HAMPDEN, Maine — After some debate Tuesday night, town councilors opted not to spend the roughly $1,000 to $1,500 it would cost to preserve and display an antique map donated by one of their members.
Councilor William Shakespeare donated an 1859 map of Penobscot County to the town two years ago with the expectation that it would be preserved and mounted in a display case at the municipal building.
That, however, did not happen, so Shakespeare took the map back home, he said during a council meeting on Tuesday night.
The roughly 6-by-9-foot map shows, among other things, the town of Hampden and the people who owned land there in 1859.
“Winterport did not exist back then and the next town was Frankfort because Winterport was divided out of Frankfort. That’s how old it is,” he noted.
“I took it back a month or so ago because nothing was happening and I wasn’t going to let it continue to sit in the corner and decay further,” he said.
He said he then learned that the council would consider ways to cover the cost of displaying the map, including through donations.
“I don’t know how it’s going to go,” he said, “but it would be a real crying shame if the town did not take advantage of this donation by me, basically. I’m not looking for any credit on it. It’s a shame to see it decay and further fall apart.
During the discussion that followed, Mayor Carol Duprey said she hoped to find the funds to display the map.
“I think it’s important to our town’s history to honor our town’s history,” she said.
Duprey proposed using some of the money the town might save if town councilors follow through on a proposal to do away with the stipends they now receive for attendance and Internet service.
Councilor Thomas Brann, however, objected, noting that no decisions had been made about council pay or any other aspects of the budget for the coming fiscal year. His motion that the town cover the cost failed.
The mayor also suggested the town and Shakespeare split the cost.
Councilor Ivan McPike said he thought that would set a precedent and result in town costs for future donations.
Shakespeare said Wednesday that he has asked that the matter be reconsidered next month.