Connie Madeira, holding the Boston Post cane, is joined by her daughter Tanny Clark, right, and her granddaughter Christyne Madeira and great-granddaughter Ella Madeira at a lunch last Thursday at Neighborhood House, where she was honored as Mount Desert’s oldest resident. Ella is the youngest of Connie Madeira’s 13 great-grandchildren, but another is on the way. PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

Madeira honored as oldest resident

MOUNT DESERT — Long-time Northeast Harbor resident Connie Madeira is the latest recipient of the town’s Boston Post cane, signifying her status as Mount Desert’s oldest resident. She is 97.

Town Manager Durlin Lunt presented the cane to Madeira last Thursday at the Community Café, the public lunch that Neighborhood House hosts twice a month from October through May.

Madeira grew up in New Jersey and later lived in Boston. Her family often spent several weeks in the summer at the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor. In 1930, at the age of 12, she took part in her first Hayward Cup sailing race, an annual event of the Northeast Harbor Fleet.

The dock at the Asticou was the center for summertime boating activities in those days. Madeira recalled that the land that is now the town’s marina was “swampy,” with no buildings and no large docks.

“It had one little float that was barely floating,” she said.

As a teenager, Madeira and her friends enjoyed watching movies at the theater on Main Street.

“We would go sit in the balcony with our feet up on the railing and be obnoxious, I’m sure,” she said with a chuckle.

She continued to spend part of every summer in Northeast Harbor and then became a year-round resident in 1978. Her community involvement has included serving on the board of the Mount Desert Nursing Association. She also has been a strong supporter of the Island Housing Trust.

The tradition of presenting the Boston Post cane to the town’s oldest resident began in 1909 when the publisher of that newspaper sent gold-headed ebony canes to the boards of selectmen in 700 New England towns with the request that the canes be entrusted to their oldest male citizens. Eligibility was extended to women in 1930. Once the person holding the cane dies or moves away, the cane is passed along to the next oldest resident.

Some towns continue the tradition with replica canes, but Mount Desert’s is one of the originals.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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