VASSALBORO — Donald Breton put together a daily reminder as the town of Vassalboro recognizes its sestercentennial, the 250th anniversary of the town’s incorporation.

Breton, 58, compiled a wall calendar with copies of 47 different old Vassalboro postcards where the pictures normally go. The dates show a corresponding event on that day during a different year throughout the United States.

“I think it represents what Vassalboro is and what it was,” he said. “Certainly there have been a lot of changes, but Vassalboro is a small community and people like its history.”

Vassalboro was incorporated in 1771 as a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, some 49 years before Maine became a state. Maine celebrated its bicentennial last year.

Breton, a 53-year Vassalboro resident, came up with the calendar idea two years ago when thinking of how the town could celebrate its 250th anniversary. He initially thought to list only Vassalboro happenings, but finding 365 events simple enough to describe in a few words proved a challenge. Not only did challenges arise in finding events related to Vassalboro, but also confirming the dates.

Beginning late last summer, Breton sifted through the postcard collections of several locals, including his brother, Ray, who is a champion of Vassalboro history and the community. Breton spent three weeks of evenings after his day job at Huhtamaki researching facts and events for each day of the month.

“I looked through several books from our library, and there are a lot of events that are recorded that are just by the year, but not by the day,” Breton said. “I just decided to go U.S.-wide and just tried to find interesting events. Some are well known and others aren’t.”

A few Vassalboro related events do stand out. April 26 is Vassalboro’s official birthday. The town was spelled “Vassalborough” when incorporated, and the current spelling was adopted in 1818. The Feb. 19 entry honors author Holman Day, who died on that date in 1935. He was born Nov. 6, 1865, in Vassalboro.

There are also some fun facts to put smiles on readers’ faces.

The month of January in the Vassalboro sestercentennial calendar. Contributed photo.

“Who doesn’t know SPAM?” Breton asked. “In 1937, SPAM the luncheon meat was introduced to the market on July 5, 1937. It’s a lot of things where people will know a thing but not a date.”

Calendars cost $15 each or $20 if they are mailed. The backside of the calendar is a map of the town from 1879 that includes a roster of who lived there and where they lived. Some of the landmarks of the older photos in the calendar can still be seen today, such as the Mill Agent House, The Town of Vassalboro Grange, the old schoolhouse, Oak Grove Coburn School and a handful of buildings on Main Street.

John Melrose, chair of the Board of Selectmen, is a part of a casual group of Vassalboro residents putting together events to celebrate the town’s history. He said a good chunk of the celebration will concentrate around the annual September Vassalboro Days, but there are a handful of events throughout the year.

The Civil War monument will be rededicated after volunteers and donors worked on it for two years. A new section of the town forest trail will be dedicated. The library is putting together a time capsule, and the Vassalboro Historical Society is doing its part. Working around the coronavirus pandemic has also proved challenging to plan certain events.

Breton can be contacted at [email protected] Calendars are available at the Vassalboro Town Office and public library, Maine Savings Federal Credit Union, Ferris Market and the Olde Mill Place. Proceeds, in part, will benefit Vassalboro Food Pantry, Vassalboro Ministry, Fuel Fund, other local nonprofit entities, and a $250 prize for the Vassalboro sestercentennial scavenger hunt that Breton is organizing for the summer months. A hint for Morning Sentinel readers: A copy of the calendar may be one of the items required on the scavenger hunt.

People from California and Florida with Vassalboro ties have purchased calendars. A few teachers have purchased them to incorporate into daily lessons.

Breton sold the first batch of 150, printed at Waterville’s SBS/Carbon Copy, and has ordered more.

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