Mt. Battie's Christmas star shines on

By Staff | Dec 19, 2012
Photo by: Bane Okholm The Camden Lions Club's star sits atop the Mt. Battie tower on Dec. 15.

Camden — For decades, a star has shone from the top of Mt. Battie, thanks to Camden Lions Club. The star is traditionally lit Thanksgiving night and continues to shine through New Year's Day.

The tradition of the star began in the mid-1960s, when Bill Brawn, then owner of French & Brawn Market Place and a member of the Camden Lions Club, decided to place a Christmas star on the Mechanic Street side of the store, according to information provided by the Lions.

Camden Town Historian Barbara Dyer previously said the first star was 12-feet high, had a wooden frame and glowed with 100 25-watt bulbs. However, since the star was only visible to those passing south on Route 1, it was suggested by downtown merchants to display the star from the stone tower on Mt. Battie, she said.

"The star was first seen Sunday evening and caused some consternation from citizens who phoned the police and fire department about the strange glow in the sky. Some thought it was a fire on the mountain or a flying saucer," reads an article in the Dec. 8, 1966, edition of The Camden Herald.

Shortly after publication of that article, the Lions Club took over and Raymond Drinkwater built a much larger star, made of steel, with more lights. A third star was built in the 1990s, which is also metal and holds 92 bulbs of 15-watts each, according to Dyer.

 

The Camden Lions Club's star atop Mt. Battie on Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The Mt. Battie Star's gas generator sits at the foot of the tower stairs Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The star atop the Mt. Battie tower on Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
(Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The star's power cord winds its way up the tower handrail on Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The Camden Lions Club's star atop Mt. Battie tower on Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Randy Stearns refuels the star's generator Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
A hiker flips the switch to light the Mt. Battie star Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The Camden Lions Club's star lights up Mt. Battie tower Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The Mt. Battie star's lights shine over Camden Harbor on Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The Camden Lions Club's star shines from atop the Mt. Battie tower Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The Camden Lions Club's star shines atop Mt. Battie tower Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The Camden Lions Club's star shines from atop the Mt. Battie tower on Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The Camden Lions Club's star shines from atop Mt. Battie tower Dec. 15. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
The Mt. Battie star shines over downtown Camden Dec. 17. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Comments (11)
Posted by: Matthew Annis | Dec 20, 2012 09:15

Have loved this star my whole life. Thank you for the star...and thank you for the story & wondrous pictures!



Posted by: Elizabeth Kay Gibson | Dec 20, 2012 08:35

What a wonderful world it would be if every place had a Star Of Wonder shining over their community.  Thank you, Bob, and all who will come after you for giving such a beautiful gift to all who live in and travel through Camden during the holiday season.

 



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Dec 20, 2012 07:42

YES! Bob Oxton faithfully drove up and kept the power on and started the star each evening. I remember Raymond Drinkwater welding the first metal star and he did such a good job. Raymond really enjoyed donating time to Camden affairs. Camden is indeed lucky to have so many volunteers keeping the star alight for us all to see. I used to love driving into Camden from Hope in the evenings and seeing the light. Now I drive into Camden from Thomaston and the delight is still within. Merry Christmas Camdenites!

Mickey McKeever



Posted by: Susan Barker Lavenson | Dec 20, 2012 07:33

The tradition continues thanks to the dedication of Tom Jackson, who cheerfully enriches Camden in so many ways!



Posted by: Paul Smith | Dec 20, 2012 07:19

Thanks to the Lions for taking this on and making it a tradition.  We came here from away, and I love driving around this time of year and suddenly realizing I can see the star from yet another vantage point.  Thanks too to Mr. Oxton for his help.  There are just a few things that create the season for me, and the star is one of them.  Cheers, Sarah Smith.



Posted by: Dana E Kennedy Sr. | Dec 19, 2012 16:00

I personally love the star, but I do wish Bob Oxton had been mentioned as for all the years of keeping it lit. He has semi turned this over to Tom and it really bugs me they were'nt named !!!!!!!!!!!!!



Posted by: Catherine Cooper | Dec 19, 2012 12:52

Bob Oxton has been the 'keeper' of the effort to keep the star up there and lit. Kudos to Bob!



Posted by: Peter Rollins | Dec 19, 2012 11:17

The idea of solar star with LED lights has come up. It would be quite a project and very cool.



Posted by: Edwin Ecker | Dec 19, 2012 10:41

I know many have taken part in the story of the Star but am sorry that Bob Oxton was not credited for his contributions .



Posted by: TREVOR MILLS | Dec 19, 2012 09:49

I've been chewing on this for awhile. Wouldn't be cool if we could show off our green credentials and power this sucker with solar? I love the star, but think we can raise the bar. I'd love to help with the effort.

-Trevor Mills

 



Posted by: Leecia Price | Dec 19, 2012 08:54

Very nicely done.  Thank you for this.



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