100 Years Ago: 1922

It is reported that Merrymeeting Bay is full of ducks and that the gunners are having good sport there.

50 Years Ago: 1972

The Navy’s official orchestra, “The Commodores,” will present a concert at the Edward Little High School gymnasium at eight o’clock Wednesday evening. Oct. 11. Sponsored by the Edward Little Music Association the group will present a program of ‘‘big band” sounds under the direction of Chief Warrant Officer Bill Brittain and singing by a vocal trio, “The Helmsmen,” as well as a bit of comedy and dance. The concert, entitled Showtime USA, will mark the Commodores only appearance in this area.

25 Years Ago: 1997

There’s a first time for everything, even at the age of 80, Leroy McCreary of Kingfield knows wood, and he knows boats, so it seems that building a canoe came rather naturally to him. “Mostly time,” he says, “is what it takes.”


He first  assembled the canoe in his basement. Three months ago, it was moved, frame and all, to his garage with the help of neighbors. “That’s the advantage of having good neighbors,” he says.

Having worked with wood all his life, McCreary, who at one time designed and made furniture, said he could have built the canoe in six weeks, but because he and his wife travel during the summer, the craft has mostly received attention in his spare time.

McCreary, a former U.S. Navy diver, says his 16-foot canoe in progress is made of western cedar “strips” and will be between a quarter of an inch and three-eighths of an inch thick upon completion, after it has been fiber glassed both inside and out.

He says that western cedar makes “a better compound curve” than eastern cedar, which he says can be a brittle wood to work with.

The strips, cut from a large board, are pieced, stapled and then glued  together with Elmer’s Carpenter’s glue over a frame. The staples are later pulled out and the vessel is sanded smooth once the glue and epoxy have taken hold.

The gunwales will be made of clear ash, a rare wood to come by, McCreary says, and the paddles are made with three pieces each of ash and cedar.


The handmade canoe is 16 inches deep and three feet wide, with a 22-inch bow. and is a copy of the canoes used in the Allagash for guide purposes, he said. The canoe will weigh about 65 pounds when it is finished and will gleam its natural wood color.

A Pennsylvania native. McCreary was raised in northern Indiana where water. fishing and canoes were a way of life for him, and summers were spent on Island Lake. “The lakes in northern Indiana are similar to here, but the climate there is much worse.” he says. “I  used to take a canoe, up river and be gone for a week.”

“A canoe is the best fishing platform there is,” McCreary adds.

The material used in Looking Back is produced exactly as it originally appeared although misspellings and errors may be corrected.

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