The photographs I’m sharing today were all taken by Stephen Moore Johnson who lived in the Josiah Linscott House on Pearl Street next door to Tory Chimneys. I have shared his 1970s pictures before. He donated tons of prints and negatives to the Kennebunkport Historical Society in 1993. Johnson worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for 31 years and earned the Career Intelligence Medal for exceptional achievement in 1973. He had already retired to Kennebunkport before our own George H. W. Bush became Director of the CIA.
Take a snowy walk around Kennebunkport with Steve in January 1974. Temperatures fell below zero here 6 times that month with a low of -13 on January 18th. Maybe you were skiing at Mt. Agamenticus that day or reading the very first issue ever of Salt Magazine, which had just dropped on January 1st. If you had picked up a local newspaper at the news stand instead, you might be reading about the bait shortage at Cape Porpoise. The price of lobster bait went from $9 to $11 a barrel, overnight.
In National news, the gas shortage was responsible for skyrocketing gas prices of nearly 50 cents a gallon. On January 19, 1974, Maine became the 31st State to ratify The Equal Rights Amendment. Richard Milhouse Nixon was still President of the United States, but his future was in question. Technical experts had just revealed that the 18.5-minute gap on one of Nixon’s Watergate tapes was the result of at least 5 separate deliberate erasures. He resigned 7 months later.
I know some of you were here then. Maybe you were walking by Stephen Johnson as he focused his camera in Dock Square. Make these pictures even more meaningful to future generations. What do you remember about that winter?