July 15, 1980: Cub Scout Todd Rogers draws the first winning entry from a giant rotating drum during Maine’s inaugural moose lottery at the Bangor Civic Center.

The state was reviving moose hunting, which had been discontinued in 1935. The number of hunters authorized for 1980 was about 700 – less than one-fourth the total in most recent years.

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network put the drawing on live television and uniformed Cub Scouts picked names out of the bin. While most of the 32,000 people seeking a permit wound up empty-handed, all six applicants from the Clemens family on Ocean Avenue in Portland heard their names selected while watching the drawing at home.

Alfred Clemens Sr., a 50-year-old plumber, said people started calling his house right away to offer congratulations.

Moose Calling World Championships and Moose Lottery in Oquossoc in 2012. Staff photo by Derek Davis

“The phone’s been right busy,” he told the Portland Press Herald. “Every time I set it down, it would ring.”

The hosts for the drawing are Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Commissioner Glenn Manuel and Bud Leavitt, a Bangor Daily News outdoors columnist, who opposed Manuel’s appointment to the commissioner’s job.


Leavitt said opponents of moose hunting might have submitted some of the permit applications, paying the $5 fee in hopes that if they won, that would mean one less dead moose.

The six-day moose hunting season that year was Sept. 22-27.

July 15, 2009: A suspicious fire destroys the 159-year-old Cowan Mill on the east bank of the Androscoggin River in Lewiston, causing chaos in the city and imperiling other buildings.

Embers from the Cowan Mill fire ignite the roof of the Bates Mill No. 5, right, in Lewiston in July of 2009. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Thousands of people watch from the sides of Main Street as the mill fire intensifies, most failing to notice that a second building right behind them, Bates Mill No. 5, is beginning to smolder.

“There’s another fire,” a police officer yells to the crowd, according to the Sun Journal newspaper. “Get out of here!” Many start running up the center of Main Street, away from the river.

Flames start penetrating the Cowan Mill’s roof at 4 p.m., and within 15 minutes it collapses, spewing flaming embers that float across the street and land on No. 5, setting it alight. Auburn firefighters rush to the scene and snuff out the flames. Police climb onto rooftops to get a better view of what else might be catching fire.


Investigators later rule the fire to be a case of arson and offer a $5,000 reward for tips that lead to a conviction. A judge orders the mill’s shell demolished.

In October, the Office of State Fire Marshal detains a 13-year-old boy at the Long Creek Youth Center in connection with the fire, but he is released later. No charges are filed.

The four-story Greek revival-style Cowan Mill was built in 1850 on the site of a previous mill, which dated to 1836 and also was destroyed by fire. The remains of the later mill are demolished July 21.

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: jowen@mainetoday.com.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.