Congratulations to the Belfast Local & Legendary team for a job well done! They completed their year of Civil War immersion with a well-attended and fascinating final celebration on Sunday, May 18, 2014.
The celebration included an original staged reading, an opportunity to view the recently completed reproduction 1864 Belfast Civil War quilt, and the unveiling of a memorial plaque. In addition, Belfast During the Civil War: The Homefront, their Maine Memory Network exhibit, went live on April 8th.
First Church in Belfast was the setting for the staged reading of Going to See the Elephant: Belfast Voices From the Civil War, a drama written and edited by Geordie Squibb and directed by Judi Erickson.
The reading included material taken from the memoirs of Augusta Quimby Frederick and letters of William Austin Burgess, who was mortally wounded during the siege of Petersburg, as well as newspaper articles from both the Republican Journal and Progressive Age of the period.
Merging the present with the past, the Rev. Joel Krueger, current pastor of First Church, read the part of Rev. Cazneau Palfrey who was the pastor of First Church during the Civil War. Maggie Goscinski sang a moving rendition of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and the audience joined in to sing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Following the presentation, audience members partook of refreshments and had the opportunity to mingle with the cast and Local and Legendary team members.
Following the performance, Megan Pinette led a small group of people to Belfast City Hall for an unveiling of the memorial plaque commemorating the building’s original purpose as a Memorial to Civil War Veterans.
Prior to the walk Megan discussed how Memorial Hall came to be built and why in 1924 a Civil War monument was constructed in front of Memorial Hall.
In 1864, the women of Belfast created an inspirational quilt which was on loan to the Maine State Museum in Augusta this past winter. Over the past year the Friendship Sampler Quilters worked diligently to reproduce the original quilt as closely as possible using modern techniques. This quilt, which is a work of art itself, was on display at the church and will be on display at the Belfast Historical Society and Museum. More information on the original 1864 quilt can be found in this section of Belfast’s Maine Memory exhibit.
Many thanks to Local & Legendary team members Megan Pinette, Geordie Squibb, Betsy Paradis, Brenda Harrington, Ron Jarvella, David Beebe, Ray Estabrook and Tom Foster for their enthusiasm and hard work on this year-long project.
Thanks to Janet Lyons, Consultant Project Coordinator, Maine Humanities Council, for providing this account.