Jan. 11, 1839: Sculptor Franklin Simmons, whose public artworks include the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow statue and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Portland and the Soldiers’ Monument in Lewiston, is born in a part of Lisbon that later becomes the town of Sabattus.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow statue in Portland. Press Herald file photo

Simmons, who is raised in Bath and Lewiston, starts out making sculpture models of coarse clay from the banks of the Androscoggin River and opens a studio in Portland after graduating from Bates College. His first commercial statue, for the city of Rockland, depicts Maj. Gen. Hiram Berry, a Union officer from Rockland who was killed by a sharpshooter at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Simmons’ statues of William King, Maine’s first governor; and Hannibal Hamlin, vice president under Abraham Lincoln, are on display in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, walks past the statute of Gov. William King in the U.S. Capitol in 2013. Press Herald photo

He also creates the statue of President Ulysses Grant, shown in a Union Army uniform, that stands in the U.S. Capitol rotunda. He plans to do one of Lincoln as well, but the day after the two meet in April 1865 to schedule a sitting, John Wilkes Booth assassinates the president.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Monument Square, Portland. Press Herald photo

Simmons eventually sculpts more than 100 marble busts and 15 public monuments.

Simmons moves to Rome in 1868, following in the footsteps of many American sculptors who want to learn the centuries-old Italian tradition of marble carving. After the king of Italy decorates him three times for his work, he dies on Dec. 8, 1913, in the Italian capital while taking a hot bath, according to The New York Times.

Jan. 11, 2012: For the second time in two years, Hostess Brands, which employs about 370 people at a bakery in Biddeford, appears in bankruptcy court.

Strikers picket outside the Hostess Bakery facility in Biddeford Nov. 13, 2012. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

A spokesman for the company, whose cake products include Twinkies and Ding Dongs, says the filing will not result in job losses in Biddeford.

But in November of that year, embroiled in a strike that includes workers at the Biddeford plant, the national company closes all 33 of its bakeries; four months later, a bankruptcy judge authorizes the company to sell everything it owns.

Flowers Foods Inc. buys most of Hostess’ assets in July 2013, including the Biddeford bakery, but it puts that property up for sale the following year, and it never reopens as a bakery.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society.

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