Eagle Lake ready for a year of centennial celebrations

Posted March 19, 2011, at 1:22 p.m.

EAGLE LAKE, Maine — This northern Maine town is throwing a yearlong centennial birthday bash and everyone is invited.

Events kicked off this week starting Wednesday, March 16, the town’s official birthday, and the party is expected to last right up to March 16, 2012.

“These days we live in the hustle and bustle of life and don’t take time to reflect on our past or where we came from,” Town Manager James Nadeau said. “It’s important for our younger generations to see where we came from.”

Nadeau said Eagle Lake Elementary School Principal and centennial committee member Terry Wood is working with the youngsters to keep them informed and involved with the town’s history.

“We really want the kids to reflect on the past from 1911 to where we are now,” Nadeau said.

First settled in 1840, Eagle Lake was officially organized as a plantation in 1856 with a population of 100.

By 1910 the town was booming with four sawmills, hotels, five schools, 10 general stores and its 1,421 residents were connected to the rest of the world by the Fish River Railroad.

Official town incorporation came on March 16, 1911, but the good times came to an abrupt end 18 years later with the national stock market crash, wiping out local businesses and lumber mills.

By the mid-1940s the town was again on solid financial footing, after several years under the control of the state’s Emergency Municipal Finance Board, and again took control of its own destiny.

Today the town still operates under a town meeting form of government and enjoys a solid reputation as a year-round recreational and sporting destination, thanks to the lake for which it is named.

It was easy to get into the party mood Wednesday after the town purchased and delivered 1,000 cupcakes to various local businesses to give away.

“That’s just the beginning,” Nadeau said.

Among the events planned for the coming weeks are a turkey dinner April 3 at the elementary school, hosted by the Northern Maine General Hospital Mercy Home; special celebrations to mark the birth of the first babies born in the centennial year; parades; and family events such as dances, musical performances and historical displays.

“We really want to pool together as many people’s talents and ideas as possible,” Nadeau said. “We are focused on looking at the past, but at the same time we want to develop a booklet for future generations to enjoy.”

The biggest celebrations are planned for Labor Day 2011 with a parade and fireworks to kick off a solid weekend of activities.

Anyone wishing become involved with the Eagle Lake centennial may contact the town office at 444-5125.

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