June 25, 1789: Hancock and Washington counties, the fourth and fifth Maine counties, are set off from Lincoln County, temporarily making the map of Maine counties look like five north-to-south zebra stripes.

Hancock County, located on the state’s east coast, is now the home of Acadia National Park and the Maine Maritime Academy. It also is a major hub of the state’s lobster industry.

The county had 54,418 residents in the 2010 U.S. Census. The county seat is the city of Ellsworth.

Washington County, which shares a border with the Canadian province of New Brunswick, is the state’s easternmost county and the one with the highest tides. Most of Maine’s highbush blueberry crop is harvested here, as are cranberries.

Washington County’s 2010 population was 32,826, making it Maine’s third-least-populated county. Its county seat is the town of Machias.

British forces occupied parts of both counties during the War of 1812.

June 25, 1955: Exit the plane, then immediately grab a fishing rod. That’s President Dwight Eisenhower’s prescription for relaxing when he arrives to spend a few days at Parmachenee Camps in Lynchtown Township, in far northern Oxford County.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower is flanked on the left by Mr. and Mrs. Edmund S. Muskie and on the right by Sen. Margaret Chase Smith on June 27, 1955, in Skowhegan. Press Herald photo courtesy Portland Public Library Special Collections and Archives

Fly-casting on the Magalloway River at Little Boy Falls, and using flies tied by his guide, Don Cameron of Wilson’s Mills, the 64-year-old president lands three trout in 15 minutes in full view of a clutch of photographers, who then are released – as are the fish.

Eisenhower sets aside a few moments to keep tabs on his administration’s handling of an incident involving a Soviet fighter jet that shot at a U.S. Navy plane in the Bering Strait.

Then it’s back to casting flies.

Later, he enjoys a baked-bean supper with ham, salad and pie, followed by a game of bridge with GOP national committeeman Fred C. Scribner Jr. of Portland, state Sen. James L. Reid of Hallowell, and Sidney W. Thaxter of Portland. At 10:30 p.m. it’s lights out.

The next morning, with more privacy, he scores a 3-pound landlocked salmon, also on the Magalloway. Then Eisenhower and his entourage leave the fishing camp, with welts from blackfly bites on his wrists.

In Skowhegan, introduced to a crowd of 7,500 by local icon U.S. Sen Margaret Chase Smith, Eisenhower talks about the importance of world peace. Then he broils a steak for himself at a cookout with Smith, Gov. Edmund Muskie and other dignitaries before heading to Dow Air Force Base in Bangor to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who accompanies him on the president’s plane, Columbine III, for the 8:15 p.m. flight back to Washington.

The departure ends a six-day New England tour by the president, who has not said yet whether he plans to seek re-election the following year. He does run, and he wins.

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. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]


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