4th Graders Share History of Great Bangor Fire 

The great Bangor fire of 1911 wiped out much of downtown, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. The disaster was well-documented in local newspapers of the day. Today those stories came back to life, thanks to some young guest curators at the Bangor Museum and History Center.”It will be two weeks before the electric light system is back.”Each first-person account revealed a new element of the blaze as it unfolded.”The residences on the westerly side of Broadway began to blaze and it was seen that many of the best houses were doomed.”The stories of the people who lived through the ordeal are being shared again, through fourth-graders from the Fairmount School.”We got pictures of each and we wrote articles about them and they’re hanging up inside. Then we were doing a reader’s theater to explain to the parents about the great Bangor fire,” says 4th grader David Rubin.It’s a service learning project with the Bangor Museum and History Center.”You got to see things you wouldn’t normally see. Like if you went to the library, you probably wouldn’t even know they had newspapers from 1911. But if you’re doing a project on them, you get to see them,” Rubin says.”So people know what happened back in the olden days. If we didn’t have this, they wouldn’t know. They wouldn’t know the history and culture,” says 4th grader Maddie Symonds.They say walking in these shoes is interesting.”It was the most fun thing ever that we’ve done in school,” says 4th grader Sean McDonough.”I thought it was pretty fun,” says 4th grader Alexander Ogden. “Because we got to read newspaper reports and we got to get in costumes and act like we were from 1911.”They invite you to come see what they’ve learned at the Hill House on Union Street, and have a chat with the grown-up curators there as well. “Sometimes books don’t really explain it all that well,” says 4th grader Alana Broughton. “So if there’s somebody right there you can ask questions to, that’s kind of the best way to do it.”