Archive for June, 2012

21
Jun
12

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me!

Pirates are taking over midcoast Maine! Good Pirates, of course. This weekend Pirates invade Damariscotta as a fundraising event for charity and next week they take over Boothbay Harbor for Windjammer Days!

To join the fun, we’re doing a special Pirate Tales Tour tomorrow (6/22) for a school group in the morning; and at night if you mention “Pirates” when making your reservation, we’ll donate 20% to the local charity that the Pirates are benefiting! If you ask your guide, Christine, very nicely, she might even tell a pirate tale or 2!

Next week, during Windjammer Days, we’ve tweaked our tours so that there’s some focus on Pirates in Maine (particularly the Boothbay Harbor Area) – yes, there  really were! We’ll also tell a bit about Windjammer history in Boothbay Harbor along with some ghosts, of course!

So… Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of… your choice!

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02
Jun
12

This Day in Maine History

“THE MAINE LAW” The temperance movement had its origins in Maine, and to one degree or another dominated the political life of this state for more than a century. The world’s first Total Abstinence Society was founded in Portland in 1815. A state organization of temperance societies was formed in 1834, and within a dozen years had developed enough political clout to force the enactment of a state law prohibiting the sale of alcoholic spirits except for “medicinal and mechanical” purposes. Under the fiery leadership of Portland’s Neal Dow – known internationally as the “Father of Prohibition” – Maine approved a total ban on the manufacture and sale of liquor in 1851. This so-called “Maine Law” remained in effect, in one form or another, until the repeal of National Prohibition in 1934.  The above is from the State of Maine Government website.

The passage of “The Maine Law” quickly spread elsewhere, and by 1855 twelve states had joined Maine in total prohibition. This law made Maine a “dry” state, other than alcohol that was legally sold as medicines and flavor extracts. Many Mainers ignored the state’s dry law, making liquor at home. Apples and other fruit were turned into hard cider and wine. Many tavern owners accepted the fines just as a cost of doing business.

The new law was unpopular with immigrants and also the working class. On June 2, 1855, during an incident known as “The Maine Law Riot” or the “Portland Rum Riot”, opposition came to a head. The protesters distrusted Mayor Neal Dow and believed that he was selling the $1,600 worth of liquor he had authorized to be purchased for disbursement to pharmacists and doctors. That June day in 1855, about 200 protesters gathered outside Portland’s City Hall, where this liquor was being stored. The crowd grew to 1 to 3,000 (reports vary)! The Militia was finally called out and eventually, on Mayor Dow’s order, shot into the rioters! 1 man was killed and several were injured before “The Maine Law Riot” was over. Mayor Neal Dow later ran for president on the Prohibition Party ticket.