June 13, 2013

Lindbergh medallion, missing 30 years, returned to Old Orchard Beach monument

By Beth Quimby bquimby@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Blaney said while the French crew members were furious because the added weight slowed them down, Schreiber was feted as a hero in Europe.

"They put him on a boat back to Portland," said Blaney, who later shared a correspondence with Schreiber.

The Old Orchard Beach Historical Society and the Maine Aviation Historical Society installed the monument in 1971 in Memorial Park. The medallion's disappearance was discovered about a year later.

Then suddenly it resurfaced last year. Loren Harmon of Kennebunk, a retired airplane mechanic, was at his shop at the Biddeford airport when a friend walked in with another man carrying a flat brass object depicting an airplane.

"The fellow said he had found it in his deceased father's garage, and his father was a junk collector. He was curious about it," said Harmon.

Harmon called his friend Norman Houle, founding member of the Maine Aviation Historical Society.

"Norm is a major aviation historian and he loves a mystery," said Harmon.

Houle paid a visit to Old Orchard Beach's Libby Memorial Library, where a librarian directed him to the monument. Harmon said it was immediately obvious that the mystery object was the missing medallion.

The monument was not in great shape. In 2005 a gazebo was built right next to it with the monument facing into the gazebo. Shrubbery had grown around it.

It took about a year to have the 2,000-pound rock monument turned around the right way and refurbished. The medallion has been bolted sturdily into its rightful place.

It was rededicated at a small ceremony Wednesday.

"It was a wonderful feeling to bring the monument back," said Harmon.

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