Eight photos from the ’50s that show that August in Maine hasn’t changed much over the years

August. Long, muggy days. Long, muggy nights. Half the people at work are on vacation, so not much gets done. The kids are going stir crazy. In Maine, we all do the summer things we wait all year for: seafood. Swimming. Visiting people. Hanging out in the backyard. Doing a lot of nothing.

Things have changed a lot for Maine over the years, but surprisingly, a lot of things have stayed the same. Here’s eight photos from the BDN archives that prove that point.

First off: lobster. Obviously.



More than 1,000 gathered at the University of Maine campus in 1954 for an al fresco party, which was the climax of the summer session social season. Enjoying a lobster feast during their first visit to Maine were Mrs. Byron Callaway, 2-year-old daughter Cindy Alice, and Dr. Callaway, a University of Georgia faculty member who was on the summer staff at UMaine. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY SPIKE WEBB)

Swimming, too. Though can you imagine swimming in the fountain in Cascade Park in Bangor today? Yikes.



“Wish you were here.” That’s what Charles “Skipper” Welch (left), 4 1/2, of Orono, seems to be saying to Mainers who had been broiled, fried, sizzled and baked during a hot spell in August of 1953. Enjoying the cool ripples of the runway at Cascade Park in Bangor with Skipper” was his sister Sharon, 2 1/2. (Bangor Daily News Photo by Paul Marcoux)

Playing horseshoes, or cornhole, or other backyard games is a thing too. Though we allow women to play today, thankfully.



A field of 40 horseshoe pitchers took part in the Maine championships in August 1952 at the Eastco Club courts in South Brewer. It was the largest field ever to participate in a Maine horseshoe tournament. Among the contenders participating in this Bangor Daily News Photo taken by Danny Maher (from left); Thomas Barker, Portland; Roland Boudreault, Lewiston; Merrill Barnes, Bangor, former Maine champion; Thurlow Lord, Hermon; Bob Golightly, Bangor; and Charles Gerrish of Kittery, defending titlist who won the event when he defeated Barnes, 54-38.

We go to the movies, too, though, sadly, not very often at places as fabulous as the old Bijou Theatre on Exchange Street in Bangor, which was torn down in the early 1970s.



That the fame and popularity of Walt Disney’s little deer “Bambi” remains undimmed through the years, and lives constantly in the hearts of those of all ages, was clearly indicated at the Bijou theatre on a Monday in 1957 where a new production on the antics of the little fellow is being shown. This is a cross-section of the crowds that waited on Exchange Street for a chance to get into the theatre. BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY CARROLL HALL.

Ice cream is DEFINITELY still a thing. One wonders, however, what the “World of Mirth” is.



Ice cream cones appear to be strictly secondary with these Bangor people as they watched the World of Mirth cargo unload at the Maine Central Railroad yards in August 1954. Looking on from their grandstand seats on Main Street are (from left) Chester Lee, Jeffrey Todd, Linda St. Peter, Cherel St. Peter, Mrs. Chester Lee and Terry Lee. (Bangor Daily News File Photo by Paul Marcoux)

Some things, however, have fallen by the wayside. I, for one, would love to bring the Fancy Dress Parade back. For adults, this time. Late night in downtown Bangor, methinks.



No, a circus didn’t suddenly put in an appearance on a summer day in Bangor in 1955. The children were the prize winners at the fancy dress parade at Fifth Street Playground: (from left) Joan Jackson, Gerry Lynch, Sharon Dauphinee, Jimmy O’Connor, Jean Mixer and Ronnie Jackson. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY SPIKE WEBB)

We definitely go visit friends. Maybe not famous friends, but friends nonetheless.



The islands and rugged coastline of Blue Hill Bay are described by Samuel Taylor, Maine playwright, right, to composer Richard Rodgers. Both men are collaborating on a new musical comedy at Taylor’s summer home.  BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY CARROLL HALL

And, of course, the traffic — regardless of whether it’s the 1950s, the 1980s or today. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Waldo Hancock Bridge.JPG


Traffic came to a standstill on the Waldo-Hancock bridge over the Penobscot River in August 1982. The structure has since been replaced by the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY JIM VERRILL)



Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, UMaine graduate, proud Bangorian and a writer and editor for Bangor Metro Magazine, the Weekly and the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food to all the cool things going on in the Greater Bangor area. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra. She's interested in everything that happens in Maine. Albums for review are accepted digitally only; please no CDs.