GOULDSBORO — An old tradition will be getting revamped a bit in Gouldsboro. The town’s Historical Society will be administering the Boston Post Cane.
“This was normally the responsibility of the towns, because it involved looking through personal records,” said Gouldsboro Town Manager Sherri Cox. “The Historical Society ended up volunteering to take a bigger role in managing it.”
The Historical Society began researching the cane in the past few years.
“We began discussing with the Board of Selectmen about playing a bigger role in it,” said Chuck Hodge, of the Gouldsboro Historical Society. “Then we started to get a feel for what was required, and a pretty good idea of how to do this.”
The quirky New England tradition dates back to 1909. Edwin Grozier, publisher of the now defunct Boston Post, sent canes to the Board of Selectmen of 700 New England towns, to be presented to their oldest male citizens. The gold tops of the canes were engraved with the inscription “Presented by the Boston Post to the oldest citizen of (name of town) to be transmitted.”
In 1930, eligibility was opened up to women. The canes went on to long outlive the newspaper, which stopped publishing in 1957. Today almost 500 towns are thought to still present the cane, although changing times have also changed the definition of who receives the cane.
“We wanted to make sure that the recipient of the cane was someone closely associated with the town,” Hodge said.
The criteria, as determined by the Historical Society, are for the oldest person who has been a Gouldsboro resident for at least 15 years, as well as recommendations by friends and family members.
The Historical Society will present a personally engraved replica to the lucky recipient. Gouldsboro’s original cane will be placed in a display case at the town office along with a plaque commemorating previous recipients.
Gouldsboro’s last Boston Post Cane recipient was the late Everett Potter. Hodge and the Gouldsboro Historical Society hope to identify the next recipient after sending out a notice in next month’s town letter.