Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Maine Street Monday (oops a day late)--Skowhegan
Skowhegan is the county seat of Somerset County and about an hour north of my home. The district court there is within my work radius and so this morning I was on the road early for an 8:00 docket call. Skowhegan with a population of around 8,000 people is the largest town where I regularly practice.
Skowhegan is located on the Kennebec River and was a favorite fishing spot for the local Abenaki Indians. Skowhegan means watching place.
Eventually the Abenackis gave way to the settlers and industrialists and the powerful Kennebec River went from providing fish to providing energy to power textile mills, lumber mills and paper mills. Now, the mills are mostly idle and much of the population has disappeared as the Abenackis did a century before.
Some of my favorite fun facts about Skowhegan (other than the fun of saying the word) include that it was the home of Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman U.S. Senator and that it hosts the Skowhegan Fair, the country's longest continuously running state fair.
In 2001, Robert Russo won a Pullitzer Prize for writing the novel Empire Falls. The town of Empire Falls was fictional but Skowhegan was used for the setting when HBO filmed the miniseries in 2005.
With all the politicians trying to distance themselves from Wall Street and attach themselves to Main Street, I have decided that for a while anyway (until I get bored with it), I will feature Maine Main Streets on Mondays.