The historic United Universalist Church in Kennebunk is seen in a 1909 postcard. The building's recognizable steeple is used in a proposed logo for the town's bicentennial, but the symbol was criticized by some in town. Credit: Public domain image

Use of the bell tower from the United Universalist Church in the town’s proposed bicentennial logo created a stir at Tuesday’s meeting of the Kennebunk Board of Selectmen, and ultimately led the board to vote to send the design back to the Bicentennial Committee for further review.

Selectman Blake Baldwin serves on the committee and explained that the bell tower is a central iconic part of the town’s history from 1820. He noted that the bell in the tower was forged by Paul Revere, and the Declaration of Independence was read from the steps of the church on the corner of Route 1 across from Town Hall. Kennebunk Town Hall was not constructed until 1921.

“It’s centrally located and it has a rich history in the town, and it seems to represent what the town was doing 200 years ago,” Baldwin said. “We wanted to find something recognizable in the town and choose it as a rallying point for this celebration.”

Artist Steve Hrehovcik worked with the committee and designed the logo that was presented to the board Tuesday night. Baldwin noted that the logo needed to be easily sized up or down and needed to be clear in both color and black and white.

The logo depicts the steeple from the church, with the rising sun symbolizing the future rising before the town of Kennebunk.

Resident Karin Wetmore is a historian and said that the history and heritage of the town is that of a shipbuilding and agricultural center, and wondered why that was not included in the logo. Baldwin said they were trying to get away from the use of boats because they are used on almost every logo in town.

Katherine Wright is a member of the United Universalist Church, and firmly believes in the separation of church and state. She said she feels other members of the community would feel excluded by using the church steeple in the logo.

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