The Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society and its partner organizations are preparing to celebrate Maine’s bicentennial. On Monday, the society presented a state bicentennial flag to the town of Sullivan. Displaying the flag are (from left) Jeanne Edwards, historical society; Don Snoke, Bicentennial Committee; Rusty Gordon, selectman; Gary Edwards, historical society; Ray Daley, selectman and Roger Wakefield, selectman. PHOTO COURTESY OF GARY EDWARDS

History will come alive at bicentennial supper



SULLIVAN — The Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society is gearing up to celebrate 200 years of Maine statehood.

The historical society, town of Sullivan, Frenchman Bay Library, Age Friendly Sullivan, Sumner Memorial High School Pathway students and the Sorrento-Sullivan Recreation Center are collaborating on a special bicentennial dinner, the creation of a historic homes database and a concert of Maine folk music.

The “Happy Birthday Maine Dinner” is scheduled for March 15, two hundred years from the date Maine became a state. The noontime meal at the recreation center will feature food chosen and prepared as it would have been in 1820. The program will be a re-enactment of the Sullivan town meeting where the final vote for separation from Massachusetts was taken in 1819. Organizers have used town records to identify the key participants, including the moderator and clerk. The main characters will be scripted and dinner participants will be the voting body of the meeting.

The historical society and its partner organizations also are creating a database of historic homes in the area. They are concentrating on homes along the Route 1 corridor from Hancock through Gouldsboro, with emphasis on homes built prior to 1820. The initial phase of the project is to recognize the homes whose owners are interested in the project with identifying signs. The signs would indicate that residents of the homes at the time of Maine becoming a state may have participated in that process. Homeowners who don’t know the the history of their homes will be offered support to research and document that history.

The historical society hopes to have the designation signs in place by July. Later on, organizers hope to expand the database to include homes of later eras and to develop a story map that will include other historical sites and can be used to share the area’s history.

On July 15, Stephen and Susan Sanfilippo and the group From Away Downeast will perform folk music composed in Maine from the late 18th and 19th centuries. The concert will be held at the Sorrento-Sullivan Recreation Center, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The concert will acquaint the audience with music being played in the years leading up to and following statehood. Featured will be “The Loss of the Cygnet” penned by Judson Welsh, a Sorrento resident of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

In August, on a date to be determined, there will be an activity related to the history of shipbuilding and shipping in upper Frenchman Bay and Sullivan Harbor. Alan Gray of Hancock is going to expand on his research and presentations to include an historic activity on the Sullivan side of Taunton Bay, Frenchman and Flanders bays and in Sorrento.

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