Oct. 11, 1819: Representatives of nearly all of Maine’s 236 incorporated towns attend the first day of a convention that will draft a constitution for Maine, which will become a state the following March.

The convention opens at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland. The next day, it moves to the First Parish Church, which is the same place where the original agitators for Maine’s separation from Massachusetts first convened in 1785.

Oct. 11, 1983: Residents of the Oxford County village of Bryant Pond lose the last hand-cranked, operator-assisted telephone service in the United States when the phone company’s new owner converts its equipment to dial-it-yourself technology.

The changes engender local opposition from a group that protests against it by using the slogan “Don’t yank the crank.”

The Oxford County Telephone and Telegraph Co. bought the system earlier in the year from sole owner Elden Hathaway for $50,000, and now the company is putting a modern dial system in place.

The phone company’s Robert Jamison makes the last call on the old magneto system to employee Corey Snowden at a hospital in Portland. Then Jamison and Art Fisher pull a heat coil from the switchboard in Hathaway’s living room amid flying sparks and photographers’ flashing camera bulbs, and the system goes dead.

For some in town, the mood is somber. Others are outraged.

“It’ll be a sorry day in hell before I buy one of these (dial) phones,” Ashley Wing tells the Portland Press Herald. “I think it stinks. It was a screwed-up deal and the PUC shouldn’t have let it happen. The people never had a choice.”

Paul Hillquist is on the other end of the reaction spectrum.

“I’m very happy with the changeover,” he says. “It appears everyone will adapt well to the new system.”

“To tell the truth, I’ll probably be for it eventually,” lifelong Bryant Pond resident Alice Hoyt says. “The change really didn’t make that much difference to me, but I’m going to miss (the crank). It’s like losing a member of the family.”

If any reporter approaches them years later to inquire what they think about cellphones, there is no evidence to that effect.

Supporters of the Somali community march on Oct. 13, 2002, in Lewiston days after Mayor Larry Raymond released of a letter in which he urged Somali leaders to discourage friends and family from moving to Lewiston because the city’s resources were strained. Associated Press/Robert F. Bukaty

Oct. 11, 2002: Lewiston Mayor Larry Raymond meets with local Somali leaders in the wake of an open letter he released, asking that they slow the rate of Somali migrants coming to the city because it doesn’t have the ability to absorb a large number of new arrivals coming about the same time.

The letter drew national attention, with some critics calling the letter racist and others saying the mayor’s claim about the logistics of caring for the new arrivals makes sense. Supporters of the Somalis held a rally in their defense. Raymond, saying he has two adopted black grandchildren, denied allegations of racism. He refused to apologize and said his purpose had been misinterpreted.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]

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