March 30, 1937: The Maine Legislature adopts Roger Vinton Snow’s “State of Maine Song” as the official state song.

Snow (1890-1953), a probate and corporate lawyer and frequent moderator of Falmouth town meetings, submitted the song for a 1931 competition sponsored by the Maine Publicity Bureau, which he won. Cressey and Allen, of Portland, published the sheet music in 1932.

A poster with the words of the “State of Maine Song” at Camp Runoia in Belgrade. Photo courtesy of Camp Runoia

His son, Roger Jr., later serves as a Republican in the Maine Senate, becoming chairman of the Education Committee.

He recalls in a 1999 interview with Bates College researchers that another legislator, apparently dissatisfied with “The State of Maine Song,” filed a bill to have it replaced. When a Democratic friend in the House, Herbert Payson, called it to his attention, Snow said he couldn’t go to the bill’s hearing because of a schedule conflict, and he asked Payson to attend.

“And he went and got up and said, ‘Do you know that the father of the chairman of the Education Committee wrote this song?’ And the sponsor dropped his bill. That was all that was necessary, an exercise of power,” Snow says.

The tune remains Maine’s official state song.

March 30, 1999: Fire destroys the Skowhegan State Fair grandstand and nearby Constitution Hall, causing about $2 million in damage. The blaze takes 15 hours to put out.

The cause is determined to be arson. Charles D. Miles confesses to the act two days later but is found not criminally responsible and is committed to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta. He later is sent to prison for damaging hospital property and threatening to harm the staff there.

A new Skowhegan grandstand is built during the summer of 1999 and completed in time for that year’s fair.

The first Skowhegan fair was held in January 1819 under the auspices of what then was called the Somerset Central Agricultural Society. The group changed its name to the Skowhegan State Fair in 1942.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: [email protected]


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