DEAR SUN SPOTS: I was looking through the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer and saw that there was a B-17 Memorial crash site northwest of Rangeley near Deer Mountain. When did the plane crash? Did it hit the mountain and were people killed? Did the crash happen before the B-52 crash on Elephant Mountain in the Moosehead Lake region in 1961? Thanks for this information.
— Jan, Peru
ANSWER: Truly, I learn something new every day from my readers and you are all making me a smarter person as I research your questions. I especially love World War II-era history and this is one sad story I’m going to tell you.
The B-52 plane crash near Elephant Mountain where seven of the nine crew members were killed happened on Jan. 24, 1963, almost 20 years after the crash of the Deer Mountain B-17 crash you are inquiring about. This crash occurred on July 11, 1944. The plane, coming from Nebraska and headed to Dow Field, went off course on that foggy afternoon and slammed into Deer Mountain. There were 10 fatalities.
If that wasn’t bad enough, just a few hours later on the same summer day in July, another aviation disaster occurred in South Portland when an A-26 Invader light bomber, out on a training mission, crashed into a trailer camp built for shipbuilders by Long Creek. The pilot and his navigator, as well as 17 people on the ground, including children, were killed. These two July 11, 1944, crashes are considered to be the two deadliest disasters in Maine aviation history.
For further information, in Down East Magazine there is a well-written article about Peter Noddin, considered to be the authority on aviation archaeology in the state. He is the custodian of the Aviation Archaeology in Maine website (www.mewreckshchasers.com). Although this site hasn’t been updated in a few years, there is quite a bit of interesting information there.
The Down East story, “The Wreck-chaser,” was written by Rob Sneddon in November 2016 (www.downeast.com/the-wreck-chaser). According to this article, “hundreds of military planes crashed in Maine during World War II, including 48 that resulted in fatalities.” Many of these wrecks can still be found in the northern and western regions of the state.
To get to the Deer Mountain Memorial, go approximately 10 miles down Route 16 beyond Cupsuptic Lake Campground. Turn right onto Lincoln Pond Road. Look for the large sign for Black Brook Campground. Drive up this road for 4.6 miles and the road will fork. Go 3.7 miles up the Deer Mountain/Old Lincoln Pond Road from the fork and you will reach the memorial.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: Regarding the Feb. 16 Sun Spots from Bruce in Livermore who is looking for a five- gallon galvanized bucket, how do I reach him? I have a bucket for him!
— No name, no town
ANSWER: That’s so nice of you! Bruce, we have a bucket for you!
DEAR SUN SPOTS: Since you help so many people, could you find someone who repairs porcelain dolls?
— Dorea, no town
ANSWER: Repairing antique dolls is a popular Sun Spots topic! In Wales, there is A Special Place for Dolls. The number is 207-375-7255. Your doll will be very well cared for there.
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