BREWER, Maine — Just upstream from where John Brewer arrived with his brother and sister in 1770 to settle the area, a piece of white pine was carved into a large owl sitting on a branch by chain saw wielding woodcarver Josh Landry on Saturday.
Landry carved the sculpture as part of the Children’s Garden Day, the first of a dozen Brewer bicentennial events planned for this summer, Gibran Graham, executive director of the city’s bicentennial committee, said as children and families enjoyed the Penobscot River festivities.
“Most people don’t realize this garden is here” on the waterfront, he said. “That is the whole reason I wanted to do an event here.”
The gathering also included live music by Maine musician John Tercyak, a “Life on Earth” presentation with frogs, bugs, spiders and slithering snakes by Bangor naturalist “The Bug Man” Tony Sohns, arts and crafts and the planting of pumpkin seeds.
The garden is just upstream from where John Brewer, his brother Josiah and sister Mary landed along the Penobscot River in 1770 and built homes near the Sedgeunkedunk Stream.
Brewer and his companions laid the foundation for a mill dam in the mouth of the Sedgeunkedunk before going back to Massachusetts, the 1962 book “Brewer, Orrington, Holden, Eddington: History and Families” says.
“Brewer returned the next year and erected a mill and dwelling house,” the book says. “He was joined by 21 others who became the founders of the village of New Worcester.”
Later, New Worcester was incorporated as part of Orrington, but on Feb. 22, 1812, a petition put forth by Brewer and others in town was granted by lawmakers in Massachusetts to break away from Orrington.
The town was named in honor of John Brewer, who was a founder father and the community’s first deputy sheriff and postmaster, according to the Bangor Historical Magazine printed in August 1885.
He was appointed the deputy sheriff in 1783 and in 1785 was elected colonel of the 1st Regiment, 2nd Brigade of the 8th Division, the magazine says. Col. Brewer became the town’s postmaster in 1800 and held the post for 18 years, it says.
The next upcoming bicentennial event is the opening of the Clewley Museum at 199 Wilson St. from 1-4 p.m. each Wednesday for the rest of June. The museum is “a turn-of-the-twentieth century in-town farmhouse that features material culture from Brewer’s history including a collection that focuses on Brewer native and Civil war hero Gen. Joshua Chamberlain,” the Brewer Historical Society’s website says.
“Our gift to the community is this house … [where] people can see what it was like to live in Brewer in the 1880s,” said T.C. Hanna, a historical society member.
People can tour the museum for free during the three June open houses and also on July 4, because the 130-year old homestead is along the parade route and will have people dressed in period attire, Hanna said.
Upcoming Brewer Bicentennial celebration events
• June 13 (also June 20 and June 27), free tour of Brewer Historical Society’s Clewley Museum, 199 Wilson St., 1-4 p.m.
• June 28, Bicentennial Lunch Series with school Superintendent Dan Lee, who will talk about how the Brewer Community School features aspects of the city’s past and how the school’s curriculum incorporates Brewer’s history. This and all other lunch series events are noon-1 p.m. at Schooners.
• June 30, Chalk Walk sidewalk art contest hosted by Creative Arts Center, on sidewalk of Joshua Chamberlain Bridge. The 10 a.m.-2 p.m. event is free, chalk will be provided, and the judging for the five categories (12 and under, 18 and under, adult, family or team) is at 2 p.m., organizer Steve Wong said. Rain date is July 1.
• July 4, Fourth of July parade.
• July 4, Brewer Historical Society’s Clewley Museum will host an open house during the parade, with free ice cream and popcorn for children.
• July 14, Joshua L. Chamberlain Golf Classic to benefit the bicentennial and Maine Infantry Foundation.
• July 26, Bicentennial Lunch Series, speaker to be announced.
• Aug. 18, Living History Day, which will feature a number of events throughout the city including the Acadia Frontiersmen and folks from Leonard’s Mills, a living history museum in Bradley.
• Aug. 18, Brewer’s Best Banquet honoring Danny Coombs, 6 p.m. at Schooner’s, cost $40. “Danny is the most outstanding two-sport athlete ever to come out of Brewer High School,” City Councilor Joseph Ferris said. “He played Division I basketball at very high level and played parts of nine years in the major leagues. Danny Coombs is most worthy of our congratulations and honors.” Attendees must RSVP by Aug. 15 to Joseph Ferris, 120 N. Main St., Brewer 04412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Aug. 23, Bicentennial Lunch Series, speaker to be announced.
• Sept. 8-9, Brewer Days annual celebration, speaker to be announced.
• Sept. 15, River Celebration/Paddle Brewer, dedicated in honor of the late Richard “Dick” Ruhlin, a salmon fisherman who helped to clean up the Penobscot River. “We’re partnering with the Penobscot River Keepers and offering a paddle Brewer event,” Graham said. “It’s a full day excursion” on 10-man canoes.
• Sept. 27, Bicentennial Lunch Series, speaker to be announced.