April 22, 2018
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Windsor Hotel one of buildings lost in Bangor’s Great Fire of 1911

By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist

Saturday, April 30, marks the 100th anniversary of Bangor’s Great Fire of 1911. I have peeked at the four-page insert the Bangor Daily News has prepared as part of Saturday’s newspaper, complete with maps and photos, and it’s a keeper. There will be special features as well on the BDN website at www.bangordailynews.com.

One of the downtown buildings lost to the fire was the Windsor Hotel, which the 1901 Bangor City Directory lists as being located at 100-120 Harlow St. Not having the 1911 city directory at hand, I decided to see what the 1910 U.S. Census might tell us about who lived at the Windsor. The area was enumerated in 1910 by Martin Goode as part of Bangor’s Ward 6.

The Windsor was run by New Hampshire native Frank W. Durgin, 56, hotel keeper, and his wife, Maine-born Martha J. Durgin, 57, landlady. The Durgins had been married 38 years — his first marriage, her second.

Daughter Lottie M. Durgin was 22. Daughter Ethel Young, 37, was married to Frank O. Young, 37, hotel manager, and they had a daughter, Louise, 11. Also living with the Durgins was Frank’s mother-in-law, Rose A. Kimball, 86, widowed. That’s four generations in one census household.

Servants at the hotel in 1910 included Walter Crawford, 20; Charles Saulniel, 25, Canadian French; Mable Allen, 27, Canadian English; Joseph Gaudette, 25, Canadian French; Charles Bridges, 23, Canadian “Scotch”; Lucie Goldsmith, 25; Agusta Moody, 52; and of course, many “roomers.”


The Cole Land Transportation Museum at 405 Perry Road always opens for the season on May 1 — except this year. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great Fire of 1911, the museum will open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in Bangor.

Visitors will be interested in seeing the 1908 Amoskeag pumper, once owned by Portland Fire Department and assigned to Engine Co. 3 on Brackett Street. It was pulled by two horses until 1924 when a two-wheel 48-hp Christie tractor was attached and the equipment was used to fight many Portland area fires.

The pumper is of special interest because it is very similar to the Amoskeag that Portland Fire Department actually sent by train to help fight the Great Fire of 1911 in Bangor. The one at the museum was purchased by Cameron Bradley in 1946 and donated to the museum in 1989.

The Cole Museum’s special guest 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday will be Michael Daicy, a member of Portland Fire Department for 31 years and its historian. He is very knowledgeable about the equipment that Portland sent to help Bangor in 1911 and will share a historic film showing scenes of horse-drawn firefighting apparatus leaving and returning to the station in 1912.

Admission to the museum is $6 adults, $4 senior citizens, free to those age 18 and under.


BDN reporter Diana Bowley wrote a nice article about Bill Sawtell Day in the April 12 edition of the paper. Sawtell for 29 years donated time and resources to share local history, to arrange tours and to bring in speakers for Brownville Elementary School.

As readers of Family Ties know, I appreciate the many books Sawtell has written about small towns in the Piscataquis County area, towns that often are overlooked because of their size. Sawtell’s most recent book, co-written with Ruth Cyr, is “History and Stories of Milo Junction/Derby, Maine.”

Among his other books are “Schoodic Lake Revisited,” “Katahdin Iron Works and Gulf Hagas,” “Glimpses of Greenville,” “Onawa Revisited,” “The Ron Marks Story” and “The Wall.”

You may see some of these books in local libraries, or you can find out which ones are still available for purchase by writing Bill Sawtell, P.O. Box 272, Brownville, ME 04414.


Woodlawn Museum in Ellsworth will offer an introduction to genealogy workshop 9:30-11:30 a.m. Friday, April 29. Patti Leland from Hancock County Genealogical Society will teach participants how to get started researching family history, what kind of resources are available and how to keep records. Handouts will be available. The cost is $15 for members, $25 others. Space is limited. Call 667-8671 for registration and information or visit http://www.woodlawnmuseum.org.

Woodlawn, in collaboration with the Downeast Senior College, will mark the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War (April 12) with two programs on Saturday, April 30: 9:30 am-noon, re-enactors from the 20th Maine Company will discuss the Civil War; 1-2 p.m., they will hold a living history program designed for middle school students. “Recruited soldiers” will take part in an exercise featuring basic drills, a loyalty oath and marching with wooden musket. Morning and afternoon programs are free, but donations are appreciated. Call 667-8671 for registration and information.


Benson Gray, a descendant of the founders of Old Town Canoe, will present an Illustrated History of Old Town Canoe and other canoe builders at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at Camden Public Library.


Cable access videographer Dave Svens will give an interactive workshop on producing your own family history video at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at Spectrum Generations Coastal Community Center, 521 Main St., Damariscotta. Call 563-1363 by April 25 to register. The participant fee is $5.

Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, PO Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or email familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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