Presidential sightings Down East discussed at historical society

Mac Smith

TREMONT —A visit from the President of the United States always generates excitement. In Maine, perhaps part of that excitement stems from the fact that presidents rarely visit the state – only 18 of the 46 presidents have visited Maine in the nation’s 244-year history. Many of these visits came at significant points in a presidency; and some visits had controversy, conflict and ironic twists.  

Mac Smith, author and former reporter for the Bar Harbor Times, will be this year’s speaker for the Tremont Historical Society at 7 p.m. Monday, July 25, in the Harvey Kelley Room in the Tremont Town Office.  

Smith will briefly cover all the presidential visits to the state, highlighting appearances on Mount Desert Island from Ulysses S. Grant, Chester A. Arthur, William Howard Taft, Barack Obama and William Henry Harrison, whose trip to the island was the most socially controversial visit to Maine made by a sitting president. 

Each of Maine’s presidential visits left behind great stories and a detailed view of Maine’s lively history, which are all documented in Smith’s most recent book “Maine’s Hail to the Chief: A History of Presidential Visits to the Pine Tree State,” which will be available for sale and signing following the program. 

A Navy veteran of the first Gulf War, Smith lives in Stockton Springs in the village of Sandy Point. He is also the author of “Mainers on the Titanic,” “Peyton Place Comes Home to Maine: The Making of the Iconic Film” and “Siege at the State House.”  His fifth book, “Disaster at the Bar Harbor Ferry,” about the collapse of the ferry pier in Hancock in 1899, is due to be released in September through Down East Books. 

Historical society members are encouraged to come and the public is welcome. There will be a brief business meeting before the program and refreshments will be served. 

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