Created by Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead
Revival of The Blue Stocking Club, Honoring The Women of Early Hallowell
Fall Lecture and Book Series – September 24, October 15 and November 12
Coordinated by The Hubbard Free Library & Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead
Vaughan Homestead in 1820: House and Grounds Tours
Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. July – August, Reservations Required
Presented by Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead
Hallowell in 1820: An Interpretive Tour – Old Hallowell Day
July 18, 2020 – details to come
Sponsored by Row House
Friday, March 15, 2020 Gaslight Theater opens a season of Maine playwrights with a
performance of Last Gas by John Cariani, the first production of Maine’s bicentennial
year, directed by Lucille Rioux.
Maine Artists Honor the State Seal, Art Exhibit & Opening Reception
June 20, 5:00-8:00 p.m. Opening Reception, Vaughan Homestead
Exhibit open throughout July – hours at vaughanhomestead.org
Presented by The Harlow Gallery & Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead
September 12-21, Stephens Commons
Sponsored by Vision Hallowell
GENERAL GOOD TIMES:
Old Hallowell Day
July 18, 2020 Bicentennial Parade, crafts, music, fireworks
Maine Birthday Party
July 19, 2020, Vaughan Field
Hosted by Old Hallowell Day Committee
Visit historichallowell.org for updates and additions.
Hallowell 1820: A Celebration of Maine’s Bicentennial
Maine is celebrating its bicentennial in 2020, and “Old Hallowell” has a great story to tell!
It is the birthplace of the Maine State Seal and the State Capital for a few brief hours.
The City’s celebration begins with a display of its copy of the Declaration of Independence on March 13 at the HallDale Elementary School.
Then the City pops the cork with a Bicentennial Preparty. The State’s official celebration is Sunday, March 15 present a double feature:
- Benjamin Vaughan and the Creation of the State Seal, a talk by Ron Kley
- The saga A Tale of Two Capitals – Hallowell vs Augusta featuring Earle Shettleworth, JR., Maine State Historian.
Check the Hallowell State Bicentennial Calendar for more information.
by Gerry Mahoney
Even before the Treaty of Paris brought Revolutionary War hostilities to a close large number of people began seeking a better life by moving from Massachusetts to Maine. As a group these people were young, literate and possessed a strong desire for self-improvement. They left a state where newspapers and printed material were plentiful to a place that had none. Those who settled in the Kennebec Valley, however, fared better and the many vessels that called Hallowell their home port ensured that newspapers and other periodicals would be available there on a regular basis. So many coastal schooners, packet boats and other vessels called at Hallowell during the early years that Hallowell soon established a reputation that the latest news from around the world would arrive there first, even before Falmouth received it.
The first newspaper printed in the District of Maine was the Falmouth Gazette founded in 1785 by Thomas Baker Wait (age 22) and Benjamin Titcomb (age 23). The Gazette flourished despite the fact that the printing business was a costly affair. Printing presses, moveable type and type cases had to be imported from England, and ink (crushed chimney soot mixed with varnish) and newsprint (made from rags) were expensive.
Hallowell grew rapidly as a trading center and in 1794 attracted Howard S. Robinson to town. Robinson initiated the first Hallowell newspaper, The Eastern Star. Its lofty aim (The Public Will, Our Guide; The Public Good, Our End) did not generate wide circulation and it ceased publication after one year.
The next printer to arrive in Hallowell was Peter Edes, who established a printing office near the Court House in what is now Augusta. According to R. Webb Noyes (A Bibliography of Maine Imprints to 1820) “Peter Edes has been justly called the most important figure in the early history of printing in this state, because he was the son of Benjamin Edes, the famous journalist of the American Revolution, because he was later associated with that celebrated Boston press of Benjamin Edes & Son, and because being one of the first printers of Maine, he brought to his work here a certain degree of prominence and reputation which others of his craft did not possess.” He established The Kennebec Intelligencer in 1795, whose name he later changed to The Herald of Liberty. Edes published medical texts for Benjamin Vaughan, as well as “The Rural Socrates”, a book on progressive agricultural practices. His heavily footnoted work and handsome bindings established a high professional standard for others to try to equal.
In 1796 Thomas
Baker Wait and John Kelsey established the “Tocsin” (from the French “A Ringing
Bell”). Despite their early experience
in Falmouth the paper did not last. It did, however, provide a vehicle for
local merchants to advertise their wares.
An entry from the February 4, 1797 edition of the “Tocsin” reveals:
“Nathaniel Cogswell has taken the store lately occupied by Capt. John
Molloy. In addition to textiles,
hardware, crockery, tea and coffee Cogswell offers a wide selection of books:
spelling books, singing books, testaments and works by Bunyan, Goldsmith,
Fielding, Richardson (Pamela, Clarissa) and Robinson Crusoe. (Daniel Defoe).”
Cogswell apparently somehow obtained a type case and retained Howard A. Robinson to publish the first novel printed in the District of Maine: “Female Friendship, or the Innocent Sufferer–A Moral Novel”. This book had been first printed in York, England, with the subtitle “Virtue Alone is Happiness on Earth”. This book is a reflection of the fact that during the colonial period and early years less than ten per cent of the publications printed in America were protected by copyright. Printers soon realized that either through subscription or sale they could make a small profit printing books that had been previously published. Hallowell printers and merchants are noted to have produced 179 such “imprints” in the years that followed, many of which still can be found in Hubbard Free Library.
In 1810 a Water Street merchant, Nathaniel Cheever, began publication of “The American Advocate”, a paper which claimed to represent Republican/Democrat political philosophy. The Advocate was transferred to S.K. Gilman who continued to publish it with Danforth Livermore until 1835.
In 1802 Ezekiel Goodale, age 20, came to Hallowell opened a book binding business and also sold books from his home. In 1814 he opened a printing office and bookstore (“The Hallowell Bookstore-Sign of the Bible”). By 1821 he was established in #1 Kennebec Row, and published “The Hallowell Gazette” there until it closed in 1827. The Gazette claimed a Federalist persuasion; the bookstore was the largest on Water Street and supplied textbooks to schoolmasters throughout central Maine.
Although a number of prominent citizens had established a subscription library in Hallowell around 1800 no other library existed. Goodale sought to remedy this situation by opening “The Hallowell Circulating Library”. For a small fee young people could borrow books from the bookstore. Historian Charles Nash reported that the library contained 1290 volumes. R. Webb Noyes described it as follows: “Catalog of the Hallowell Circulating Library, consisting of novels, biography, travels, reviews, romances, history, poems, periodicals, plays, voyages, miscellaneous works etc.; to which all works of merit in the various branches of literature are added as soon as published”. Ezekiel trained a large number of the apprentices who later established newspapers throughout Maine, including Charles Nash and H.K. Baker.
H.K. Baker, age 14, arrived in Hallowell from Skowhegan in 1821 to learn the printing trade. At age 21 he became editor of the Hallowell Gazette, then editor of The American Advocate. He lived in Hallowell for the rest of his life, living almost the entirety of the 19th Century, and serving his city, county and state in many capacities. His connection with Hubbard Free Library was a longstanding one. Early in life he befriended Elijah P. Lovejoy, whose brother J.C. Lovejoy was once Preceptor of Hallowell Academy. Elijah Lovejoy was a printer and an anti-slavery advocate who became a martyr to the cause in Alton, Ill. J.C. Lovejoy published an anti-slavery newspaper, “The Liberty Standard” for a number of years in Hallowell.
Late in life H.K. Baker reflected on his career as a printer with the following recollection:
“To tell the truth, the wonder is
that editors do as well as they do. They
have to express opinions on all sorts of questions, some of which they know
little, and of some they know nothing.
Hallowell has been a kind of graveyard of newspapers. All that have flourished and faded cannot at
this late day be enumerated in their order.
The first was probably “The Eastern Star”, about 100 years ago. Next came the “Tocsin”, 1795-1797. The “American Advocate, from 1810-1835. The “Hallowell Gazette, 1813-27. The “Genius of Temperance”, 1828. The “Maine Free Press”, about 1834-36. The “Free Press and Advocate”, 1836-37. The “Kennebecker,”,1839. The “Maine Cultivator,” 1839, then
“Cultivator and Gazette,” afterwards “Saturday Gazette.”. The “Liberty Standard “ in the 40’s and
50’s. The “Free Soil Republican”,
1850. The “Kennebec Courier” about 1860,
and a temperance paper by J.C. Lovejoy, about 1850 or later.
We cannot say, as Paul said of the martyrs, “Those all died in faith, but they died, most of them insolvent. The owners lost money, or their creditors, or both. Few have any idea what it is to publish a paper. The writer was in the fire a number of years and knows whether it burns.
A metropolitan paper, with a staff of editors, reporters and runners, with plenty of capital, is one thing. A poor fellow who is publisher, editor, printer, collector and bookkeeper and has it all to do himself, is another. Try it and see if you get your courage singed. There is room in the graveyard of weeklies for a few more. Abbott Lawrence said 95 our opf 100 traders fail. Newspapers come to grief nearly in the same proportions.
Some brave folks in recent years have attempted to answer the query “Any News?’ In the 90’s “The Local Voice” answered the call, and more recently “The Hallowell Record” produced some fine editions and have recalled a wonderful tradition.
There was a time before Instragram, SnapChat and SmugMug when, if you wanted to share a picture, you visited the local apothecary, picked up a postcard, stuck on a penny stamp and dropped it in the mail. In fact, post cards were so popular the Penobscot Marine Museum has a collection of over 50,000 photographs of scenes from the New England states and New York that were featured on cards.
Nearly every town had a selection of scenic picture post cards and Hallowell is no exception. On Thursday, April 26, Earle Shettleworth, Jr., Maine State Historian, will send “Greetings From Hallowell,” as he share images from postcards produced the early 20th century. This is an entertaining glimpse of Hallowell’s pictorial history and no postage is due!
The evening’s program, being presented in the Hallowell City Hall Auditorium at 7:00PM, is sponsored by The Row House, Hallowell’s Historical Society. Admission is free, however donations are being accepted for the benefit of the Hubbard Free Library.
There was a time when enjoying the film industry’s Hollywood’s finest offerings didn’t require a trip across town to a multiplex or a subscription to a high-priced cable service. All it took was a walk downtown and as little as ten cents. Movies theaters could be found in even the smallest cities like Hallowell where the Rialto was the gateway to adventure.
Memories of hometown film venues are fading fast. A committee charged with documenting and preserving those memories in Hallowell is invited those who attended movies at the Second Street theater to share their reflections at a Remembering the Rialto Roundtable Saturday, March 11 at 2PM in the Hubbard Library. A video recording of the panel discussion is being edited and will be available for viewing in the fall.
The project grew from an inquiry by the current owner of the building who wondered about the theater and what it looked like. The only known photograph of the theater appeared in a Kennebec Journal article announcing the opening.
The building was constructed in 1843 to be the home to the Universalist congregation worshipping in the city. It served as a church until the local congregation merged with Augusta Unitarian Church.
The building was remodeled as the Kennebec Journal article described prior to the opening. “The interior of the auditorium is modernistically decorated with light fixtures of a modern design placed on circular plaques.” Local artist Chris Cart will use these descriptions and those from roundtable participants to guide his creation of illustrations depicting the interior of lobby and theater itself.
The Historic Hallowell Committee was created by then Mayor Charlotte Warren to guide the creation of policy and practices regarding the collection, preservation and display of the City’s historic artifacts and related properties; to prioritize and coordinate historical projects and to promote historic preservation efforts.
“There was concern that some of the City’s historically important items were at risk,” according to Sam Webber, City Historian. “A number of paintings including some of buildings along Water Street by local artist Sylvia Hudson of buildings have come up missing. Also, signs about the Benedict Arnold Expedition that used to be at the turnout by the river were lost as well.” The Historic Hallowell Committee hopes that someone has photographs of these items they could share.
The Committee is meeting the third Thursday of the month in the Hubbard Library at 4:00PM. Anyone interested in Hallowell History is invited to attended. For more information about the committee can contact Bob McIntire 207-629-9180.
Next Committee Meeting Saturday, April 28 at 10:00AM in the Hubbard Free Library.
The Historic Hallowell Committee’s charge is to guide the creation of policy and practices regarding the collection, preservation and display of the City’s historic artifacts and related properties, to prioritize and coordinate the many historical projects now underway and to promote historic preservation efforts. The role is not be to supplant the efforts of existing organizations, but to aid the work of those organizations in any way possible.
Hallowell has an amazing collection of historic artifacts, documents, and photographs. This Historic Hallowell Committee is compiling a listing of collections and how they can be accessed for research or personal interest.
Foremost, and the most readily accessible, is the collection housed at the Hubbard Free Library. Many items like paintings and historic artifacts are on display during regular library hours posted on the Library’s web page. The Library has an extensive collection of photographs from Old Hallowell, many of which are available online through the Maine Historical Society’s Maine Memory Network project Type “Hallowell photographs” in the Search box and you can peruse the more than 250 items that have been uploaded to the Network. You can take a closer look at any photograph by clicking on the “zoom” function in the caption beneath the picture.
Many of the photographs in the Hubbard Library Collection were used in the Hallowell Maine Community Heritage Project website developed in partnership with HallDale Middle School students.
The Hallowell Fire Department has an extensive collection of memorabilia which was cataloged as part of the Hallowell Maine Community Heritage Project. Work is being done to prepare an online exhibit of selected items from the collection.
The City of Hallowell has municipal records available for research purposes. Contact the City Clerk for more information.
Museum In The Streets, Old Hallowell Day Pop-up Museum . . .