ANSWER: Sun Spots found that there are many sources for the individual towns you mention and several sources discuss all the towns you mention, such as an article in the New York Times dated Aug. 21, 1988.

The article states, “Maine has a large number of towns named for foreign cities and countries. Just north of Denmark, Sweden and Norway are Madrid, Mexico and Peru. Belfast is on the coast and Stockholm is minutes from the Canadian border. There’s a China and a Poland. And for a state with very few people of Italian ancestry, Maine has quite a few towns named for cities in Italy: Rome, Verona, Sorrento, Palermo and Naples.”

A historian from Paris, Maine is quoted in the article, “Many of the Maine towns were named in the late 1700s and early 1800s when people in foreign lands were struggling for independence, a cause the fiercely independent Maine Yankees admired,” such as Mexico and Peru.

“Moscow took its name in 1812. The townspeople were impressed when the Russians turned away Napoleon,” according to the article.

“Paris, Me., which is where American Flyer sleds are made, took the name to show appreciation for the help France gave the colonists in the Revolutionary War. Before 1793, the western Maine town was known simply as No. 4 Township,” the historian is quoted as saying.

“Three years after Paris was incorporated, a clerical error christened a neighboring settlement Norway. Townspeople had intended it to be known as Norwich or Norage — historians are not sure which — but when it was recorded by the provincial government of Massachusetts, it was Norway.”

If you have access to a computer and want to read the article in its entirety, visit http://www.nytimes.com/1988/08/21/us/on-maine-s-grand-tour-mexico-is-north-of-paris.html.

The article mentions the book “Maine Place Names and the Peopling of Its Towns” by Ava Harriet Chadbourne which was published in 1955. Visit your local library to see if this book or others like it are available.

Another source of information on famous Maine town names is the Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress St., Portland, ME 04101. Or call them at 207-774-1822 or email [email protected]

If any Sun Spots readers have different versions of the origins of these Maine towns, please write in and share your information. Great question; let’s see if we hear from our readers about this topic.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: A few weeks ago I was in Wal-mart to return merchandise. The lady next to me had a beautiful purple Easter bunny in her basket. Kindly, I said “I want that bunny.” Much to my surprise, she took the bunny and put it in my basket and gave me money to pay for it.

My granddaughter just had a baby girl. Guess what this baby is getting for Easter from an angel? I hope this generous lady sees this “thank you” in Sun Spots.

Didn’t the paper publish a special column for good deeds? They should bring it back. Good day. — R. S. in Lewiston.

ANSWER: Yes, a co-worker remembers that column; it was titled Sunbeams. The editor’s note that ran with the column stated: “Every day there are rays of light that shine into the lives of people through their neighbors, their co-workers, their families and even through complete strangers. This column is devoted to exposing these sunbeams to the light and offering readers an opportunity to share good news. We plan to occasionally offer up our own sunbeams, too.” Those good deeds and thank yous are published in Sun Spots now.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can be emailed to [email protected], tweeted @SJ_SunSpots or posted on the Sun Spots facebook page at facebook.com/SunJournalSunSpots. This column can also be read online at sunjournal.com/sunspots. We’ve joined Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/sj_sunspots.


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