Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Did You Know?

Did you know Westbrook High School's nickname, the Blue Blazes, refers to the timber industry's use of blue paint to mark trees as a way to manage forests?

It does not, in other words, refer to the common use of blue blazes to mark hiking trails. Nor does it refer to the tragic raid on an illegal whiskey production facility in the Blue Blazes region of Maryland's Catoctin Mountain in 1929.

Which is too bad because the Westbrook Moonshiners as a nickname for the nickname does have a nice ring to it.

(Update: In his essay on Scarborough's referendum question regarding its high school nickname (sorry, the link has expired), PPH sports columnist Steve Solloway opens with the backstories for a couple unique Maine mascots, including the Paper City's Blue Blazes: "The Blue Blazes are named for the mark put on trees by agents of King George III in the forest surrounding Westbrook. Only the tallest and straightest pines, suitable for ships' masts in the Royal Navy, got the blue blaze.")

- John C.L. Morgan

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