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Societies pay visit to state complex
AUGUSTA- Members of the Rumford, Mexico, Peru and Dixfield historical societies traveled to Augusta last week for a tour of the capitol building, as well as the Maine State Museum, the Maine Archives, and the Blaine House.
Presidents, Jane Peterson of Rumford, and Robert Daigle of Mexico, planned the trip with the help of Lewis Irish. A bus was chartered and more than two dozen local residents attended. Some for their first visit ever.
Upon their arrival at the state house complex, after being screened at the front door, the group received a guided tour through the halls of the capitol, were able to make visits to the senate quarters, sit in on daily business of the House of Representatives, where they heard local vocalist, Elaine Michaud sing the national anthem, and meet up with Rep. Sheryl Briggs, their hostess.
“It’s so wonderful seeing you all here,” stated Briggs. “This place still gives me the goosebumps when I walk in. I love it here. I’m happy you all are having a chance to enjoy what I do.”
The tour included information about the stand-in flags that are on display in the Hall of Flags, due to the deterioration of the originals, and that guests “used to take clippings of the flags as a souvenir,” stated the tour guide.
The history of the photographs on the walls was interesting, especially to see Rumford’s own Edmund Muskie, who served as governor from 1955 to 1959. On the opposite wall stood a portrait of Margaret Chase-Smith of Skowhegan; two great people in the history of Maine’s government.
With a busy day ahead of them, the group enjoyed lunch in the capitol cafeteria and then moved on to the museum and archives. The museum had an extensive display of the history of life in Maine, and even had a new display showing the history of one of Maine’s black eyes, Life on Malaga Island.
A story for another time, but those interested in some dark history of our great state, may want to look into the people of Malaga.
The group finished their day in the Blaine House, the governor’s home, dating back to 1833, when it was built by a retired sea captain, James Hall. Governor James G. Blaine purchased the home in 1862 as a gift to his wife. Since then, each governor of Maine and his family have resided in the home.