June 20, 2018
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Eddington events aim to celebrate town history

File photo | BDN
File photo | BDN
A June 29, 1945, photo from the Bangor Daily News shows Boy Scout executives and staffers who watch over more than 1,000 Scouts during the summer at Camp Roosevelt at Little Fitts Pond, Eddington. The caption did not indicate rows, but pictured are: Warren Whitaker, Robert Morton, William Hill, all of Bangor; John Rowe, Milo; Norman Dionne, Millinocket; Wade Morse, Machias; Robert Carpenter, Bangor; Harold Buck, Millinocket; Lloyd Noyes, Old Town; Bernard Mann, Bangor; Melvin Kittredge, Milo; Dan Gough, Pembroke; Clarence Irivn,g Ellsworth Falls; Richard Hatch, Houlton; Warren Morang, Houlton; Philip Kittredge, Milo; John Needham, Jr., Orono; Richard Emery, Ellsworth; Lawrence Coolidge, Winterport; Earl Hayford, Rockland; Robert Watt, Ellsworth Falls; Richard White, Orrington; Arthur Hollands, Orono; Ralph Leonard, Old Town; Harry Houston, Brewer; Newall Ware, Lincoln; Clifford Reil, Ellsworth; David Dunphey, Bangor; Clyde Philbrick, Winterport; Dale Whitney, Milo; Burt Mann, Eddington; Charles Jackson, Houlton; John Jalbert, Fort Kent; George White, Orrington; Leonard Salisbury, Brewer; Fred Balke, Guilford; Loring Bridgham, Machias; Lawrence Gardner, Eat Machias; Cecil Richardson, Bradley. The Boy Scouts of America marked their centennial last year. Eddington marks its bicentennial this year.
By Dale McGarrigle, BDN Staff

EDDINGTON, Maine — Elements of Eddington’s history will be on display during its coming bicentennial celebration, which begins on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 200 years after the town was first incorporated.All are welcome to attend bicentennial events.

Like many rural towns in the Northeast, Eddington had its roots in the Revolutionary War.

In the 1886 “A Gazetteer of the State of Maine,” George J. Varney wrote of Eddington: “This township, at the recommendation of Congress, was granted to Jonathan Eddy and 19 others, in consideration of their services and sufferings in connection with the Revolution. They were residents of Nova Scotia, but fled thence in 1776, on account of the persecution of the British. This grant was made in 1785, and the place was immediately settled. The town was incorporated in 1811, taking its name from Col. Eddy, the principal settler.”

The event planned for 6:45-8 p.m. Feb. 22 at Eddington-Clifton Civic Center — also known as Comins Hall, the last standing public hall in town — centers around that moment in history.

It will be an evening of town history with music, speeches and displays and ending with cake and beverages.

At the celebration’s heart will be a playlet by Susan McKinley marking the original incorporation ceremony.

Richard Bowden, president of the historical society; Russell Smith, town manager; David Johnson, state representative; and many townspeople representing their forebearers will take part in the playlet.

That evening is only the first of several events being planned in connection with the bicentennial.

The biggest event will take place the weekend of July 22, with a parade, dance, historical displays, old-fashioned games, firemen’s muster and town picnic or barbecue in the making. More details will be announced closer to that date.

Other Eddington groups are preparing a variety of events.

The Eddington School spring concert on May 3 will focus on the history of Eddington.

The Flag Day event on June 14 is being organized by a member of the Airline ATV club.

The Eddington Salmon Club and fire department also are also working on events. Committee members are hoping to explore aspects of the town’s history such as logging, farming and its connection to the river.

“We hope to get people to participate as a community, and get information out on the history of Eddington,” said Margaret McKinney, chairwoman of the bicentennial committee.

Organizing events is ony one part of the committee’s mission. Another is raising the funds to fund them.

Last year, the committee held a yard sale and a hunter’s luncheon and sold refreshments at another yard sale. Bicentennial-themed T-shirts, hats and canvas totes have been on sale.

A raffle has just begun which runs through April 19. Prizes include screened gravel, a CD radio, two ice-fishing traps, a peavey, a $100 gas card, business cards, vehicle magnets and a gift card for clean-up services. Tickets are available at the town office or from committee members.

A second raffle and an antique car show also may be future fundraisers.

“We’re hoping to hold an event a month,” McKinney said. “But a lot will depend on what we raise for funds.”

This slate of bicentennial events may help people to realize Eddington’s colorful history.

“It was probably pretty lively in Eddington when there was Pine Tree Hall at the Bend on the west end of town, overlooking the Penobscot, post office and artisans, and the Public Hall, on the east end of town, close by the saw mills, grist mill, and smithies on Nichols Stream,” explained committee member Susan Dunham Shane. “Few who hurry down Route 9 on their way to Clifton and beyond, or buzz up Route 178 to Bradley and points north, realize how much industry there was on both ends of town.”

Those interested in helping with the bicentennial should contact the town office at 843-5233.

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