Monday, February 23, 2009
Chamberlain Freedom Park
On a replica of Gettysburg’s Little Round Top at the corner of State and North Main streets in Brewer, stands a bronze statue of Col. Joshua Chamberlain, who commanded the 20th Maine volunteers and on July 2, 1863 successfully defended the flank of the Union army from an intense confederate barrage. Sculptors Glenn and Diane Hines of Houlton created a conception of the man who may have very well preserved the union. Out of ammunition and surrounded by the dead and dying, Chamberlain had one option. He called for the 20th Maine to fix bayonets and in an incredible display of daring and courage, charged the advancing confederate brigade and so confused the rebels that they surrendered. The day was saved and the next day, the confederate attempt to break the middle of the union army failed. That was the turning point of the Civil War. Chamberlain Freedom Park was made possible by Brian Higgins, past president of the Brewer Historical Society and Representative Dick Campbell who on Veterans day in 1997 saw their labors come to fruition. When the Maine DOT razed the home of abolitionist John Holyoke for the new bridge, Higgins and Campbell started a national campaign to raise funds. A plaque recognizes their contribution in the design and historical designation of the site. In 2002, the Hines’ created another bronze of an escaped slave climbing out of a tunnel believed to be part of the “underground railroad”, an escape route from the south to Canada. The statue called “North to Freedom” is meant as a tribute to those who traveled to freedom and to those who risked their lives to help them. The Brewer Historical Society is entrusted to maintain the park and receive income from a series of advertising signs at the base of the hill. To all those who created and maintain this tribute to freedom, we are deeply grateful.