PARIS — An iconic vestige of a bygone era that graced the carriage house at the Bahre family’s home on Paris Hill was stolen sometime between March 15-17, from the perch where it has stood going back to at least the Civil War era.

This plated cast iron weather vane, a piece of Paris Hill history, has been stolen from atop the carriage house of the Bahre family’s residence. The site is also known as the birthplace of Hannibal Hamlin, President Abraham Lincoln’s first vice president. Submitted photo

Jeff Orwig, who has looked after the property for the last 35 years, arrived the following Monday to discover that the family’s prized weather vane, a plated cast iron horse, was gone. A ladder the thieves had used to climb up on the roof remained where it had been set against the building. Pieces of the weather vane were found on the roof and on  the ground. But the horse had been stolen.

Before becoming the Bahre family’s residence, the property was a farm and the birthplace of Hannibal Hamlin, a Maine statesman who held state and federal offices starting in the 1830s and culminating in his election as U.S. Vice President under Abraham Lincoln in 1860. His father, Cyrus Hamlin, built the house in 1806 and it remained in the family until it was sold in the 1860s.

Sometime between March 15-17, thieves cut and destroyed a prized weather vane from the carriage house belonging to the Bahre family on Paris Hill. Busted pieces of the weather vane were strewn about and the ladder was abandoned, but the main figure of the weather vane, a cast iron horse, was stolen. Submitted photo

Orwig told the Advertiser Democrat that the weather vane has been a fixture of the home dating back generations. It can be seen atop the homestead’s original barn in a painting composed in 1864 by noted Portland landscape artist Harrison Bird Brown. When Kimball Chase Atwood purchased the property in the 1920s, the barn was removed and repurposed as a carriage house, with the weather vane being reset on the newer structure’s roof peak.

Kimball’s descendants resided at the home until 1970, when the Bahre family bought the property and completely restored it.

“The family is very disappointed that such an important piece of their home was stolen and destroyed” in the process, Orwig said.


The Bahres do not intend to press charges against the thieves. They only ask to have the horse returned so they can repair and properly restore the weather vane.

“In my memory, nothing like this has happened before,” Orwig said. “The Bahres have been a blessing to the community, caring for this [historic] property in the manner it deserves.

“We want to get the word out, and hopefully the community will help” see that the iron horse is returned.

Detective Alan Coffin of the Paris Police Department told the newspaper that while the ladder used in the heist was taken in as evidence, no suspects have been identified. He said inquiries have been made to area pawn and metal shops but so far the horse has not resurfaced.

“We continue to investigate,” Coffin said. “It is hard to say if we will find the responsible parties.”

Anyone with information about the horse is asked to contact Orwig at 207-890-8592, or Detective Coffin at the Paris Police Department at 207 743-7448.

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