WINTER HARBOR — “Happy birthday Winter Harbor. Happy birthday to you….” chimed more than 75 local residents and other well-wishers who celebrated the town’s 125th birthday over cake at a reception last Saturday afternoon at Hammond Hall.
Hosted by the Winter Harbor Historical Society, the birthday party was held to mark this coastal community’s secession from the town of Gouldsboro and the formation of its own municipality in 1895. Both solemn and celebratory, Saturday’s reception featured Sumner Memorial High School freshman Ainsley Alley singing “The Star Spangled Banner” while Tim Joy — son of the late, long-serving selectman Vernon Joy — read aloud minutes from Winter Harbor’s first town meeting held Feb. 24, 1895. Local resident Richard Leighton said a prayer.
Historical society president Diana Young greeted partygoers while secretary Pearl Barto — known for her historic walking tours in period dress — acted as emcee. She shared anecdotes from early selectman Capt. Freeland Bunker’s daily diaries kept for 37 years. The master mariner, ship builder and entrepreneur led a full life that took him to New York Harbor to witness the Statue of Liberty’s unveiling and sailing across the Atlantic with a cargo of glass to deliver in Italy, where he spent a month after his finger got caught in a winch.
Bunker was among the townspeople who helped haul cobblestones by hand from the beach to build Channing Chapel.
“He didn’t mind pitching in, getting his hands dirty and getting things that needed to be done,” she related.
Barto also thanked Schoodic Arts for All for making Hammond Hall available for the party and the Acadian Community Woman’s Club for supplying three birthday cakes.