NOTE: The preparty party set for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at Old South Congregational Church has been postponed until it is safe for folks to gather to eat cake, according to a release from the Maine Bicentennial Celebration Historic Hallowell Committee.

Hallowell was the state capital for a few brief hours until Augusta snatched away the prize, at least that is the way citizens of The Hook viewed the matter. The state’s smallest city takes some solace in that it is the birthplace of the state seal according to locals. These two topics and special birthday cakes will jumpstart the state’s Bicentennial celebration, according to a news release from the Maine Bicentennial Celebration Historic Hallowell Committee.

The Bicentennial weekend will begin with a local history day on Friday, March 13, at Hall-Dale Elementary School where students, parents and staff have to opportunity to view the city’s rare copy of The Declaration of Independence. The event is sponsored by the Hallowell Citizens’ Initiative, a group first organized to stabilize and preserve the old town hall and fire station.

The Declaration copy, under the protection of the Hallowell Police Department, also will be on public display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at the elementary school, at 26 Garden Lane.

Maine State Seal from the Legislative Resolve Maine State Archives. Photo courtesy of Legislative Resolve Maine State Archives

The city then gets a head start on Bicentennial festivities at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14, with a preparty party at Old South Congregational Church, 135 Second St. Row House, Hallowell’s historical society, is sponsoring this kickoff event, in cooperation with the church, the city and the Vaughan Woods and Historic Homestead.

The party is the day before the official celebration in Augusta. Ron Kley, resident historian at the Vaughan Homestead, will reveal in a presentation that Benjamin Vaughan designed the state seal and his daughter may have done the original drawing, according to the release.

Earle Shettleworth, Maine State Historian, will follow with a “Tale of Two Capitals” Hallowell versus Augusta. Birthday cakes sporting copies of original state seal will be shared among celebrants.

These events are just the beginning of the city’s celebration. Old Hallowell Day, Saturday, July 18, will have a Bicentennial theme and feature a trolly tour of Hallowell in 1820, including the proposed location of the State Capital. Sunday, July 19, is a big Maine Birthday Party at Vaughan Field with a Cake Contest and events for the whole family.

A fall highlight is the Revival of The Blue Stocking Club, honoring the women of early Hallowell with a fall lecture and book series coordinated by The Hubbard Free Library and Vaughan Woods and Historic Homestead, Thursdays, Sept. 24, Oct. 15 and Nov. 12.

For a more detailed, full schedule of events, visit historichallowell.org.