22 August 2012

Augusta, ME

26 August 2012--Earlier this week, we drove to Augusta, ME, the state capital and toured the state house along with the governor's mansion and the state history museum. On the Maine license plate is the chickadee, the state bird. A little fun fact: Although a good-sized state by land mass, Maine has a population of approximately 1.3 million people; the same as San Antonio!

Maine's Coat of Arms is also displayed on the state flag. In some states they are somewhat, or even completely, different, but Maine keeps it simple.

Like Massachusetts, Maine's Capitol building is more impressive on the outside than the inside, but Massachusetts' is a bit prettier on the inside. It was built by the same architect, Charles Bulfinch, as Massachusetts's was, and was even based on the same design. (Remember that Maine was once a part of Massachusetts, and didn't break off to become its own state until 1832.) Atop the building is the "Lady of Wisdom", and the last picture shows the view as you exit the building.

Without all the trees obstructing the view, this is what it looks like.

The Hall of Flags and the House of Representatives were the only rooms I could justify posting a picture of. In all honesty, the rest of the building was a series of rooms/offices that had nothing worth noting. Surprisingly, even the Senate chamber was totally boring.

So we had a quick walk-through of the Capitol building and then headed directly across the street to "Blaire House", the Governor's Mansion that was built in 1833 by a private owner and then donated to the state in 1919. You can see the Capitol building in the background of the 2nd picture.

From a distance the house looks pretty impressive, but as you get close you realize it is in some need of repair/upkeep. We were surprised to see a window air conditioner and peeling paint...a lot of peeling paint!

They do a much better job of keeping up the inside of the house, especially the public rooms on the 1st floor. I didn't know, or at least if I ever did know I forgot, that Olympia Snowe, the now retiring Senator from Maine, was married to a former governor of Maine, and actually got married in this house. She picked out the blue in the chairs and the drapes to match that of the blue in the state flag. (I am sure she has a much larger claim to fame than that nugget, but that's all they told us--haha.)

This room was the office of the man (Blaire) whose family donated the house to the state. He was both a good friend of, and the Secretary of State for, Abe Lincoln. The wallpaper is an exact replica of the wallpaper Lincoln had in his office, and the note in the small box on the desk in the 2nd pic is a travel pass given to Blaire by Lincoln during the Civil War.

The guide told us that the cut-outs in the walls back in those days, where you see the statue near the top of the staircase, were actually put there so as to allow caskets enough room to make the turn when being taken out of houses.

The History Museum told us that Maine was the 23rd state, a little about the American Revolution and the Civil War, and aside from that not much more than a mish-mash of info that didn't seem to have a theme to it. It seemed to be a series of small displays that didn't relate well to each other, or even tell a story of the history of the state.

One of the 1st displays we came upon was this of the 2 moose who were found dead back in 1938 because they couldn't get unhooked from each other. Really set a bad tone! haha

And here we had how to read the national flag. Although interesting, isn't that more a Washington DC display than Augusta, ME?

Making shoes, printing and cutting wood. Does it get much better than this? haha

Now we're getting somewhere...who knew ear muffs were invented in Maine?

And I took these pictures because the piano reminded me of the one my parents had and that my father used to round us up and make us sing Tora, Lora, Lora! to...haha And I just liked the carriages.

So that's Maine. I am still needing to post on the NH capital, whale watching and the family get-together, so stay tuned.


  1. Very interesting Paula......for all the time i have spent in Maine I have never done the historical tour

  2. i think it was when we toured the Copley library that i figured that those statues built into the walls had a purpose. Too bad they didn't do the same thing when building these old houses with the short cut turns going up and down the staircases.
    I love those carriages. the sled one is a great idea.

  3. forgot to comment on the moose fight. Had to be quite a fight !!!!!!!!!! Amazing how long the antlers have survived.

  4. About the separation of Maine and Mass, wasn't it all Maine and then Mass separated to make its own state???

    1. No Ellen..remember, the Pilgrims came here 1st.