“Today’s news is tomorrow’s history”


                                                                 Winter 2014


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T.C. Hanna , editor (989-2245)




The Brewer Historical Society would like to thank the following corporate sponsors and supporters


Camden National Bank

City of Brewer

Brewer Federal Credit Union

Brewer High School Air Force Junior ROTC

Brewer Parks and Recreation

Dead River Company

Eastern Maine Development Corporation

Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems

Joseph Ferris, Esq.

Getchell Brothers Inc.

Gold Star Cleaners

Green Thumb Lawn Service

Rand / Rand Dentistry

Scotts Lawn Service

TradeWinds Convenience Store


                            FRIENDS OF CHAMBERLAIN FREEDOM PARK

Atlantic Designs

Cross Insurance

Allen / Freeman / McDonnell Insurance

Machias Savings Bank

(Thank you for your support of Chamberlain Freedom Park and the Brewer Historical Society)


(The Brewer Historical Society newsletter is copied using the facilities at Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems. Thank you to EMHS and their staff)


    Welcome Camden National Bank as Brewer Historical Society Sponsor


Camden National Bank is a full-service community bank with a network of 44 banking offices throughout Maine plus a commercial lending office in Manchester, New Hampshire. Camden National Corporation is the holding company of two financial services companies including, Camden National Bank and the wealth management company, Acadia Trust, N.A. Acadia Trust offers investment management and fiduciary services with offices in Portland and Ellsworth. Located at Camden National Bank, Camden Financial Consultants offers full service brokerage and insurance services. Learn more at Member FDIC.


 Brewer Auditorium turns 75 years old in November 2014


November 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the “World Famous” Brewer Auditorium. It was built in 1939, as part of a Federal Works construction project under the direction of the United States Public Works Agency. During the Great Depression there were many government federal works projects created to spur the economy and improve communities. The Brewer auditorium was one of these projects. It was designed by Architect, Edwin S. Kent and constructed by Daniel Cunningham Construction of Boston. The building was dedicated in 1940. The auditorium defines a major part of community life and is a tribute to the men and women who have created what has been described as the “Heart of Brewer”.

Ken Hanscom, Director of Brewer Parks and Recreation Department, recognized that Brewer should celebrate the 75th birthday of this historic building. Working with Office Manager Gerry Spencer, he began a search for information. Gerry spent many hours obtaining articles and photos from the Brewer and Bangor libraries, city records and scrapbooks, along with e-mail and personal requests for information

On November 4th, Election Day 2014, Ken and Gerry designed a “story-board” to display articles, photos and reminiscences of the historic building. A guest register was made available for personal thoughts. These story-boards recorded celebrities, events and the photographic history of the building.

The auditorium has been a multiuse edifice with a history that parallels that of Brewer’s last half century. During the early 1940’s the building was used for World War II induction procedures and still houses the Daniel E. Geagan Post 98 of the American Legion. Rudy Giuliani was at the auditorium for a national presidential campaign, John McKernan was there for “Capital for a Day” and Eunice Shriver attended the “community of Caring Day”.

Over the decades many performers have visited the auditorium including The Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, Dick Curless, Bill Haley and the Comets along with many local musical groups including “Coloured Rain”, “The Other Side”, “The Barracudas”, “Magic”, “Jesters”, “MacTavish” and the” Doll-Fins” . It was always a popular venue for dances, beauty pageants, senior and youth activities, fund-raisers, circus, baton twirling, and cabaret. Of course, there were many sporting events and it was the basketball court for local teams and tournaments. Many a Brewer resident can remember playing there as a child or young adult.

Today, events in the auditorium are an integral part of community life. Senior Citizen activities and meetings, adult sporting events, community dinners, musical venues and just about all Brewer City activities have a part at the auditorium. It is the official voting precinct for Brewer and we all applaud the local candidates braving inclement weather to stand outside of the door greeting the electorate.

On Monday October 17th, , Matthew Vachon and the Brewer City Council presented Ken Hanscom with a City resolution recognizing the important contribution that the auditorium brings to the community. In addition, Counselor Vachon, who is the City’s Historical Liaison to the Historical Society and a member of the Brewer Historic Resources Advisory Board, presented Ken with a sign and documentation that recognizes the auditorium as being a site the Brewer Register of Historic Places. We applaud the fine work the staff of the Parks and Recreation Department has done and look forward to another 75 years of “The World Famous” Brewer Auditorium.


 Brewer American Bicentennial Time Capsule Returns

In 1976, the American Bicentennial Committee for the City of Brewer prepared a time capsule to be opened in 2076. That time capsule, along with time capsules from cities and towns around Maine, was sent to the Maine State Museum for storage. Recently, the Maine State Museum decided that their storage depot was overcrowded and the time capsules were returned. Brewer’s time capsule was returned on September 3rd and delivered to the Historical Society courtesy of Matt Bishop, Director of the Bangor Historical Society. Matt received both the Bangor and Brewer time capsules at the same time. The Brewer time capsule will be stored at the Brewer Historical Society.

Documentation from the time shows that the Brewer American Bicentennial Committee was instituted by the Brewer City Council in 1974. Their role was to be responsible for the American Bicentennial events in Brewer. Mayor Gerald Robertson and the City Council elected Margaret Clark as Chairman along with members Mrs. Ed Ames, Miss Mildred Thayer, Mrs. Charles Pooler, Mrs. Robert Kiah, Mr. James Vickery, Mr. John Cayford, Mr. Paul Towers, Mr. Kenneth Kirkland and Mr. Reginald Merrell, Sr. The committee worked with Dr. Ronald Banks, Chairman of the Maine State Bicentennial Commission. There were three general thrusts to the program:

  1. Heritage ’76 which focuses on activities out of our past
  2. Festival, involving sharing the heritage, culture and character of the United States and its people
  3. Horizons ’76, the challenge of the future, such as community development and environment

Today, Paul Tower remains the last member of the Committee and was the featured speaker at the October membership meeting. He presented material from both the American Bicentennial and the Brewer town sesquicentennial in an entertaining and interactive meeting.


 Colonel Douglas Farnham and the Maine Air National Guard

Colonel Douglas Farnham, Commander of the 101st Air Refueling Wing of the Bangor Air National Guard, presented an overview of the Guard’s role in maintain military readiness, and the Air Refueling Wing’s role in particular. Colonel Farnham began with a film about the Bangor Maine Air Nationals Guard, the” Maineacs”, and the important role that they plays in providing air to air refueling. Since World War II, and the development of the Air Force Strategic Air Command, the need for refueling aircraft in flight has become one of the most important activities in the Air Force. Bangor provides a unique and valuable location, as it is near the air polar route which is used for military flights to Europe and the Middle East, The Air National Guard is home based in Bangor Maine although the unit is often deployed all over the world. The value of a home base is that the Bangor airmen are not only in a position to play a major role in transcontinental military flights, but their home base provides a very economical operation and they are in a position to be a part of their community. The requirements to join the Air National Guard are very high and these qualities can translate to excellence in the place they live. After having listened to Colonel Farnham, it makes one aware of the important role of this unit, what it can do for the readiness of the military, and the benefits to the area. We are very fortunate to have this important national and community program in the Bangor area.


“Brewer Days” Spaghetti Supper and Silent Auction


The Brewer Historical Society had an opportunity during Brewer’s annual “Brewer Days” to host a major fund raising event as well as to provide service to the community. The September 7th Saturday night Spaghetti Supper and Silent Auction began with a viewing of auction items at 4:30, with supper being served at 5 PM. Over 100 people enjoyed spaghetti, salad, rolls, and many varieties of deserts. Meanwhile, over a dozen businesses and Historical Society members contributed items for the silent auction. It was fun to see the betting activity and those who had high bid. The Brewer Historical Society would like to give special recognition to Ken Hansom and the entire Brewer Parks and Recreation crew who helped make the event such a success. There were many long hours to prepare for the event and a special thank you goes to Barney and Charlotte Thompson. Joanne Black, Ron and Helga Kittredge along with their son, T, C. Hanna, Phyllis Earley, Betty Lou Sibley, Jean Lyford, Suisan Xirinachs, Earle and Doris Seymour, Gary Lowe and all those Brewer Historical Society volunteers who made this such an enjoyable and successful event.

(Businesses which contributed items to the silent auction: Spin-A-Yarn, Huckleberries, Celtic Moon Rising, Jason’s Pizza, Dysart’s Travel Stop, Walmart, Xtreme Adventures, Pa’s Workshop, Merrill Blueberry Farms, Kostas Restaurant, Weathervane Restaurant, Tim Horton.)


 Brewer Historical Society School Activities

The Brewer Historical Society Educational Committee was involved in a number of projects with Brewer schools this fall

The Brewer High School Air Force Junior ROTC program played a major role this summer in helping to maintain Chamberlain Freedom Park. Senior Master Sergeant Anthony Campbell and his cadets did a wonderful job and have become a major contributor to the organization.

At Brewer Community School, the Historical Society Display Case in the lobby was changed to showcase important Brewer historical figures. With the help of the school librarian, Terry Holyoke, the committee presently is involved with two display cases; one Display Case explores the five historic themes that are part of the school architecture. The second Display Case provides students with an appreciation of historical figures including John Brewer, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Manly Hardy, Fannie Hardy Eckstorm and Charles E. Teftt. In addition, a section is dedicated to the members of the present community who are in City government, the School Committee, and the Brewer High School Board of Trustees; with input from City Manager Steve Bost, School Committee Chair Janet Macintosh, High School Trustee President Dan O’Connell and Morrell Photography. These photographs and information will inform students about their government.

The Resource Center worked with Brewer High School “Sports Hall of Fame” Chair Kathy Cahill, to provide historic photographs of Brewer athletic teams. The sports Hall of Fame is an impressive addition to the lobby of the remodeled school and will honor yearly inductees as well as recognizing the contribution of Brewer’s past athletes.

In September, photographs of past Brewer High Schools was provided to Secretary Susan York for decorating the walls of the Student Services section.

he Historical Society is upgrading its collection of recent Brewer historical photoghraphs, by working with Lori Spruce of the Brewer High School Art Department photography program. Lori will have her students take contemporary photographs of Brewer and juxtaposition them with the same scene in the historical past. This should be a major project for the year and will provide future researchers with information about Brewer in 2014.

Don’t forget to check out our new updated website. It contains hundreds of photos of historic Brewer. Can you identify where they were taken? (                              Also follow us on Facebook


Larry Murray Creates Dioramas for Historical Society Display

Larry Murray, a long-time resident of Brewer, has completed his fourth diorama (scene) for the Historical Society’s Brewer Community School display case. Larry created the first diorama of ship-building in 2012. It depicts a 1800s boatyard with a sailing vessel under construction. This diorama was part of the “Maritime” theme and showcased one of the five classroom wing themes. He then completed a diorama featuring the current Brewer waterfront as part of a display about the Penobscot River and its importance in Brewer’s history. For the “History of Brewer Transportation” display, he built a model airplane and a replica of Doane’s airport. Larry’s most recent project is a replica of John Brewer’s first 1700s sawmill, patterned after the mill at the Maine Forest and Logging Museum. All of his beautiful creations remain at the Brewer Community School for display.

The Historical Society has developed seven displays since the school’s opening including all five of the classroom wing themes (ice-harvesting, maritime, brick making, the paper industry and the river in Brewer’s history) integrating items gathered from many places; our museum, historical society members, and members of the community. The Historical Society works with the school to provide interesting ways in which to teach Brewer history. We wish to thank Larry Murray for his major contribution to this effort. Many hours go into designing and implementing these dioramas and they are beautifully crafted.