As I write this column, no one has started the celebration of Camden and Rockport being settled now for 250 years. I tried in my article to give the blueprint, easy to follow, to celebrate again. I am sure there are many people who love Camden and Rockport and it does take a lot of work, but also much fun and enjoyment comes from working on something like the 250th Anniversary of the two prettiest towns in Maine.

People tell me they really enjoy reading about the “old days,” so let us begin again around 1915. In February there was a boom in construction lots at Hosmer Pond. Six more lots had been sold by Mr. Matthews that week and others were considering the idea. They claimed it had been the biggest sale in number of transfers that had taken place in Camden, showing how popular the beautiful lakeside was.

The old dump on Mechanic Street was discontinued, and the public was forbidden to dump rubbish there, because the owner of the property wished to cover up the old refuge and improve the place. The new public dump was on Sea Street, where the new wharf was being filled in.

This was also a big year for Camden High School, as the girls won the state championship in basketball.

There were two stacks at the Knox Woolen Mill. A strong northwest wind blew so hard in June that it blew down the tallest smoke stack.

The tennis court at the Camden Yacht Club was put in first class condition, and soon could be used. The whole place and grounds were worked on to make them more attractive. In this year we had garages selling Maxwell and Hudson cars. [I haven't seen any lately.]

Advertising were: Dan Dickens and his newsstand; Clemeret Walden, who did hair and feet; Hotel Camden, formerly The Travelers' Inn (tallest building on Main Street); Hall's Photo Studio; Hunt the Haberdasher and others.

In 1916 a bunch of prisoners were bound for Thomaston, as a result of the last term of court in Bangor. They came down on the Islesboro, and then taken by special car to Thomaston prison. The men were shackled together and were accompanied by two guards. Two women were in the bunch, but not shackled.

On May 5, 1916, my uncle, Salim Ayoube, had purchased a pool room on Elm Street formerly owned by the Greeks. He planned to run a first-class place and had made many improvements and changes. In addition to pool, he carried a fine line of fruit, tobacco, cigars, candy and ice cream. A shoe-shine parlor was also connected. The Greeks' (I quote the term “Greeks” from the paper because that is the way things were written in those days; today it would probably be politically correct to call them by name) license was revoked by the Selectmen for not complying with the regulations, but the present proprietor planned to conduct the business as it should have been run. (He was very successful, and a loss to the community when he died during the influenza epidemic at age 22.)

The contractor has begun to build the state road on the Belfast Road from the Camden line through Lincolnville. As soon as his tools came, he would rush the work right along. The people, who thought that Spring Brook Bridge was not safe for heavy autos and teams, now felt better as a 11-ton steam road roller was used by the State in the construction over the bridge, and not even a suggestion of breaking down.

Something we never hear about today was “a band of gypsies” passed through Camden that week. The night before they had camped on the Belfast road, just beyond the Lincolnville line. They were not popular here and that gypsy band was invited to keep traveling by officials. They did, after doing a few brief errands.

The Alumni Ball was held in the Opera House, and it was a big event of the season. A reception was for one-half- hour and then music was furnished by the Bucklin-Marston Orchestra. All alumni of Camden High School and invited guests were welcomed to attend, with tickets costing $1 per couple. Balcony tickets were 25 cents, and the graduating class were honored guests.

Other news: they were still trying to stop the illegal sale of liquor; Chad Richards won the $5 gold piece as the most popular baby boy last month; Burt Stevenson, who had been the Western Union Messenger that summer, broke his leg by being thrown from his bike.

An old coffee pot was on exhibition in the window of the Megunticook Bank and dated to 1828. It was used by Deacon Stetson when he operated his shipyard. (It is now an artifact of the First Congregational Church and I called him the “father of coffee breaks.” He served coffee twice a day to his workers to stop their habit of drinking grog – rum and blackstrap molasses – several times a day, which they felt it was for their health, working from daylight to dusk in the cold.)

In June of 1917, patriotic Camden had Registration Day and Camden National Bank was selling Liberty Bonds. World War I was going on. In August, Camden had an honor roll.

Edna St. Vincent Millay had arrived home from Vassar College, from which she graduated with honors. Her sister, Kathleen, had graduated from a preparatory school and would enter Vassar in the fall.

Big news was that the Bay View House, next to the Baptist Church, burned down. Children from the Elm Street School were allowed to leave to watch the big fire. One boy, whose father owned the Five & Ten Cent Store, told me that he thought he would help the firemen by throwing rocks and breaking the windows. Really?

In 1918, Camden was told that sending food to soldiers was unwise; War Saving Stamps were being advertised; they called the Kaiser a mad dog; books were needed for the soldiers and sailors; there was a rousing Patriotic Meeting on a Sunday afternoon, and Liberty loans. Soon Camden celebrated the end of World War I and Camden received news that Harold Heal had died in action.

There was a large “Welcome the Boys Home” parade in August 1919 with floats by all. Camden Shipbuilding had a mock vessel, and their crew marched with it. In June they dedicated some memorial trees for boys killed in action.

More news that year was that the Camden chief of police hung the last three murderers in Thomaston Prison.

In 1921, the town dedicated the tower on Mt. Battie (from which now hangs Camden's star for Christmas) designed by Parker Morse Hooper, as a memorial for the World War I veterans.

More news in 1921: Camden's Mortuary Chapel was erected; The Comique Theater showed a film with Charlie Chaplin and also a Queen of Sheba movie, and the Bay View Garage was advertising Moon Cars. The Board of Trade had a meeting on electric lights and The Camden Grist Mill had a closing-out sale.

In 1923 not much news. Station WBZ had programs and the theater showed a movie titled “Thinks Tom Mix Saved her Life.” There were pupils at the Mansfield School, near corner of Route 105 and Molyneaux Road, and there was an exhibition at Oakland Park.

1924 was a more newsy year: I was born. The new Saint Thomas Episcopal Church opened on Chestnut Street, a really lovely building with its stained glass windows. I. N. Lee (who was Chinese) had his laundry on Bay View Street. Shore Road through Camden would be Route 1. The KKK were active here and held their large meetings. The Lawrence Chapman medal was started in eighth grade for excellence in reading. The first Camden Eastern Steamship wharf was destroyed by fire and a new one started immediately.

So this article ends. I can write more news, as I have now arrived in town, for the purpose of saving Camden history, I believe.

Barbara F. Dyer has lived all her life, so far, in Camden and is the official town historian.