May 28, 1821: Maine’s first governor, William King, resigns from office to become a special minister appointed by James Monroe and assigned to negotiate a treaty with Spain.

Maine Senate President William D. Williamson, who later becomes Maine’s first state historian, succeeds King as governor.

May 28, 2005: The two-part TV miniseries “Empire Falls,” based on a 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Colby College professor Richard Russo, debuts on the HBO cable TV network.

The miniseries, shot in 2003 in Waterville and Skowhegan and directed by Fred Schepisi, is set in the fictional Maine town of Empire Falls. It stars Ed Harris, Paul Newman, Helen Hunt, Aidan Quinn, Robin Wright Penn, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joanne Woodward and Danielle Panabaker.

Ed Harris waves to a crowd of onlookers during a break from shooting on the set of “Empire Falls” in Waterville in 2003. Photo by Jeff Pouland

The show wins a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television. Paul Newman wins both a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy for his work in a supporting role. Also, Harris, the miniseries’ lead actor, returns to Waterville in July 2004 to accept the Maine International Film Festival’s Mid-life Achievement Award.

In May 2019, Harris donates $75,000 to the development of the planned Paul J. Schupf Arts Center in downtown Waterville.

“Ever since living in Waterville and working on Empire Falls some 15 years ago, the town and the people in it have held a fond place in my heart,” he says in a news release about the donation.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

Presented by:

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com.  Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]


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