New book explores Baxter, Katahdin history
Union — Union Historical Society will meet Wednesday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Robbins House at 343 Common Road (on the Union Common). In an illustrated lecture, John W. Neff and Howard R. Whitcomb will share their vast knowledge of the Katahdin region's history and the creation of Baxter State Park.
Neff and Whitcomb’s recently published book “Baxter State Park and Katahdin” draws on rich collections of archival images, many never before published, dating back to the 19th century. Included among the topics discussed will be tales of the native peoples; accounts of early scientific explorations; chronicles of adventurers, including Henry David Thoreau's visits to Maine's north woods in the 1840s and 1850s; and the spirited era of logging and sporting camps. In the 20th century, when calls for preservation went unheeded, former Governor Percival P. Baxter purchased 201,000 acres over a period of 30 years and gifted them to the state. Today, Baxter State Park is the guardian of this vast wilderness for all to enjoy.
Neff of Winthrop is a retired United Methodist Church pastor who also wrote “Katahdin: An Historic Journey.. He first climbed Katahdin in the early 1960s and was a long-time Appalachian Trail maintainer within Baxter State Park. He was a past president of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and the founding president of Friends of Baxter State Park. Whitcomb of Georgetown is professor emeritus of political science at Lehigh University and author of “Governor Baxter's Magnificent Obsession: A Documentary History of Baxter State Park, 1931-2006.” He also compiled and annotated for a four-volume set of original materials, “Percival P. Baxter's Vision for Baxter State Park.” His park experiences date back to the early 1950s when he climbed Katahdin three consecutive summers.
After the meeting, refreshments will be served by hosts Sherry Cobb and Jan Cramer. All meetings of Union Historical Society are free and open to the public. Union Historical Society owns and maintains the Robbins House on Union Common, the Cobb's Ledge historic site on Town House Road and the Old Town House, also located on Town House Road and available to rent for functions. Membership is $5 per year. For more information, call 785-5444 and leave a message or visit unionhistoricalsociety.org.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.