News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, February 18, 2021
Historical Society debuts stories of Christmases past

Holiday celebration

Annual Christmas party at the home of Arthur and Frances Goeckler on Main Street, Castine, c. 1950s.

Photo courtesy of Castine Historical Society

The Castine Historical Society’s mission is to preserve Castine’s history for the future. Since the Historical Society did not open its exhibits last year, the staff looked for new ways to present Castine’s history for locals and visitors, according to a news release.

Late last year, just in time for the holidays, the Historical Society hosted a free Zoom event. The evening was not only a chance for far-flung attendees to get together before the holidays, but also to hear about what life was like during Christmas in Castine during the 1950s. Guest speakers Don Small, Paul Gray, and Judith Sandven, all either Castine natives or very longtime residents, shared their memories about Castine Christmases.

Their stories, along with Christmas photographs from the Historical Society collection, were recorded and are now available for viewing on the Historical Society’s website. To view the recording, visit

Beginning in 1980, Historical Society volunteers began conducting oral history interviews. This continues through today thanks to the time, efforts, and talents of Castine Historical Society member and volunteer Ken Scheer.

Lisa Simpson Lutts, Executive Director, notes, “Our latest living history on Castine Christmases in the 1950s is great fun to watch. We thank our three speakers for sharing their memories, as well as Ken Scheer for finalizing the presentation so viewers can enjoy it.”

The Castine Historical Society seeks to invigorate Castine through collaborative exploration and stewardship of our region’s rich history, engaging residents and visitors of all ages in Castine’s extraordinary past and, through it, that of New England and North America.

The Historical Society’s Abbott School, featuring the exhibit gallery, gift shop, and a community meeting space at 17 School Street, Castine is currently closed to the public, but please check our website for 2021 season updates. For further information on the Castine Historical Society, or the online gift shop visit the website at or call 326-4118.