Jan. 7, 1925: Ralph Owen Brewster, a Republican supported openly by the Ku Klux Klan, takes office as Maine’s governor.

A Ku Klux Klan procession through the streets of Portland around 1923. Collections of Maine Historical Society, courtesy of www.MaineMemory.net, item #1265

The election campaign put the division in Brewster’s party on full display. His predecessor, Gov. Percival Baxter, accused Brewster of being a sympathizer of the Klan, which had gained traction in Maine because of its anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant stances.

Brewster later is elected to the U.S. Senate. Actor Alan Alda portrays Brewster in an unflattering light in the 2004 film “The Aviator,” about the life of aviation pioneer Howard Hughes.

On this date was researched and written by Joseph Owen of Augusta, a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal newspapers. Owen is a longtime member, former president and current board member of the Augusta-based Kennebec Historical Society.

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