Centennial Story

As the year 1904 drew near, people of Hope began to plan for a proper celebration of the town's one-hundredth anniversary. At the town meeting in March, 1904 the sum of $85 was appropriated.

From the Camden Herald and the Courier Gazette we have some items of interest concerning preparations for the big event and others showing life as it was in Hope in its 100th year since incorporation:

Early in the morning the people began pouring into town. Visitors were here from twenty miles.

The marshal was to be Col. E. A. True, one of the old military heroes and officer of the Eighth regiment and well-known all over Maine. He was to have the general direction of the big parade, although the military section was to be under the charge of A. S. Lermond. Col. True had for aids J. H. Hobbs and N. F. Barrett. The fantastics were led by George Grant. Unfortunately, the old hero could not be present.

 

Visitors were from twenty miles around and they came in crowds. Old and former residents came from other states to do honor to the town of their birth and pride, and never before have our people witnessed such scenes as on this occasion.

At 9:30 in the morning the big parade began to form on the hamlet street. First came the Camden Band, heading the procession and directly behind these musicians rode the marshal, Rev. E. W. Preble and his aids. Holding the post of honor rode the old citizens and the Grand Army veterans. Among the most conspicuous figures here was Abner Dunton, the first town clerk of Hope. This may sound a bit queer at first but the fact that he is 98 years old and they didn't have a clerk at first will explain the situation. He has held many important positions in the town and county since that time and has always filled them with fidelity and honor. Age has not dimmed his eye and he is still remarkably active. He is a brother of the famous writing master of the same name and a former generation. By his side were several other old citizens of the town.

The school children played an important part. There are five schools in the town and nearly all the scholars were in the line They rode in floats and were headed by their teachers, Mrs. Eva L. Taylor, Miss Mary A. Barrett, Miss Mattie Fogler and Miss Mildred Bartlett. A great majority were dressed in white, and the floats were decorated with flags, bunting and evergreens.

Then came the societies. There were the Canton Lafayettes of Rockland, Odd Fellows of Appleton, South Hope and Camden Granges. The floats were finely decorated with evergreens, even the spokes of the wheels being completely hidden from view under the dense and green foliage. The fantastics formed a humorous feature that created great merriment for the crowd. Bringing up the rear was a long string of trades teams, and here not only Hope but nearly all the surrounding towns were represented. On the whole it was a grand parade; far greater than was ever seen in these streets before and one that will be long remembered by all who took part or who witnessed the line.

It was nearly eleven o'clock when the marshal Rev. E. W. Preble, disbanded and dismissed the column and then a baseball game was made up between a nine from Hope and a rival team from Lincolnville. It was sharply contested and was witnessed by a large and enthusiastic crowd.

At noon came the flag raising, and as Old Glory was flung from the breeze three great cheers rung out upon the air. That is a sight that never fails to inspire the crowd, and on this occasion it came from three thousand throats with a patriotic fervor that only too well attested to their sincerity. The flag was unrolled by Abner Dunton, the 98 year old veteran and Mr. L. C.Bateman of Auburn made a brief speech. This ended the exercises of the forenoon and dinner came next in order. It was a grand good one, prepared by the ladies of Hope and brought in picnic baskets and it was a great throng that was fed.

(From History of Hope Maine by Anna Simpson Hardy, Chapter 20. See the book for much more information)

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