Bath looks to be a hub next year for Maine’s 200th birthday celebration. William King, the state’s first governor, lived farther up Front Street. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

BATH — As Maine turns 200 next year, the City of Ships will be celebrating in its own right.

Nearly 30 community members attended a bicentennial brainstorming session hosted by the Main Street Bath organization at City Hall July 26.

Another should follow at the same place Friday, Aug. 16, at 3 p.m., and those interested in attending and being involved in Bath’s variety of bicentennial activities can reach MSB Director Amanda Stanley at [email protected].

“What was really beautiful was that it was people from all sections” of Bath, Stanley said Monday about last week’s gathering. Attendees sitting around a circle in the auditorium included representatives from the Maine Maritime Museum, the city’s Forestry Committee, Historical Society and Parks and Recreation Department, Patten Free Library, Sagadahoc Preservation, the City Council, the Bath Garden Club, and Bath banks.

A brainstorming session at Bath City Hall drew nearly 30 people July 26. Contributed

“It just really shows how people understand how important this coming year is for Bath, and for the state,” Stanley noted.

Bath was home for about 50 years to Maine’s first governor, William King, a name sure to be heard often next year. And 200 years ago, Bath’s Customs House was “one of the most powerful … in the United States,” she said.

Maine’s Bicentennial Commission – visit maine200.org for more information – recommends the state’s cities and towns to plan around three areas.

First, community-based bean suppers to be held on Statehood Day (March 15), which Bath may hold at satellite locations throughout the city.

“The point … is so that we all get together and meet new neighbors,” Stanley said, adding that admission tickets could be a donation to the Bath Area Food Bank.

Maine’s historical societies have been asked to determine which artifact they would save in the event of a fire, and showcase that item at the bean supper.

By honoring a New England tradition while building community, Bath would adhere to the state’s desire not just to look backward, but forward together as well, Stanley explained.

Tall Ships America, an organization focused on preservation of North America’s maritime heritage, leadership development and education of youths, could be a second way Bath may celebrate.

The third would be planting a grove of three eastern white pine, which is Maine’s state tree. Each municipality would add an element unique to its community, such as a sculpture, bench or playscape, Stanley said.

Meanwhile, the library and historical society are partnering to present a 12-month series of workshops next year. Other organizations are welcome to come up with their own ideas, and Stanley’s is by no means running the show, she pointed out.

“Maine Street’s position for the bicentennial, for Bath, is just to convene everybody’s plans,” she said. “… We’ll broadcast all messages for all groups that are planning to do something.”


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