One of the great aspects of a local historical society is that the members and volunteers can support the mission by pursuing their own historical interests. For example, through the nearly 40-year history of the current version of the Castine Historical Society, a series of energetic volunteers have sat down with a tape recorded or video camera to interview Castine residents. Gardiner Gregory interviewed people around 1980 and Lois Cyr typed the abstracts. Phil Perkins and others did audio interviews in the 1990s. Another ambitious effort conducted by Carole Barnard, Paul Gray and others took place from 2002-2007. The result is a rich archive of informal oral history ranging from Eva Thombs in 1979 to Phil Perkins in 1999 and Ann Miller in 2011.
Ken Scheer, a summer resident of Castine with his wife Ruth, is now retired from a practice of obstetrics and gynecology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and from the faculty of Harvard Medical School. He devotes time and energy year-round to video recording and editing “living history” for the Castine Historical Society archives. His interviewees range from graduates of Castine schools to founders of the Yacht Club to trained historians. The Society provides the equipment and Ken does the rest, entirely as a volunteer project. He has captured and edited 14 interviews and several historical talks, which are all available via the website.
To view a video, please press the “play” icon on the video. To play the video in full screen, simply click on the “four arrows” icon on the bottom right hand corner of the entry. Please contact us at (207) 326-4118, or via email at email@example.com if you have a suggestion for additional people to be interviewed.
Snippets from interviews in 2012 with long-term Castiners Kate Robinson, Frank Kneisel, Richard Hale, Jim Rogers, and John Gardner
Goggy Witham, Don Small, Judith Sandven, and Mary Bartlett vividly recall the school system in Castine in the 1940’s and 1950’s, including classmates and teachers.
Leland Bowden was born, raised, and schooled in Castine and tells very charming and colorful stories of the town’s characters of the ‘30’s and ‘40’s.
John Gardner, an accomplished sailor and artist, spent his childhood in Castine in the 1930’s and returned to stay in the 1970’s. Interesting tales of each era are combined with a comparison of those times.
Mike Gillette grew up summers in the big yellow house on Main Street and has interesting memories of the young people of Castine in the 1950’s, as well as nostalgic family stories.
Richard Hale’s family history spans 200 years of presence in Castine and he shares recollections ranging from sea captains to manual laborers during that time.
Robert Hall was born, raised, and schooled in Castine and tells very charming and colorful stories of the town’s characters of the the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Frank Kneisel, despite degrees from Yale and Harvard, considers his finest educational experience the one he spent at the Castine High School. His family has a great musical tradition in the Penobscot Bay area.
Claudia Marshall was a young girl with extensive family connections when she was growing up on Main Street in Castine in the 1950’s.
Ann Miller was part of the influx of distinguished families of clergy who populated Castine in the 20th century. She has been a major contributor to the town’s organizations in many civic roles (Preservation, Historical Society, and Yacht Club among others).
Bill Murtagh, previous owner of the Abbott School, now home to the Castine Historical Society exhibits, is one of the world’s leading preservationists. He discusses the Castine Historical Society from that viewpoint.
Kate Robinson recounts the histories of several 20th century Castine families, including the Parsons, Goodwins, Robinsons, and Austins. She was intimately involved in the sport of sailing in Castine in the latter half of the century.
The Rogers family’s Castine origins go back to the middle of the 19th century. Prior to his distinguished career in education, his 1940’s memories of the town and his family are illuminating.
Doris Russell has been an integral part of Castine for over 50 years, and shares many anecdotes and, as wife of the town’s revered doctor, interesting observations on medical care over the years.
Paul Gray and Don Pierce are lifelong part-time and full-time residents of Castine with distinguished careers in education and medicine at major national institutions. They share their memories of growing up in the town prior to the middle of the 20th century with descriptions of commerce, personalities, town governance, and life in general.
The families of sisters Liz Parish and Brooke Tenney and their husbands John Parish and Gil Tenney span several generations of Castine residents going back to the early part of the 20th century, giving them a unique perspective on the evolution of the town during that time.