Friday, September 01, 2006

What's that big Indian next to 295?

Who's asking: My dad and Claire

Just above exit 17 on Maine's 295, at the south end of Freeport, is a giant wooden Indian that seems unconnected to anything around it. Calling it a giant wooden native American would be pointless; this thing is a relic from the days when native Americans in the movies said "How," and Americans believed that all American Indians wore big feather headdresses.

You can see a picture of him here, although the comments on that site are not entirely correct. The Big Freeport Indian ("BFI" or "Bill," to those of us who know him personally) stands more than 50 feet tall, and belongs to a company called Winter People, which sells corporate-branded clothing and accessories.

The Winter People inherited the BFI from a clothing store called Levinsky's, which inherited him from the Casco Bay Trading Company. The Casco Bay Trading Company was a gift shop/general store that catered to tourists, and they put the BFI up in the 1960s as a way of getting people to stop and shop. People still stop to look at the Indian. I'm always glad to see him at the end of a long trip, because it means I'm only 35 miles from home.

My Dad and my daughter, Claire, are both visiting this week, and we're all driving up to Montreal today to deliver Claire back to school. Six hours in a car together will be an adventure. Watch the news for reports of international incidents along the Vermont-Quebec border.

Between the company and other work, I've read very little this week, although I'm working my way through the backlists of four authors whose panel I'll be moderating at Bouchercon: Linda Barnes, Robert Dugoni, Lise McClendon, and Christopher Reich. If you're at B'con and awake at 9:00 on Friday morning, check it out.


Anonymous said...

Hoorayy! I am glad to see your blog back. Have fun in

Jennifer Lechner said...

YAY! So glad to have you back (not that I don't talk to you everyday anyway). Most of us, at least the crass folk, believe the "F" in BFI stands for something other than Freeport.

Running from my House said...

I'm going to ditto the "F" in BFI, i've also heard it called FBI. I give directions to my house based on it!

welcome back to blog land!

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

Phew. You're back. My days can once again have continuity. Welcome back, it's awesome that you're back in the cyber-saddle.

Say, here's a related question to the big Indian one: what chowderhead in the Maine Department of Public Works got it into his head to change the numbers on the exits a couple years ago?! For years upon years the first exit was named exit one, and the exit that followed immediately after that was exit two. And you can imagine the sequence that followed.

And then about two years ago the state, in the middle of the night, replaced the former exits with numbers derived by how many miles they are from the state line (or some other formula.) So, now, the-exit-formerly-known-as-seven has become forty-one. It's not good. So maybe some day you could explain that.

ericmsdw2005 said...

If it's not too personal, why does Claire go to school in Montreal?

AnswerGirl said...

Claire goes to McGill because a) she wanted to and b) she is a soooooper genius and got in.

The explanation I have heard for the highway renumbering in Maine has to do with the automation of our 911 system, which is also why my street address changed earlier this year. If anyone knows more about it, feel free to post it here.