Letters to the Editor
Read what our readers have to say about Maine.
Where in Maine?
The name of the rock in your November mystery photograph is Pockwockamus Rock, named after the pond, stream, and dead-water nearby, although locals simply call it Picture Rock. We lived in Millinocket for sixteen years and during that time the façade of the rock evolved many times, with remarkable scenes periodically speaking to motorists. Graffiti would always intervene between artistic expressions, but some kind and creative soul would always come to the rescue and transform the rock into a beautiful scene. The present scene on Pockwockamus Rock is one that encompasses the wildness of Maine. I hope it will survive the ravages of time and human degradation.
Belgrade Lakes, Maine
What a surprise to see Pockwockamus Rock with the words “Keep Maine Beautiful” that I had written over thirty years ago. It immediately brought me back to many wonderful summers spent leading the Maine Conservation Corps in Baxter State Park. We had a camp of young folks from all over the state completing work projects in Baxter and learning lessons in conservation education. It was an amazing program that provided much needed support for the trails and campgrounds and powerful life lessons for the kids. In 1979 our kids wanted to do something about the offensive graffiti on the infamous Pockwockamus Rock that had become a popular drinking spot on the road into Baxter. The area was covered with broken beer bottles and the rock was marred with offensive language. Rather than just cover up the graffiti, the kids argued that only by painting it with something beautiful would it be left alone. I am thrilled to see the creativity and hard work of a group of young Maine kids who wanted to make a difference still standing today.
—Dot Roberts Lamson
I was very disappointed to hear that Portlanders were “embarrassed” by the wonderful public art sculpture [“The Talk of Maine,” November 2010] at Boothby Square. (No relation to me, I just married the name). I was in Portland this past summer and as I drove down what I believe was Pearl Street I saw the wonderful sculpture. How simple, elegant, and poignant! It was such a joy to see the calming and caressing waves floating in the grass. I come from a place that does not make allowances for displays of public art, and therefore we have a
statue of a Confederate soldier and an Italianate dolphin in a fountain as our public art displays. You do not have to like it to appreciate the privilege of seeing it. Razor blades in the grass? No. A gesture of beauty and avant-garde expression.
The article in your November issue about “The Great Rum Riot” was of great interest to me. The photo of the liquor deputies on the lower left of page 55 is very familiar. The man that sits second from the left is my great-grandfather Emerson Henry Doughty. I have heard stories about the deputies’ escapades from my mother. One in particular came from a newspaper and was called the “hearse hoax” and involved a couple of ingenious bootleggers who tried to smuggle liquor into Portland in a wooden burial case. Deputy Doughty ordered the pair to remove the top from the burial case and discovered about three hundred half-pints of cheap liquor. That contraband could have netted a thousand dollar profit in those days.
Lake Balboa, California
I grew up on Mount Desert Island in Bass Harbor, as have generations of my family before me. I always enjoy reading Down East as it makes me feel like “I am going home.” I therefore read with great interest the book review of We Were an Island, about Placentia Island and the Kellams’ life on the island, in your September issue. The review states that Placentia Island is located “a couple of miles south of Bar Harbor” and states later in the review that the Kellams “did regular shopping runs, by rowboat, to the grocery store in Bar Harbor.” The Placentia Island where the Kellams lived is located near Big Gott’s Island and Little Gott’s Island, and a better description of the location would be that it is located off Bass Harbor. I believe that they would have rowed their boat to Bass Harbor to get groceries, versus rowing to Bar Harbor.
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