Bicentennial Celebration

Bowdoinham Bicentennial Committee:

Len Bishop

Zina Maxwell

Leonard L. Bishop, General Chairman Zina Maxwell, Vice-Chairman

Gladys E. M. Peterson, Secretary
Lida M. Buker, Treasurer

Advisors: Gladys E. M. Peterson, Lona Hackett, Margaret Gile, Merle MacDonald, Nancy MacDonald, Clara H. Mellen, Marry Webber, Caroline Lang, Mary Hardie, Della Rideout, Dr. Robert Cummins.

Advertising: Charles Blodgett, Chairman; Winfred Dodge, Raymond Blodgett, Ruth Dodge, Karl Hatch, Malcolm Jewell, John Brown, Lewis Climo, Patrick McMullen, Verona Prindall, George Rowe.

Antique Cars: Harold Hobart.

Barbecue: Clyde Pratt, Chairman; Clifford Gray, Clarinda Gray, Raymond Blodgett, Horace Lancaster, George Millay, Edith Tourtelotte, Lora White, Norman Foss, George Rowe.

Beards: Spear Sedgley, Lee Benner, Adelbert Temple.

Historical Book: Ceola and Ralph McEwen, Chairmen; Helen Robinson, Vera Heath, Beatrice Brawn, Isabelle Foss, Dorothy Brookings, Eva Palmer, Della Rideout, Edith Rowe, Miriam Rideout, Linwood Rideout, Cynthia Hobart, Celia Moore, Edith Douglass, Ruth L. McEwen.

Business and Industry: Winfred Dodge.

Church Programs: Rev. Harland Joyce, Rev. John Young, Dr. Robert Cummins.

Class Reunions: Lida Buker, Chairman; Helen Robinson, Ella Curtis, Doris Raymond, Gladys Raymond, Pearl Raymond, Malcolm and Lucille Jewell, Linwood and Miriam Rideout, Lloyd and Louisa Skelton, Cleora Tarbox, Melvina Raymond, Merle and Nancy MacDonald, Helen Mitchell, Margaret Grant, Zina and Hazel Maxwell, Mabel Heenie, Marilyn Edgecomb, John and Bertha Jewell

Commemorative Plate: Ruth L. McEwen and Ceola B. McEwen.

Decoration of Town: Irene Allisot and the J. C.'s.

Entertainment: Helen and George Millay, Chairmen; Marjorie and Erland Curtis, Barbara and Linwood Hackett, Clarinda and Clifford Gray.

Exhibits: Alicia Sedgley, Ella Curtis, Chairmen; Gretchen Hatch, Freeman and Charlotte Billings.

Finance: Bert and Evelyn Merrill.

Historical: Cynthia Hobart, Chairman; Celia Moore, Edith Rowe, Ruth Hanson, Eva MacDougal, Georgia Denham, Beatrice Brawn, Stanley Baker.

Hospitality: Evelyn and Bert Merrill.

Parade: Stanley Baker, Hartley Douglass, Clifford Gray

Publicity: Eva Palmer, John Cole, Alice Palmer.

Tickets: Linwood Rideout.

Traffic: Ralph Purington


Bowdoinham Bicentennial Program 1962

WEDNESDAY, JULY 4TH:

10:00 A.M................Bicentennial Parade

11:00 A.M................Ox-Pulling Contests. Rides and Booths open.
to
5:00 P.M.

11:30 A.M................Chicken Barbecue Serving Begins.

2:00 P.M..................Reception and Opening of the 1912 Box.

8:00 P.M..................Bicentennial Queen's Talent Contest

8:00 - 12:00............. Dancing at Millay's Round Top.

 

THURSDAY, JULY 5TH: OLD TIMERS DAY.

10:00 A.M. .............Surprise Fire Demonstration followed by Old-Fashioned Parade to the Town Hall.

11:00-12:00............ Mock 1912 Town Meeting.

12:00......................Dinner at the Town Hall 1912 Style.

1:00 P.M................."This is your Life," Bowdoinham 1762-1962.

5:30 P.M.................Down East Clambake&emdash;Boiled Lobsters.

8:00 P.M................ Old-Fashioned Square Dance, Street by Community School.

10:00 P.M.............. Fire Works.

 

FRIDAY, JULY 6TH: Reunion and Children's Day.

10:00 A.M...............Kid's Parade, 4H Steer Parade and Competition. Scouts.

11:00 A.M...............Old-Fashioned Contests.

12:00 Noon..............Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, French Fries and Clams Sold at Booths.

2:00 P.M.................Reunion of Classes of Bowdoinham High School and Coombs High School. Tea at the Grange Hall.

2:00 P.M.................Little League Baseball Game.

5:30 P.M.................Old Fashioned Box Social.

8:00 P.M.................Play.

 

SATURDAY, JULY 7TH:

10:00 A.M...............Firemen's and Antique Auto Parade.

11:00 A.M...............Antique Auto Contests.

12:00 Noon..............Baked Bean Dinner at Community School.

1:00 P.M..................Firemen's Muster.

2:00 P.M..................Shaving Contests.

2:30 P.M..................Senator Muskie's Reception.

3:00 P.M..................Pony Drawing.

8:00 P.M..................Bicentennial Ball.

 

SUNDAY, JULY 8TH:

11:00 A.M................Church Services.

2:00 P.M..................Lancaster-Bishop School Reunion on the grounds of the Ridge Church.

2:30 P.M..................A Religious and Historical Program conducted by Rev. Joyce; Rev. Young; Dr. Cummins, at the Ridge Church.(Loud Speakers outside for those not able to get inside.)


Bicentennial Poem:

Two Hundred years - We cast a backward glance

At those who did the work, who built this town,

Those brave and stubborn folk who founded Bowdoinham,

Who left us History - then flung a Challenge down.

The Challenge - carry their labor, keep the faith

With those who dreamed and suffered, lived and died

Who helped to build a haven in the wilderness

That we may name as Home - and speak with Pride.


An editorial from the The Brunswick Record, June 28, 1962

PROUD TOWN

Bowdoinham was incorporated in 1763 because the townspeople didn’t like the way they were being treated or taxed by the  Plymouth Company -- a governing-commercial body which controlled the Topsham-Bowdoinham region. Defying the company, the independent people on the shores of the Kennebec set up their own town and ran it the way they chose. Now, 200 years later, Bowdoinham citizens are still running their own town as independently as ever. They have set aside five days next week, starting with the Fourth of July, to properly celebrate Bowdoinham’s 200th birthday.

The fact the doings coincide with America’s anniversary of independence is not mere coincidence, for independence above all else is the quality which gives Bowdoinham its unique character. Not to be confused with blind stubbornness, the independence of Bowdoinham is a rare combination of backbone and community pride. Now home for some 1,000 souls, the community has waxed and waned since 1762. It was at its prosperous peak during the days of “frozen gold” when ice cut from the then pure Kennebec was in demand all over the world.

Since those days, Bowdoinham’s fortunes have slipped, but its backbone has stiffened. No one can tell what lies ahead for the town, but only one who did not know Bowdoinham would predict anything but success.
Past performances show why. When they needed a school in the 1950’s, the townspeople got together and built it. They cut the lumber, drove the nails, sewed the curtains and put cash on the line. Just as they had done in 1762, the people of Bowdoinham stayed away from outside control. They borrowed no money from the state, not from federal agencies in Washington, (a city, by the way, still regarded with much suspicion in Bowdoinham.)

Shortly after building the school, townspeople were asked to spend their tax money to set up a modern water district, and they did. But they have voted down zoning, and if it had been up to Bowdoinham Republicans, Peter Garland would still be a candidate.
The people of Bowdoinham are proud, conservative, and self-sacrificing. They are curious about ideas from the outside, but bold and fearless when it comes to making home-grown plans a success. And they’ll fly their banners of independence in the teeth of the strongest gale.

Somehow the combination has worked. Somehow the little town has preserved the best of the principles for which this nation’s first Independence Day was wrung from history. It’s too late now to go back and make over every American town in Bowdoinham’s image. It’s not not only too late, but such a transformation would erase much that is good. The responsibilities of world leadership no longer permit this nation the luxury of Bowdoinham independence.

Still, it’s nice to have Bowdoinham to leaven such loaves as the megalopolis, the population explosion and “creeping socialism,” as they say up there. You’ll find it a refreshing place to visit, and there will be a lot going on during the bicentennial celebration. There can be few better ways to observe the Fourth of July then in this Maine town where every child is born with the word “Independence” on his lips.


Quilt

Bowdoinham's Bicentennial quilt was created by 24 society members for raffle at the '76 barbecue. The quilt raised $450 for the society. Sally Palmer, who with Betsy Steen designed the quilt, is pictured here selling tickets.