The Town That’s Been Waiting 100 Years for 2012

Here's a story that ran in the Oakland Tribune (and quite a few other papers) back in March 1912:


So 100 years has now elapsed. What happened to the money? Is it still there? Did it grow into millions of dollars? I'm curious to know.

Bowdoinham still has a 250th Anniversary Committee, so I guess I'll send them an email. I'll report back when I have more details.

Update: (Jan 13, 2012) I sent an email to the Bowdoinham Historical Committee trying to get more details and recently received this response:

the outcome of that story was that, yes, funding remained intact and has grown substantially after all these years.
There was $500.00 originally raised in 1912- mostly small donations of .25 here and there (it was a lot then!). It all added up. Remarkably, it stayed intact and is now being used to sponsor the many activities that Bowdoinham is planning in celebration during the coming year. You can read about it here:
 There will be some funds reserved and kept to seed future celebrations. We are very fortunate that members of our town had the foresight to do this for us!

So their 100-year plan was actually a success! They didn't reveal (at least, not to me) how much money their plan created, but a 1912 article in The Youth's Companion calculated that if they raised $400, they should have around $20,000 in 2012, assuming an interest rate of 4 percent. Since they raised $500, they should have a bit more than that. Enough to have a nice party, but not enough to make them all millionaires.

The Youth's Companion article also revealed that a box was buried in 1912 containing various curiosities, and it should be opened sometime this year:

In a sealed box, to be opened at the time of the celebration in 2012, were placed, among other things, letters from scores of those who contributed to the fund. Many of the letters were from Bowdoinham people, or the descendants of Bowdoinham people in other states or in foreign lands. In some cases the writers described the probable Bowdoinham of 2012 or the imagined conditions of life at that time. No doubt the letters will create much amusement when they are read a century from now.
     Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 01, 2012
     Category: Money | Parades and Festivals

I kind'a jumped around the slideshow on their site. Doesn't look like much has changed in the last century.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 01/01/12 at 08:52 AM
Does anyone think that the money survived past the stock market /banking crash of 1929? My grandfather had about 2.9 million dollars in the bank before the crash, After he felt lucky to have a farm and a tractor so that he could feed his family!
Posted by Tyrusguy on 01/01/12 at 09:21 PM
Dear Weird Universe,

Want to respond to Clay's questions about Bowdoinham, Maine's 250th Birthday and the fund that was established back in 1912. The few hundred dollars put in the bank back then has blossomed to more than $60K. We are required to use it for educational and charitable works as we celebrate the town's birthday every 100 years and return a certain percentage back to the account to grow for future use.

Check out "The 250th Birthday of Bowdoinham" Facebook page for (almost) daily updates on what's going on and how we are using the money.As we say in Maine ... it's "the Way Life Should Be".
Posted by mamabear11 on 03/19/12 at 09:41 PM
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