Queen Elizabeth II, 89, made headlines Wednesday by becoming the longest reigning monarch in the history of Great Britain, as well as the longest reigning female monarch in recorded world history.
By reaching 63 years, 7 months and change on the throne, she surpassed her great-great grandmother, the 19th century Queen Victoria, for the longevity title.
The still-popular Queen Elizabeth II has never made a state visit to Maine, although her mother — Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother — visited Campobello at the invitation of the Roosevelt family in 1967, according to author Will Swift.
Maine has changed a tremendous amount during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
The following represents a snapshot of Maine in 1953, the year her official coronation took place:
- Post-World War II migrations sent Maine’s urban populations to their highest peaks. The populations of Portland and Lewiston hit historical highs of around 78,000 and 41,000 residents, respectively. Bangor was beginning to climb toward its population apex of nearly 39,000 people, a number the Queen City would reach at the 1960 Census. The statewide population was just more than 900,000 — lower than it is today — meaning that urban centers carried an even greater percentage of the populace.
- The first color televisions went for sale (costing more than $1,000 apiece).
- Maine had three U.S. House seats, which were held by Republicans Robert Hale, Charles P. Nelson and Clifford G. McIntire. That represented a reduction from two decades earlier, when Maine had four House seats, which are allocated based on relative state populations. (Maine actually had eight House districts between 1833-1843, if you’re curious.)
- The Ellsworth boys’ team won the first of back-to-back state high school basketball championships, beating Rumford 60-45. There was only one class of competition in high school basketball at the time, and girls’ team championships only go back to 1975.
- Bob Crowley — who would grow up to be the oldest ever winner of the hit CBS reality show competition “Survivor,” and the only Mainer to ever do so — turned 2 years old.
- The average home price was $17,400, average income was about $4,011. A car would cost you between $1,500-$2,500, a postage stamp was 3 cents and gas was 22 cents per gallon.
- U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Carl Holden, a native son of Bangor, died. Holden served in both World Wars, surviving the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor and later going on to oversee U.S. Navy forces occupying Germany after the Allied victory in World War II.
- The Maine Supreme Judicial Court threw out an alleged violation of Lewiston city ordinance by the Maine State Fair Association, which was accused of using the local track for harness racing for financial gain without a permit. The association had been fined $5 for the offense.
- Portland television station WCSH — with the call letters standing for Congress Square Hotel, its home location — went on the air for the first time. (Southern Maine’s other local stations, WMTW and the predecessor to WGME, came on-line the following year.)