HALLOWELL — People of European descent first settled this stretch of the Kennebec River in 1762.

According to city historian Sam Webber, Deacon Pease Clark, considered Hallowell’s founder, arrived here on May 2 that year with his adult son Peter and Peter’s family.

Now a group of residents is planning festivities to mark Hallowell’s 250th anniversary, turning it into a yearlong celebration.

January’s inauguration ceremony for elected officials featured congratulatory resolutions from the Maine Legislature and Gov. Paul LePage, but the first real event is an Italian dinner on Friday at the Sacred Heart Parish Hall on Summer Street.

The event is scheduled for 4:30 to 6 p.m., and during the dinner there will be slide shows of Hallowell’s 1962 bicentennial celebration and of Hallowell’s granite industry in the late 19th century. Many of the granite cutters working in Hallowell were Italian, according to Jane Orbeton, co-chairwoman of the anniversary committee.

Events this year will dive deep into Hallowell’s history, with the help of Webber and other residents. There will be tours of the waterfront, the cemetery, Vaughan Woods and a granite quarry. People also will be able to learn more about Hallowell’s architecture and women’s dress during the colonial period.

The events will continue through October. More information is available through the Old Hallowell Day website at oldhallowellday.org.

“Early on we decided to have a yearlong series,” said Gerry Mahoney, the other committee co-chairman.

“Hallowell’s history is so rich and diverse that it would have been difficult, or it wouldn’t have been perhaps fair, to come up with one theme and say, ‘This is what we’re going to celebrate for this 250th occasion.’ ”

The bicentennial celebration in 1962 was a grand one, Orbeton said, with a firemen’s muster, a parade with marching bands and a visit from then-Gov. John H. Reed.

“Some people think that that was really the beginning of the community spirit that brought us Old Hallowell Day,” Orbeton said.

The first documented Old Hallowell Day was in 1968. This year’s festivities, on the usual third weekend in July, will be wrapped into the 250th anniversary celebration. One modification will be a birthday cake contest instead of the usual pie contest.

The 250th anniversary celebration probably won’t be as large as the bicentennial, Mahoney said. For one thing, there are fewer community marching bands to invite to a parade.

In addition, the bicentennial was the first major public celebration in Hallowell after World War II, but now resources and enthusiasm are spread among several annual events, Mahoney said.

The year 2012 does have one advantage over 1962 — technology has made it easier to conduct historical research and scan and share old photographs, Mahoney said. Hall-Dale Middle School students were able to do their own research projects in recent years that are now part of the Maine Memory Network.

Orbeton hopes the 250th anniversary celebration will build on the base of community spirit established by the bicentennial and other events.

“We’re hoping to continue to build on Hallowell’s community spirit, provide an opportunity to highlight for the region the aspects of Hallowell that are the most special and give the community itself an opportunity to celebrate,” she said.

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.