“Today’s news is tomorrow’s history”

    Summer and Fall 2018
 FOLLOW THE BREWER HISTORICAL SOCIETY AT OUR WEBSITE :                                          


 FACEBOOK:       Brewer Historical Society


 T.C. Hanna , editor (989-2245)

(FOLLOW BREWER HISTORY ON FACEBOOK: “You knew you grew up in Brewer Maine when….”



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

Alexander’s Landscaping Service

Camden National Bank

City of Brewer

Brewer Federal Credit Union

Brewer High School Air Force Junior ROTC

Brewer Parks and Recreation

Creative Print Services (Ray Curran)

Dead River Company

Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems

Joseph Ferris, Esq.

Getchell Brothers Inc.

Gold Star Cleaners

Green Thumb Lawn Service


Marsh Property Management

People’s United Bank

Rand / Rand Dentistry

TradeWinds Convenience Store


Gifford Electric

Cross Insurance

Allen / Freeman / McDonnell Insurance

Machias Savings Bank

Marsh Property Management

Brewer Federal Credit Union

(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.)


Life is lived in the present but understood through the past.” …….Kierkegaard

If you enjoy “Facebook”, be sure to “Like” us on the new Brewer Historical Society “Facebook” page. It keeps you up to date on events, photos, meetings history and links. Brittany Goetting is administering the “Facebook” page as well as monitoring the website. Contact Brittany at: if you have any questions or suggestions.


Cameron Oxley is 2017 Scholarship Recipient

Each year the Brewer Historical Society provides a $1000 scholarship to a Brewer High School Senior for his or her continuing education. The focus of the scholarship is on community service and an appreciation of Brewer history. This year’s recipient is Cameron Oxley. Cameron lives in Holden and he plans to attend the University of Maine with a major in civil engineering. Cameron’s high school activities were very impressive and we are confident he will do well in his chosen career. The scholarship is paid upon successful completion of his first semester of college and second semester registration. The money is paid to the school financial officer for the student’s tuition and supplies. This is Cameron Oxley’s excellent essay.

 A City of History

 By Cameron Oxley

   The history of Brewer is a story filled with adventure, heroism, and success.  It first began when John Brewer sailed along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to the mouth of the Penobscot River, where he continued his journey to present day Brewer.  From the first settlement, the town of Brewer began to thrive both industrially and economically.  Years later, the town saw the emergence of Joshua Chamberlain, the most notable Brewer resident to date.  In his successful career, he would go on to become a decorated war hero who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery in the Battle of Gettysburg.


   The history of Brewer is often defined by these few elements, but these events and individuals in no way encapsulate how the city became what it is today.  In today’s society, it is imperative that everyone takes the time to delve deeper into their hometown’s history and discover the minute details that are often forgotten, but are no less important.  It is this process that citizens of a community develop a better appreciation for where they live as they begin to understand the immense amount of pain and toil that people before them went through to ensure future success.  It is a known fact that Brewer is a city full of history, and I think it is important that we all become better educated on this history to ensure people don’t take what this city has to offer for granted.


   If the personalities of Brewer’s most prominent figures are looked at, it can be seen how those individuals can lead our city today and serve as valuable role models.  People like John Brewer and the early settlers of this city were extremely determined and exhibited impressive work ethics in their settlement.  In addition, Joshua Chamberlain possessed great leadership and bravery in his military career.  If citizens today look back on these people and understand how their characteristics fostered success and impacted careers, then maybe they will adopt some of these traits and follow in their footsteps.  This city has blessed all of us with excellent role models to base our lives, and it is now up to us to acknowledge these figures and build off of what they established.  This further exhibits the importance of history in any community, but specifically here in Brewer.


   Civil Engineering which is my intended course of study, has been a major part of Brewer’s history and was a key factor in the city’s early success.  Brewer’s strategic location on the Penobscot River allowed for early settlers to create productive dams.  These dams powered sawmills for lumber, grist mills for grinding grain, paper mills, textile mills, and power plants.  These dams powered the early settlement and made it possible for the society to function and grow.  There is no doubt that engineering played a critical role in developing the city of Brewer.


   It brings me great pleasure to have been raised in the town of Brewer and have been a resident for 13 years.  The historical city has been home to some very famous individuals that I feel I have a connection with.  I am proud of the early settlers that risked their life on a voyage to establish a town that has provided me with so many opportunities.  I hope that with my talents, I will be able to help the city have another stretch of success that the first settlers were able to create.


Brewer First Congregational Church Discontinues Services

 Brewer Historical Society will maintain archives

Since 1800, The First Congregational Church has symbolized the devotion of the first settlers. John Brewer was in the first congregation. Later, John Holyoke, the Chamberlain family, the Farrington family and many of the important historical figures of our community attended the church. The present building, built in 1899 after the old building was deemed unsafe, has stood sentinel over the Brewer skyline for almost 120 years. It seemed it would always be there, but dwindling parishioners and high maintenance costs have taken its toll. In September 2018, the last service will be held. The building is for sale and we can only hope that this Brewer of Registered Places site will be preserved.

Brittany Goetting, University of Maine graduate student and First Congregational Church historian, has been cataloguing 200 years of Church history over the last few years. The material has been boxed and needs to be prepared for storage. The Brewer Historical Society will access and archive these documents (thanks to the help of Lois Simpson) and make them available for research and information. Cataloguing will be a large and important project and we look toward the membership and community for assistance. You can contact David Hanna at 989-2245 for more information.

Membership Meeting Speakers

The May membership meeting featured Herbie Hopkins, longtime Brewer resident and educator. He presented a talk about the history of the Brewer Kiwanis, noting past presidents and projects. Kiwanis has been a staple of the community since 1939 and was Brewer’s first service organization. The early aims of the club were to build a stronger citizenship including a program of education for children. Kiwanis has been a major contributor to Brewer for almost 80 years.

The June meeting featured Michelle Daniels discussing a new community program, “See Something, Say Something”. This is in essence a neighborhood watch program developed in association with the Brewer Police Department. “See Something, Say Something” is an early detection program that is aimed at deterring the growing illicit drug problem. To find out more about this important program contact Dr. Adam Lauer at 207-356-0461(cell) or There is also a Facebook page, “Neighborhood Watch Brewer, Maine”

September’s speaker was Darren French. Darren is the new Assistant Librarian for Archives and Digitization at the Brewer Public Library. The Brewer Library is an excellent source for information on Brewer and compliments the archives of the Brewer Historical Society. Darren focused on the genealogical websites available at the library and the digitization of historical records. You can contact Darren at the Brewer Public Library for more information.

The origin of “Witches” as the Brewer High School Mascot

 Daniel Stewart has written a two part examination of when Brewer High School first came up with the idea of “Witches” as a mascot. In “Discovery Magazine”, available free throughout the community, Daniel wrote a “teaser” first part in the Issue 3, 2018 and followed up in the Issue 6, 2018 copy. Daniel makes a strong case that the term “Witches” developed during the 1931 football season when underdog Brewer began a string of victories (after finally having won a game against Bangor after 27 years) while arch Rival Bangor began an abysmal losing season. Daniel Stewart argues that the black and orange uniforms, the Halloween football game, and the  “jinx” that had left Brewer and found Bangor may very well have been the genesis of the famous mascot. It was in the 1932 Bangor Daily News, coverage of a Girls Basketball game in which the term “Witches” was first found in print and it was mentioned many times after that during the year. It has become the Brewer mascot ever since. Daniel Stewart even makes the observation that the term “mascot” is French for witch.

GO WITCHES !!!!!!!

You can find Daniel Stewart’s article in Discover magazine. If you would like to see a copy of the article you can contact David Hanna at the Brewer Historical Society (989-2245). You can also write Discover Magazine at10 Exchange Street, Suite 208, Portland, Maine 041201

 2018 Brewer High School Sports Hall of Fame Inductees

In 2014 Brewer High School began their “Sports Hall of Fame”. This year’s inductees will be recognized on September 20th. An overview of the history of the “Sports Hall of Fame” was presented in the last Brewer Historical Society Newsletter. Here is a list of 2018 Inductees.

Congratulations to these fine athletes.

Mark Doughty (Class of 1983)

Paul Elkin (Class of 1982)

Teal Jackson (Class of 2013)

Ian Robinson (Class of 2003)

Eric White (Class of 2010)


Chamberlain – Freedom Park 2018

The Brewer Historical Society maintains Chamberlain-Freedom Park as a result of a Maine DOT property lease along with the initial vision of former Historical Society President Brian Higgins and State Legislator Dick Campbell. In the last few years the park has been refurbished. Sam Gardner provided new historically representative fences as his Eagle Scout project, new park interpretive signs were designed and installed, and the landscaping of the park was improved.  Each summer the park is part of the state “Juneteeth Celebration”, recognizing the end of slavery in America. Landscape maintenance is now professionally done by Alexander’s Landscaping, maintaining the interpretation of Gettysburg’s “Little Round Top” battlefield and the maintenance of the “Chamberlain” and “North to Freedom” statues. The City of Brewer has always been a vital asset when it comes to repairs. The park is now at the end of the exciting new “Brewer Waterfront Trail” and is a historical extension of that concept. Two new advertisers have come forward as “Friends of Chamberlain Freedom Park”, Brewer Federal Credit Union and Marsh Property Management. The signs are prominently displayed to drivers crossing the Penobscot Bridge and are a major revenue source for our organization. For the many visitors to the Park, the importance of promoting Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Brewer’s involvement in the “Underground Railroad” (the flight of slaves to freedom) brings a sense of history to the community. If you have not visited the park recently, you hopefully will be impressed with this important contribution to Brewer.

Spaghetti Supper and Auction 2018

During 2018 “Brewer Days”, the Brewer Historical Society sponsored our annual “Spaghetti Supper and Silent Auction”.  Again this year the evening was a great success!  Many, many Brewer businesses generously donated items and gift cards for the auction.  The planning committee did a great job of organizing volunteers to cook, serve and clean.  The monies earned from this event provides the Brewer Historical Society with an opportunity to continue our work in the community, including the $1000 scholarship to a Brewer High School senior, and rounds out the “Brewer Days” celebration.  The price of the supper has been and continues to be just $6 person with kids 5 and under free, making this an affordable event for all families.

Recipe for fall of 2018

 Miracle Cake

1 (18 ounce) lemon cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1(20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice

Combine all ingredient, blend on low speed then beat on medium for 2 minutes

Pour into greased/floured 9/13 inch pan

Bake 350 degrees for 30-35 min


Miracle Cake topping

1(14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

¼ cup lemon juice

1 (8 ounce container of whipped topping

Blend all ingredients and mix well.  Spread over cake and refrigerate




For the past 19 months the Brewer Historical Society (as part of a regional WWI committee)   has commemorated the United States’ entrance and activities during the war. We have given lectures to many groups from students to seniors, provided displays to various organizations, schools and businesses, written of Brewer’s involvement and generally strived to make the community aware of this momentous event. The implications of World War I are still with us today.

We wish to recognize the end of World War I on November 11th and praised the tremendous sacrifice made by men and women (at home and abroad) who wanted to make the world “safe for democracy” as President Wilson envisioned.

The people who have made a major contribution to this project include Barney Thompson, “Dusty” Fisher, David Bergquist, Richard Shaw, Darryl Lyon and the Maine Infantry Foundation, Mary Beth Connelly and the Holden Historical Society, David Hanna, the staff at Brewer Public Library, Brewer Community School, Brewer High School, Brewer Parks and Recreation and Holbrook School. Thank You.