BANGOR, Maine — Famed gangster Al Brady and associate Clarence Lee Shaffer Jr. were killed by FBI agents in a hail of gunfire in downtown Bangor on Oct. 12, 1937. Pictures of the shootout captured by a Bangor Daily News photographer were splashed on the front pages of newspapers all across the country and the event thrust the city into national prominence, if only briefly.
Seventy-two years later, the incident remains a storied part of the city’s history, and city leaders plan to bring it back to life this weekend as part of Bangor’s ongoing 175th birthday celebration.
City Council Chairman Gerry Palmer and others have planned a series of events beginning Friday and running through Sunday that highlight that particular moment from Bangor’s past.
“We did an official re-enactment two years ago on the 70th anniversary. Since money is tight, we don’t feel the need to do that again, but we’ve found other ways to celebrate,” Palmer said.
From 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, video footage of the 2007 re-enactment will be shown at the Hammond Street Senior Center followed by a historical discussion. From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, West Market Square will be transformed into a Prohibition-era extravaganza featuring entertainment from that time period. At 2 p.m. Sunday, the city will hold a vintage automobile parade showcasing cars from the 1930s.
Palmer said the events aren’t much, but they are free and are meant to embrace the city’s rich, and sometimes infamous, history.
“We’ve had so much response to other events we’ve held this year as part of the 175th birthday festivities,” he said. “They have been an incredible amount of work for volunteers, but everyone has responded in kind.”
For more information about this weekend’s events, visit a special Web site the city has created: www.bangorbeatsthebradygang.com.