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Bangor Historical Society to honor local history lovers

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BANGOR – The Bangor Historical Society hosts its 155th Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner starting at 6 p.m. on March 15 at Hollywood Casino in Bangor.

This year the organization recognizes Stephen E. Burrill and Richard “Dick” Shaw as two individuals who have contributed significantly to the conservation and documentation of Bangor’s history. Burill will receive the Founding Fathers Preservation & Stewardship Award. Shaw will be honored with the Judge John E. Godfrey Witness to History Award. Both Burill and Shaw are the inaugural recipients of their respective awards.

Burill is the superintendent at Mt. Hope Cemetery, who have been community partners of the Bangor Historical Society since the late 1980’s. Founded in 1834, Mt. Hope is the second oldest garden cemetery in the United States. The Bangor Historical Society offers tours of these spacious, tranquil grounds from June to September each year. Burrill and his staff graciously accommodate the crowds of visitors looking to learn more about Mt. Hope’s dearly-departed residents. Burill, a third-generation administrator, became superintendent in 1992. The Burill family looks to keep the supervisory role at Mt. Hope Cemetery in the family, as Stephen’s daughter, Emily, has undertaken the training necessary to succeed her father when he retires.

“We like to support the community and feel that access to history is a big part of that,” said Burill. 

Shaw is widely considered the “unofficial historian” of Bangor. A Bangor native, Shaw has lived and worked in the city since graduating from the University of Maine in 1974. His work as an editor and feature writer at the Bangor Daily News provided a solid foundation for Shaw to write numerous articles and accounts of Bangor’s glory days of old. Shaw’s expansive body of work spans prolifically across all types of media. He has compiled eight photo histories for Acadia Publishing, hosted Brown Bag Lunch lectures and appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including the History Channel. Shaw also participates in historical re-enactments. Most notably, he portrayed slain gangster Al Brady in a 2007 recreation of the infamous October 12, 1937 shooting in downtown Bangor.

Shaw currently works at Bangor City Hall where he serves as the switchboard operator and in-house historian, who is more than happy to answer people’s questions about Bangor and its history.

Despite his many vast and varied contributions to Bangor’s history, Shaw remains humble: “I’m just a local guy who likes to write and tell stories,” says Shaw. ‘My roots are deep here, which is why I choose to call the Queen City home – snow storms and all. Its history will always inspire me.”

The 155th Bangor Historical Society Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner is presented by Hollywood Casino and is open to the public. For tickets or more information, please visit the BHS website at or find them on Facebook.


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