Summer is HERE! Happy July 4th!
Joanie Shepherd, Pat States, Dorie Homer and David Jackson join the parade, 2004 (12 years ago)

PNYC July 4th Boat Parade 2015 (1 year ago)


A new tradition at Prouts - and great way to liven up even a windless day.

1866 July 4th, 1866 (150 years ago)

How NOT to spend your holiday.....

1866 was just one year after the Civil War, and 90 Years after American Independence.  In Portland, celebrations got out of hand on July 4, 1866 when fireworks touched off an inferno, which quickly spread, and laid to waste over half the city - 1,800 buildings destroyed, 4 dead, 10,000 homeless.  It was one of the worst fires in American History.

Now you know why Mainers are so sensitive to fireworks that they were only recently allowed in the state.  So this holiday, please, .... be safe!  

And if you'd like to find out more about this turning point in Maine history, please come visit the Maine Historical Society at 489 Congress Street and the new Exhibit,
Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866'. 

The Sing "From 8:15 till nearly time to bed."

Chip Willauer remembers Sings of the 1940s:  (~75 years ago)

World War II – The Country Club Years: "During World War II the Maine Coast near Portland was asked to observe Black Out Conditions as there were German U-Boats lurking in the area waiting for the anti-submarine net at Portland Head to be lowered and a multi ship convoy to begin the crossing to England.  Obviously the older men made up the Civil Defense Corp at Prouts. I believe they were somewhat responsible for the Sunday Night Sings, which were at the Country Club.  In this space they could "keep track" of many citizens, and the heavy Black-Out Shades could be pulled down. Also, during these years the English were singing in their bomb shelters, so I think that that was another reason for starting these fun events. Finally, with gasoline rationing, we were no longer at liberty to drive off to Portland to watch movies and enjoy Dairy Queen ice cream on the return trip.
I have spoken with some of the older people who recall these events at the Prouts Neck Country Club.  I do too.  The piano was located down at the fireplace end sort of over by the entrance to the office and the leader was there by the fireplace.  The kids sat on the stage, some with feet dangling.  I recall the stage curtains were open, but I may have that wrong.  It was there while lying with my head on her stomach that I asked Margaret Hinckley Wise to wait until I grew up so I could marry her.  Alas John came along, and that was the end of that.
The piano was played by Anne Farr Bartol, while male elders of the community led the singing.  We used a Red Book in which the songs were numbered and sometimes there were two to a page, so we had to pay attention to the number rather than the page when it was announced.  Among the leaders that I remember were Wilson Holden, James McK. Rose, Sr.(His favorite song was Volga Boatman.), Charlie Homer, and James M. Farr.  I am sure there were others. After a while the children were so unruly that Miss Bartol said she would not play unless Charlie Homer would lead.  He had a way with the young at the Neck and I guess he could control them. He agreed, and the sings continued until his first heart attack, which I believe was 1952, at which time he stopped and so did the sings."

To be continued in next month's issue....  Chip Willauer talks about how he got roped into leading the sing...

Join us each Sunday from June 26 to Labor Day... 

Movie: 'O' Boat Race, ca1937, (79 years ago)

1937ca O Boat Races at Prouts
This was the first one-design fleet at Prouts.  Exciting action, and perhaps THE first movie taken of Prouts racing! Also some great shots of a group in a cat boat passing the Checkley Hotel and other festive boats.  (1min)

Let us know if you can ID any of the people. (Sails are numbered.)
History Highlights Books - One and Two Available Now

You can pick yours up at the Charles E. Thomas Memorial Library.

Order online, click the book, or here ; or by check (address below). Cost is $49 + $10 Shipping, Handling & Tax.
Got History?

Meet our 2016 History Intern - Seth Jackson. A graduate of Scarborough High School, president of his class, member of Junior UN, interested in History and Politics, a freshman at the American University of Paris this fall. He and I want YOUR Prouts photos - people, places, events, things, animals..... We'll help you do it yourself, or you can send us material to digitize - even your old home-movies!  We are here to help you preserve your family history. Drop us a line, call - yes, we even make house calls!

Lots more history waiting for you on the website! Click the cricket!

The Prouts Necker is a monthly magazine devoted to Prouts Neck History - past, present and future!  This eMagazine, the books, the website and all our work are made possible by your contributions. Thank you! 

The Prouts Neck Historical Society is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.  
Contributions can be made by mail:

Prouts Neck Historical Society
PO Box 993
Scarborough, ME 04070


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