Palermo Historical Society Collection
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Credit: Milton Dowe home movies, Palermo Historical Society Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Farmers work to harvest hay, ca. 1930.
Credit: Excerpt from Milton Dowe home movies, Palermo Historical Society Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Alewife fishery on the Sheepscot River, ca. 1940s.
Primary Format and Extent
film (7,900 ft.) : si., b&w, col. ; 8 mm.
Collection Date Range
1930 - 1960
The Palermo Historical Society Collection depicts life in and around the rural town of Palermo, Maine, with production dates ranging from the 1930s to the 1960s, and contains a copy of "Things That I Remember," the memoir of Milton Dowe. While offering views of family life, this collection also provides invaluable records of community and work life in New England, with special attention given to nature and wildlife. The bulk of the films include footage of hunting trips, picnics, parties, family holidays, and camping adventures. Notably, one reel depicts men harvesting hay on a farm, and then provides an example of men working at an alewife fishery. Both processes are documented from start to finish. Footage also shows the process of ice harvesting. Films in the collection offer records of events such as the Palermo Sesquicentennial, the Branch-Grange 1939 Fair, a flood in 1940, and a blizzard in March 1946. The Collection also contains views of the prisoner of war camp at Seboomook, Maine. The camp, which housed German prisoners of war, closed in the spring of 1946.
Biographical/Historical Notes
The Palermo Historical Society was founded in 1994 with a mission to “preserve, record and disseminate the community history, enhance the sense of our culture and build on our reputation as a caring, help-thy-neighbor community.” The Society remains active, meeting on the fourth Tuesday of each month.

Manley Nelson and Milton Dowe were longtime neighbors and friends. They enjoyed traveling together and recording home movies while on their trips. Both men enjoyed hunting and exploring the Maine landscape. Manley Nelson ran a garage and served as a Palermo town official in various capacities. Milton Dowe ran the general store, which he inherited from his father (who also served as the Palermo Funeral Director for many years), and started the first Palermo Volunteer Fire Department. He privately printed "History Town of Palermo Incorporated 1804" in 1954 WorldCat and his memoir "Things That I Remember" was published by the Palermo Historical Society in 1997. WorldCat

Northeast Historic Film
The Collection is open for research.
Condition Governing Reproduction and Use
Authorization to reuse and/or reproduce must be obtained from Northeast Historic Film. See for more information.
Items in this collection: 60
Showing 1 - 10 of 60:
1) [Manley Nelson--home movies] Reel 1
Date from edge codes on film. // Note in can: 'Desert of Maine. Nelson family on vacation. Poland Spring House with golf. Fish hatchery (?). Branch Pond in fall foliage. Spirit of Maine...more
2) [Manley Nelson--home movies] Reel 30
Date from edge code on film. // Box label: 'Bar Harbor. Hunting 1961 or ?'more
3) [Milton Dowe—home movies] Reel 1
Intertitle: "Vacation Summer 1939. On the Machias River." 0- 2:47 Road sign sponsored by Washington County Chamber of Commerce: "You are now entering Washington County, the greatest h...more
4) [Milton Dowe—home movies] Reel 2
Intertitle: "Fire, 1938. Baker Farm" 14:02- 15:48 Shots of farmhouse fully engulfed in flames, flames shooting out windows, then smoldering ruins of burned out building with chimne...more
5) [Milton Dowe—home movies] Reel 3
25:07-26:07 Man on tractor with man with mowing blade behind working the tall hay in a field. 26:07- 29:29 Man with horse and raker in hay field gathering hay for making into bales....more
6) [Milton Dowe—home movies] Reel 4
Intertitle: "B.M.[Branch Mills] Grange Fair of 1938" 37:30-39.22 View of a horse pull at a county fair. The horses struggle to pull a large boulder. Several teams try, and their han...more
7) [Milton Dowe—home movies]  Reel 5
Intertitle: "Branch Mills Grange Fair 1939" 0- 3:50 Views of horse pull as horses struggle to pull large boulder at a traditional country fair. Various teams at work, with crowds of m...more
8) [Milton Dowe—home movies] Reel 6
Intertitle: "Remote Control: Reading an article one night about remote control, we decided to control our home by radio." 15:40-19:32 woman sits in a living room chair doing needlepoint...more
9) [Milton Dowe—home movies] Reel 7
29:49-30:10 Sign: "Waldo-Hancock Bridge 300 Feet" with arrow pointing direction, then LS pan of bridge from Waldo to Hancock side with hills in B/G, and village seen along the shore....more
10) [Milton Dowe—home movies] Reel 8
Intertitle: "Home Movies Presents 'The Flood' Spring of 1940" 49:12- 50:37 Views of rushing water on village streets, running down embankment by small bridge and into stream below, ru...more
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