100 Years Ago: 1923

The White House today had one of its quietest Christmas days; despite the presence of the two boys–the first boys to call the White House home since the days of Charlie Taft and the Roosevelts.

The President and Mrs. Coolidge and their two sons, John and Calvin Jr., who are home for the holidays, observed a typical New England Christmas. They, with their only guests, Mr. and Mrs. Frank W. Stearns of Boston assembled after breakfast around a small tree in the Blue Room and exchanged gifts. Then the family attended a union Christmas service of the churches of that day at the First Congregational Church where the Coolidge’s worship.

50 Years Ago: 1973

A Lewiston resident, Bates College graduate, has joined the Washington staff of U.S. Senator Edmund S. Muskie. She is Estelle A. Lavoie of 22 Franklin Street, who is currently visiting with her family, and being introduced to local government officials by John Delehanty of Lewiston, Senator Muskie’s field representative in Maine.

Miss Lavoie, daughter of Mrs. Mark Lavoie, and the late E. Armand Lavoie, graduated from Lewiston High School, then from Bates College, where she majored in French, studying in Lausanne, Switzerland, during her junior year.


She was employed in Augusta for Denis Violette, director of Maine-Quebec Maritimes Cooperative Commission, and left there in September to take the job with the Muskie staff.

25 Years Ago: 1998

This western Maine town may be best known for downhill skiing, but it was an uphill climb a century ago that brought it a puff of glory.

Sugarloaf, the state’s tallest ski mountain, is in the neighboring town. But Kingfield has its own claim to fame; It’s the birthplace of F.E. and F.O. Stanley, the identical twins who gave us the quirky automobile named for them.

And 1999 will be an important year for aficionados.

The new year will mark the 100th anniversary of one of their early models shaking and panting the way over a bumpy road and past sheer drop offs to the top of 6,293-foot Mount Washington in New Hampshire.


Owners of the remaining Stanley Steamers are gearing up to recreate the event on August 31, 1899, that marked the first horseless carriage to climb to the top of New England’s highest peak.

Nearly 600 people have been notified, and steamers are expected from as far away as California and England.

“They are a special ilk” said the great-granddaughter of F.E., Sarah Walker Stanley, who will bring an 1899 Locomotive to the festivities. “They run their cars, they know the technology, they know the history.”

The hubbub is also expected to draw attention to Kingfield’s modest but fascinating Stanley Museum, which is housed in a yellow and white converted wooden high school that was designed by the Stanley brothers and later saved from demolition by town fathers. The Georgian structure is home to a few restored Stanley Steamers and a growing collection of family treasures.

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

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