By Kyle Hadyniak


Hello readers,

Your usual columnist, Tyler, is out gallivanting across Europe. I wish him many merry adventures as he takes one last pre-parenthood trip before he and his wife welcome their first child.

So instead, you get literally — scientifically, even — the second-best thing: me, Tyler’s twin, Kyle.

Now, I don’t live in Freedom anymore. My wife and I live in the Big City – at least, a big city compared to Freedom! Nestled just north of Portland, Gray may not qualify as “country living,” but I like to think it strikes a good balance. We have rolling fields and strong internet. I can walk to a Dunkin’ Donuts but still stop by a farmers market. It’s a great place to live, but alas, Freedom will always hold a special place in my heart.

Being out in the Big City means I don’t have my ear to the ground regarding Freedom news, but I do have one news item to share with you: The Freedom Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 6, at 7 p.m. at the Freedom Town Office to review an application by the Lost Kitchen to expand the use of its on-site cabins to overnight use.

While I still have your rapt attention, let me take this opportunity to teach you a bit about what happened this week in Maine history. First, here’s a trivia question. Daniel F. Davis, the 37th governor of Maine, was born in Freedom in 1843. Which years was he governor? The answer will be at the end of this column.

Anyway, did you know that on July 3, 1847 — 53 years after Freedom was first settled and only 34 years after it was incorporated — then-President James K. Polk visited Augusta as part of a brief tour of Maine? Presidential visits to our state don’t happen every day (Polk’s was the first of about 20 presidential visits to our state), so you can imagine how excited Mainers were at the time. In his public addresses, Polk stressed the importance of preserving the Union, a weighty topic in the years leading to the Civil War.

Lastly, did you know that on July 4, 1866, Mainers experienced a horrendous fire in Portland? The blaze destroyed almost 2,000 buildings and killed four people. For those who were alive back then, this fire was surely one of those “Where were you when…?” moments. Most of Portland was destroyed, and since the city was a growing, bustling place at the time, it was quite a blow to the state.

OK, I hope you gleaned some useful knowledge after reading this column. Just watch: One day, you will be in a situation where you need to know who the first president was to visit Maine, or exactly how devastating the Portland fire in 1866 was. So, in advance, you’re welcome.

Oh, and the answer is 1880-1881. He lost reelection by 0.11% of the vote.