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  • Bangor Museum and Center for HistoryBangor Museum and Center for History Bangor, Maine
    In 1864, the Bangor Historical Society started collecting, saving and translating the history of the Penobscot Valley, with marvelous examples like the Mount Hope Cemetery, which is the second oldest garden cemetery in the nation. The society had 22 men led by Judge John Godfrey, who were all interested in the history of the region, and wanted to save whatever artifacts and information that they could for the future generations that would delight in knowing their important heritage. At one time, the society and the public library were housed in the same building, until the great fire of 1911, when it was all completely destroyed. One year later, the library opened again, but the funding for the replacement of the museum was slower in coming in. When it finally did, it had until the 1950s to get all the relics, items and papers in order, since the space they had was diminishing to the increase of the museum's collection. In 1953, the Sons of Union Veterans, managing the GAR Memorial Home, the Thomas A. Hill House, told the society that they could use the house for its collection. In 2002, the society had to look for more space, and found an empty building in downtown Bangor, that was close to the University of Maine Museum of Art and the Discovery Museum for children. The new locale was just what the society needed, the most visible displays of the collection and more people coming to the many venues because of the new location. The name was changed to the Bangor Museum and Center for History to better reflect the mission of the society. However, just a few years later, in 2005, the museum again faced the inevitable problem of space, and Sally and Bill Arata offered them a permanent home on Broad Street, and the capitol campaign has been underway ever since. The magnificent collection contains over 10,000 photographic prints, tintypes, glass plate negatives, daguerreotypes and postcards of local and regional interests. These exciting pictures have been dated to the earliest days of photography in 1840, and includes images right up to the present day; plus the recently found photos of Dow Air Force Base. The museum also houses the enormous collection of historic clothing from the Quipus collection that includes clothing from the 1918s to today, and is over 800 garments. Another part of the collection includes many Civil War relics, that were donated by the Grand Army of the Republic, predecessor of the Sons of Union Veterans; with artifacts and archival items from many of the city's families, that include an apothecary chest, letters, personal papers, a sword from Joshua Chamberlain and other swords belonging to Daniel Chaplain.

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  • Paul Bunyan Statue and BirthplacePaul Bunyan Statue Bangor, Maine
    Bangor, Maine claims to be the birthplace of the logging business and the birthplace of Paul Bunyan, with a huge statue set up in Bass Park, in front of the Bangor Civic Center to prove it and remind Bangorians of that fact. Akeley, Minnesota, makes the same claim, with numerous Bunyan tributes and references, even his grave and his girlfriend's. Bangor's Paul Bunyan is supposedly the biggest statue of the giant logger in the world, standing on a stone pedestal 31 feet in the air, or if you count the pedestal, 37 feet in the air; and weighing in at 3700 pounds that doesn't include his pike and double-sided axe. The statue is made of a metal frame covered over by fiberglass so that it can stand tall in even 110 mile an hour winds. It was given to the city on their 125th anniversary, in 1959, and even Stephen King, famed author of the state and city, promoted it in his book of 1986, "It". The Chamber of Commerce sells cassettes of the "Ballad of Paul Bunyan", that took the Comedy Song of the Year award in 1997, Country Music Association ceremonies. Through the decades, he has had his head topped off with a fez for the Shriners convention, and an enormous bandana for a Willie Nelson concert. Paul Bunyan was a mythological lumberjack, who was reportedly a giant and lumberjack of unique skills. He was first documented in the works of American journalist James MacGillivray in 1910, and used for an ad campaign in 1916 for a logging company. In his book of 1925, writer James Stevens stated that the French Canadians are the ones that started the legend of Paul in the Papineau Rebellion of 1837, while they rebelled against the English queen; and could tell of how Paul got his last name, since "Bonyenne" is a French Canadian expression of surprise and amazement like "good grief" or "my goodness". The stories and legends have kept Paul alive despite the fact that he never was, unless he was the French Canadian Paul Bonjean or Bonyenne that stormed the British in battle at Two Mountains by Saint-Eustache, Quebec, as a fierce and bearded giant; or the feats of an actual man that lived in logging camps in the Ottawa Valley who was named Big Joe Mufferaw, and moved from shanty to shanty. The stories and legends continue, since there are numerous places that lay claim to being Paul's birthplace, but it is a wonderful and exciting legend with many twists like the one story that said Paul was wandering in the western states and by dragging his huge axe along behind him, he was able to create the Grand Canyon. Fun tales to be told the kids at a campsite fire pit or anyone else who will listen to the tall tales of this tale giant.

January 11, 2011