Tuesday, August 30, 2022

First Tale of 2 Yachts in ME

These magnificent yachts are currently in two Belfast, ME, shipyards. Most photos are from online sources. Both vessels have long and fascinating histories. After seeing them during our July visit, I had to learn more about them and, of course, wanted to share those details. 

This post and a future one are/will be the results. I'm splitting into separate posts as both yachts have long-ish stories. For the record, I'm not necessarily a ship "fan." However, the backstory of both yachts interested me; perhaps, you will also appreciate reading of their storied pasts.
One of these yachts is now in much better shape than the other and ready to sail again.

It's the top one, Cangarda, which is not only one of three steam-powered yachts remaining in the world, the only American-built steam yacht. The other remaining steam yachts are: Medea, a 137-foot luxury steam yacht built in Scotland in 1904, now at the Maritime Museum in San Diego, CA. The oldest, Ena, built in 1900, is at the National Maritime Museum in Australia.

It's now awaiting new ownership as you will read about later. For the right price, you could become its eighth owner. 
Currently, it resides outside on boat stands and in boat wrap at the Front Street Shipyard in Belfast, ME. We toured the shipyard on an extensive (and free) tour.
Even covered up this yacht is an amazing sight. It's resided at the shipyard after completion of a refit (repairs and maintenance) a few years ago, shortly before the death of its last owner.

This yacht has survived infidelity, war service, service as a houseboat, a sinking, and capsizing on its first voyage after a multi-million dollar restoration. The health of several owners has played a role in the vessel's history as have the New England states of Massachusetts and Maine.
Online source: Naval Archive
126-foot long luxury steam yacht was built in 1901 at the Pusey & Jones Company in Wilmington, DE, a notable boatyard in operation from 1851 to 1960. The yacht had seven steam engines, weighed 125 tons and was the size of a small airliner.
The yacht was hauled from the water and moved into one of the Front Street shipyard's large sheds where it was stripped of its hull paint and repainted, fittings and systems were checked.
Online Source: Cangarda hull repaint at Front Street Shipyard

Online source: Cangarda inside Front Street Shipyard
You wouldn't suspect it from looking at this sleek yacht now, but after years of service at sea, on inland rivers and used in port as a houseboat, Cangarda sank in Boston Harbor (just the hull, details to follow). Rescued and restored, it was back in use as a private yacht, 6 years and $$$ later.

Here's the Backstory
Canfield & Gardner
It starts with owner no. 1, who was Charles J. Canfield, a successful Michigan lumber mogul. In 1901, and he and his wife, Belle Gardner, ordered a clipper-bowed yacht to be built. In just a few months, the steel-hulled yacht was ready, outfitted and christened with the first parts of the couple's last names. The yacht was luxury at sea and featured a deckhouse of Cuban mahogany, mahogany-paneled interior, four double staterooms (Tiffany skylight in the owner's) drawing room, dining room, and staterooms for the captain and engineer. 

Alas, the couple didn't own their yacht long term—marital infidelity came into play and divorce followed. Cangarda was sold as part of a settlement after Canfield reportedly was found in a compromising situation with a married woman onboard. According to one online story, it was his first and last cruise on the yacht.
Online source: George Fulford & Magedoma (prev. Cangarda)
Sold in 1904 for $100,000 to Canadian George Taylor Fulford, a wealthy businessman and member of the Senate of Canada, Cangarda was renamed, Magedoma after his wife and children (Mary, George, Dorothy, Martha) and docked in Brockville, Ontario.

Sadly, this ownership was also short lived at one year. At age 53, Fulford was killed in 1905, when his chauffeured open roadster was sideswiped by a streetcar at a blind intersection in Newton, MA. Ironically, he died in one of the first motor vehicle accidents in North America and was also the first Canadian to die in this way.

Despite his untimely death, the yacht stayed in the family. Mary Fulford, retained ownership until 1941, and the start of WWII when it was lent to the Royal Canadian Navy for use as a cadet navigation training vessel. In 1947, it was returned with a check for $13,000 (equal to about $173,000 today) as compensation for wear and tear incurred during naval service, but hardly enough to cover repair costs. 

Third Times the Charm?
D. Cameron Peck
Once again, the yacht was put up for sale and in 1951 was bought by D. Cameron Peck, a Chicago collector of vintage automobiles and yachts (price unknown). It was still berthed in Toronto, Peck gave the go-ahead to do whatever was necessary to fully restore the yacht, including its conversion from coal to an oil-fired boiler.

Once again, ownership of the yacht was short-term. 

In 1952, Peck convinced that he was suffering from a terminal disease (cancer) sold his vintage collection of over 1500 autos and boats, including the yacht. Problems with the IRS may have also been a contributing factor as some sources said that the sales were to hold off bankruptcy. Here's the twist, despite being sure he was dying soon, Peck moved to Arizona—where he overcame his health issues and lived 30 more years.

Here Comes Owners 4 and 5
Frederick Smith
In 1954, Frederick Burtis Smith of NYC and Miami, FL, bought the yacht (price unknown) reverting the yacht to its original name, Cangarda. Smith, the son of a wealthy attorney in Minneapolis MN, was an architect in NYC and socialized with the Rockefellers during the roaring 1920s. 

A life-long bachelor, he lived aboard boats for 60 years, racing his 104-foot motor-yacht off Miami's shores. After the purchase, he had Cangarda towed to Rochester, NY, moored it at a railroad dock and lived on board for the next 29 years. Smith did routine maintenance and while he kept Cangarda in decent shape, it still needed a full restoration and slowly fell into disrepair.

Smith was described as a retiring, very proper Edwardian gentleman, who always wore a tie and suit jacket, listened to classical music and read the New York Times on board. He was known to host dinner parties in the yacht's lavish living quarters which he decorated with antique furniture. Smith lived aboard Cangarda until he was in his 80's, and relocated to Rochester's University Club for the last years of his life. 
Online source:  Cangarda docked in Rochester, NY
Smith listed the yacht for sale at $150,000, plus a commitment that $750,000 would be spent on its restoration. It sold in 1983 to Richard Reedy who later said he made a deal to pay Smith $1,000 a month for the rest of his life. (Smith died in 1987, at age 86; the same age as the boat he had lived in for so long.)

Reedy of Gloucester, MA, began a major restoration and towed Cangarda to Boston Harbor where it was disassembled. As an amateur, he thought it would take $300,000, but costs piled up s new work surfaced. The wood panelling and other parts were stored in the Boston area. The main and auxiliary steam engines were dismantled and sent to England for refurbishment. (Aside from online sources citing Reedy as the owner who began restoration, there was scant details.)
Online sources: Cangarda hull capsized in Boston Harbor
Disaster struck in 1999 when Cangarda was nearly lost. 
After Reedy had spent $850,000 on the restoration and after making repairs to the hull, it was put back in the water which is when it sank in Boston Harbor. Reedy was unable to complete the restoration as his poor health had halted the project after 10 years. As dire as that sounds, remember that all of the yacht's engines and valuable woodwork had previously been removed and stored. 

In 2000, the Massachusetts Port Authority was set to scrap the sunken hull when Elizabeth Meyer, the so-called Savior of Classic Yachts, accepted Cangarda as a donation and became owner no. 6. At the time, she helmed J Class Management, a company started in 1998 to restore, preserve, document and manage classic yachts. She had the hull raised and had it stored at Fairhaven Shipyard Companies in MA (the state's largest boatyard), assembled the scattered parts and began looking for a buyer to undertake restoration; asking price—$500,000.

McNeil on Cangarda
Owner no. 7 came along in 2002, when Dr. Robert McNeil, a venture capitalist in Marin County, CA, bought Cangarda and retained Meyer's firm as consultants. He had very deep pockets, which were much needed to restore the yacht which was essentially a complete rebuild. According to McNeil: Sometimes it is not that people find boats but rather that the boat finds an owner. Most of this is not particularly rational . . . the bug”bit.  For some reason the idea of restoring Cangarda really sunk in.

(FYI this was not Robert McNeil, the Philadelphia chemist, who created Tylenol in 1955. It's also not Robert MacNeil, the Canadian-American journalist, writer and retired TV news anchor who partnered with Jim Lehrer on the The MacNeil/Lehrer Report.)

The hull was unsalvageable after the sinking, so a new one was designed using the latest in laser measurement equipment. In 2004, all of the interior woodworking was shipped on five flatbed trucks to Rutherford’s Boatshop in Richmond, CA, which was known for restoring classic yachts and specialists in marine woodworking The six-year, estimated $12 million restoration ended in 2010. The Victorian interior was reinstalled complete with the Cuban mahogany woodwork. The yacht had the coal-fired boiler switched to an automated diesel-fired system as McNeil planned to cruise Cangarda

Ready, Set, Launch (almost)
In August 2010, Cangarda was trailered to a launch ramp in Marina Bay, CA, as the first step in returning it to the East coast. After its dual masts were raised (stepped), the yacht was backed down the ramp. 
East Bay Times photo credit
WhoopsNear disaster as with its stern section afloat and the bow section on the trailer, Cangarda rolled over on its starboard side. The launch crew scrambled to back the trailer further down the ramp to let the bow float free and the ship righted itself, fully afloat in the water. Imagine being the owner and watching this drama play out. (Several onlookers captured this almost catastrophic event on videos available on YouTube with a search for Cangarda Launch. )

All was right after minor repairs were completed and after getting its Certificate of Inspection from the US Coast Guard, Cangarda left California and sailed throughout the U.S. and Canada for the next few years. 
Online source: Cangarda at Front Street Shipyard dock, Belfast, ME
Here's where there were some discrepancies and no specific date on when the yacht arrived in Belfast, ME. One online source gave it as 2015, another showed 2019, which is quite a difference. But, whatever the exact year, it's remained there ever since its retrofit was completed.

Why Still in ME?
If you've read this far, it's obvious that Cangarda has not only had quite an interesting 121-year history, but also multiple owners and other mishaps. That trend may continue. In July 2021, Dr. McNeil, the owner who invested heavily in its restoration, passed away from cancer at age 77 in Islesboro, ME; survived by three daughters and two siblings. 

Apparently, no family member will continue ownership of Cangarda. If you're in the market for a vintage luxury steam yacht, remember it's only one of three remaining in the world, check out this listing by the UK firm of Sandeman Yacht Company, Ltd.
Cangarda Listing, Sandeman Yacht Company, Ltd
Of course, inflation and restoration costs notwithstanding, the price tag is much higher than its original and later resale price — €4,500,000 ($4,574,700 USD) tax not paid. Anyone interested?

The story of the second yacht seen in Belfast, ME, during the same visit, will be posted about at a future date. Spoiler Alert: You may be as surprised as we were on that one's backstory.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Lighthouse & Airport Anniversary 🥂

Our 2022 anniversary getaway was fun and relaxing. Thanks to all for the well wishes. 

We opted to stay in state and chose a destination about 90 minutes away from Nashua, NH, at the Chesterfield Inn located in (guess where)—Chesterfield, NH.

Before our Sunday arrival at the inn, Saturday was spent at a lighthouse and Sunday breakfast was at an airport—both also in NH. 

On Saturday, Grenville and two fellow ham radio operators participated in the International Lighthouse weekend. During this annual event ham radio operators operate from lighthouses to connect with one another worldwide, usually on the third weekend in August. This year, the event's 25th anniversary coincided with our 23rd  anniversary weekend.
Advance permission was obtained to set up their equipment at Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse located at the U.S. Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor in New Castle, NH, at the entrance into Portsmouth Harbor. 
Portsmouth Lighthouse, NH
The 48-foot white conical Portsmouth Lighthouse was built in 1878. The lighthouse has been moved a number of times within the area and has been in its present position within the walls of Fort Constitution since 1906. It was painted a reddish-brownish color until 1902, when it was painted white. It has a 44-stair spiraling staircase and then a 7-rung ladder that leads to the top. Grenville and friends climbed to the top to set up antennas; however, I did not.
Fort Constitution view

The lighthouse is adjacent to a former British Revolutionary War fortification and 
overlooks the Piscataqua River and the Atlantic Ocean. Fort William and Mary (named after the king and queen of England) was later renamed to Fort Constitution after American forces gained control. In 1774, local patriots from the Portsmouth area overcame a six-man caretaker detachment and seized the garrison's powder. The incident is significant as one of the first overt acts of the American Revolutionary War, also the only battle to take place in NH.

Formerly the fort was open to visitors. It's not closed to all and visitors are not allowed inside the grounds. That's because the fort was deemed unsafe after a visitor was injured by falling bricks in June 2018. I climbed to just below the top of the lighthouse for this porthole view showing some of Fort Constitution for the only view I could get.

Because of its short ocean coastline, NH has fewer lighthouses (5) than most other New England states. Despite that low number, Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse was selected as one of five New England lighthouses for the USPS Forever Stamp collection in 2013.  

Sunday morning, we headed to our getaway destination, but first we went to the airport for breakfast. Yes, Nashua, NH, has an airport with a cafe and not one you would easily locate on a drive. Midfield Cafe is on a roadway that leads only to the Nashua Airport at Boire Field.
Breakfast at Midfield Cafe at the Nashua Airport
Only breakfast and lunch is served here and the menus here are classic diner comfort food with a few twists. Yes, that is ice cream on Grenville's pancakes à la mode. We've dined at this cafe many times, notably for my birthday a few years ago. The history of the airport and that celebration were posted in this 2018 birthday post
Chesterfield Inn B&B in Chesterfield, NH

Our final destination was the Chesterfield Inn bed and breakfast, a restored farmhouse that consists of a main building and cottages near the Connecticut River and the Vermont border. Unlike some other lodgings we have stayed at over the years, the inn doesn't have a long or storied history. While the owner's 
house, attached to the inn, was built in the early 1780s, the rest of the inn is not as old, originally built as sheds and barns dating to the early 1900s.
Anniversary sunset watching in Chesterfield, NH
There are several notable sites in this area. In October 2020, we took a day road trip to West Chesterfield, NH, and visited one of the most notable, Madame Sherri's Castle, also called Castle Sherri, and described in this earlier post.

Unfortunately the weather wasn't conducive for outdoor exploration during our stay with (much needed) late afternoon showers. We drove through part of Pisgah State Park, NH's largest state park, covering over 13,300 acres. We walked part of the 13-acre Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area, while the Wayside Trail is less than a mile long, we didn't bring hiking footwear this trip. 
Anniversary treat in Brattleboro, VT
Of course, for us, no celebration is complete without a treat and, as readers of this blog know, our preference is ice cream. We found these treats in nearby Brattleboro, VT.

We enjoyed a wonderful celebration getaway and, as always, look forward to the next one. That's coming up soon and involves a NH dinner train excursion.

This week, I'm catching up on your recent blog posts and preparing a post from our July Maine trip that includes a couple of historic vessels.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Friday Funnies (Early)

No, you're haven't missed a couple of days—I did—this post is 2 days early 🙄. It was to post on Friday before we left for our anniversary getaway. But, I forgot to pre-schedule post and it posted, today, Wednesday. So the weekend has started early — ENJOY !

These photos give a new slant on the hang ten — highway style?

Hang ten originated from the surfing culture to refer to the act of hanging all ten toes off the front of a long board while surfing a wave. As a current slang term, it's most often used to mean sitting around and doing whatever or nothing. A variant has also been associated with a form of mild curse or interjection, like: I'll be hanged before going out in that storm.

Online sources credit origin to an iconic gesture, the shaka hand—in which thumb and pinkie are extended, three middle fingers curled against the palm. The gesture, referred to as hang ten or hang loose, grew popular across Hawaii in the 1960s when a used car salesman, David “Lippy” Espinda, used it as to sign-off television ads. He would throw a shaka and say the catch phrase, shaka, brah!  It's believed the word is not Hawaiian in origin, but possibly Japanese.

I read, but can't verify, that some Hawaiians today use the term the same as hello, goodbye, thanks, cool or as a sign of appreciation

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
We're away in NH for our anniversary 🥂celebration🎉

Monday, August 15, 2022

At Home & Good News

At Home refers to where we've been the past few weeks in Nashua, NH, catching up and watching views like this from our apt LR window. The Good News is at the end of this post. 

From time to time, it's necessary to do a post like this to update things that have been posted about before to finish the story. Also, to show what's been happening at our home, even if small things. This is a catch-up post on several older ones and recent photos too.
Several recent posts focused on the week spent in Maine for Grenville's birthday including visits to the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory, Fort Knox, the L.L. Bean bootmobile and, our introduction to Maine's official soft drink, Moxie, which we've been enjoying at home. There's more to post from that visit, including a story of two famous boats, but that's later.

Like other places, there was a couple weeks of very hot weather. Temps in the mid 90s for a couple of weeks is so not New England summer. That said, the heat wave provided several colorful sunset skies like this one. Sometimes, sunsets are bland and without much detail. Other times, they are nothing short of spectacular and we marvel at views like this one.
Our 5th floor apt window faces the Nashua River, the highest view in the mill apts
We've stayed home since late July, but this coming weekend we're off on a short NH getaway for a special celebration—our 22nd 🥂 wedding anniversary. Some folks may recall that in 2020, we'd booked a Canadian rail trip with Rocky Mountaineer for our 20th. That excursion was scrapped due to you-know-what. It took forever, as in a very long time, to get the $3,100 trip deposit refunded. RM wouldn't issue a refund, only credit for future travel. The travel agency was no help, finally got the refund after filing a complaint and supporting information with the credit card company. Needless to say, there's no plans for a future RM trip or using that agency.

Both of these views are towards downtown Nashua, NH, from our apt
Despite the amazing views through our apt windows, we still like to getaway and with major travel plans on hold now, staying close to home is the plan. And, why not, since there's so much to see and do in New England. Fall colors are on the way, great for weekday escapes. 

There's no shortage of blog post topics, and I've actually have a backlog for a couple of reasons: not blogging daily plus spending more time to learn more about topics that interest me—maybe you as well. As readers of this blog know, I enjoy sharing lots of details.

Thanks for your comments on so many of my posts. While I don't reply in the blog, know that all comments are read and appreciated, even those who have taken me to task for errors.
Kayakers on the Nashua River as viewed from a 5th floor window
Speaking of window views, this past weekend, the second people-powered lighted boat parade of the summer season was held on the Nashua River. A lot of folks gathered river side as we did for a previous event in June. This time, the view from our 5th floor windows provided a better overall view of the estimated 50 boaters. As I no longer own any long-zoom digital camera equipment, these photos were taken with the 10X zoom of my now-older cell phone.
The boat parade started before dusk and ended an hour or so later
Boaters circled each of the two river fountains twice and then paddled under the Main Street bridge before turning around and heading back. The turnaround is because a hydroelectric facility and Jackson Mills dam just beyond the bridge prevent ny further river travel. 
The Dept. of Public Works maintains the plantings on Main Street in Nashua, NH
An earlier July post showed some of the seasonal plantings around downtown Nashua. This collage shows more of the plantings along Main Street. The top left photo shows Nashua City Hall.
Two of our fellow 5th floor residents handle the care of this pocket park garden
Flowers continue to thrive in the French Park (formal name Le Parc de Notre Renaissance Francaise), a pocket park along the Nashua River walk. We take this route regularly on after-dinner walks, temporarily suspended in the wake of oppressively hot weather. Following cooler temps that came in the past week, we've resumed these walks. The Canada goose families posted about in June have finally left the area and walkways are clearer now 😉
Just one of several community gardens in Nashua, NH
Nashua has several urban community gardens in eight neighborhoods throughout the city. This garden is downtown near the post office
Priority is given to Nashua families without sufficient access to fresh foods or a place to grow them. The gardens are in neighborhoods that qualify as food deserts (no fresh produce stores within walking distance). Participation is free. Vegetables are grown in raised beds Grow Nashua provides seeds, water, nutrients and planting education throughout the growing season. 
More lass and siding have been installed since these photos were taken
Work continues to move along on the Nashua Center for the Arts described in this June post with completion set before year-end. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago and, since then, windows and siding have been added. We're looking forward to attending performances in this venue, especially as it's within walking distance of the mill apartments, so no parking issues.

Finally, there's a good great for us update. It's about taxes or rather getting money back from taxes paid.

Earlier posts (April and late June) explained lamented that, like a lot of others, we were still waiting an income tax refund—on our 2020 filing. After many calls, in June we finally met with an IRS (Internal Revenue Service) agent, who reviewed the file. We were told to expect resolution within 12 weeks, towards the end of September and advised not re-contact IRS before then.

No follow-up is needed because late last week, Grenville received an email that our $3,300 refund had been processed and (ready) the check was in the mail. Interest is expected for the delay. The Catch-22 is that we'll get a 1099 form requiring it to be reported for 2022 tax filing.

That's it folks, a post with a lot of catching up and news of good things coming as well.

Looney Tunes©
FYI The origin of the phrase, that's all folks, comes from the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes cartoon series popular in the 1930s-1940s that featured cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and Elmer Fudd. Although it was usually Porky Pig who brought the Looney Tunes films to a close by stuttering the memorable phrase, Th-th-th-that's all folks! 

Bugs Bunny later replaced Porky Pig by bursting through a drum too, but munching on a carrot and saying, in a Bronx/Brooklyn accent, And Dat's De End!

Thursday, August 11, 2022

We've Got Moxie

Do you have it too?

In case you didn't know, the term derives from a soda named the official soft drink for the state of Maine in 2005. 

Who knew states had official drinks? 
In the U.S., the first known usage of declaring a specific beverage a "state beverage" began in 1965 when Ohio designated tomato juice as its official beverage. Milk is the most popular choice for a state beverage designation.

Forget about milk because  in Maine, there's only one celebrated drink — Moxie, a carbonated soda, and it's what fostered the slang word, moxie, synonymous with having spunk, pluck or verve.
Now, you know and, yes, the drink came first.

Having moxie is one thing, finding it can be a challenge depending on where you live now.

Years ago, you would have been in luck as Moxie was available in over 30 states and parts of Canada. In recent years it's almost exclusively sold in the New England states, especially Maine, where it gets the most love. There's even a Moxie museum and annual July festival devoted to the soda.

But, here's the thing, unlike other soft drinks, Moxie is an acquired taste. Many never develop a liking—folks either love or hate it (no in between). Diehard fans are said to have distinctively different taste buds.

As the saying goes when in Rome, so when in Maine it follows that Grenville and I, usually non-soda drinkers, were first timers who tasted Moxie on our recent Maine trip and—we liked it. So much, in fact, that once home, we were happy ecstatic at finding it on the shelves of two Nashua, NH, grocery stores. We bought the zero calorie diet version shown at the right. 

Like many other drinks and two most  popular ones, Coca-Cola (created in 1885 by Dr. John Pemberton) and Pepsi Cola (created in 1893 by pharmacist Caleb Davis Bradham). Moxie started as a medicinal cure for various ailments. (Most of this information was learned during visits to Coca-Cola's Atlanta, GA, birthplace in March and Pepsi's New Bern, NC in May.)
Delivery wagons at Moxie Nerve Food Company, Boston, MA
But, here's a twist most folks don't know — Moxie created in 1884 is older than both those colas. It was created in New England by a Maine-born physician. Not only that, it dominated the beverage market for decades through clever and extensive advertising, always called Moxie. Surprisingly, it's mostly a regional beverage now, one that many have never heard of before this post, so here goes all about Moxie.

It Started as Nerve Food
Dr. Augustin Thompson
The man responsible for Moxie was Augustin Thompson (1835-1903), born in Union, ME, and a wounded Civil War veteran who developed tuberculosis, which led to his discharge. Coincidentally, Pemberton, Coke's inventor, and Thompson were both injured military veterans. Pemberton was a Confederate soldier.) After the war, Thompson became a homeopathic physician. He specialized in natural remedies to improve health and well-being which contributed to the ingredients he included in the drink.

After graduating with honors from Hahnemann Homeopathic College in Philadelphia (now Drexel University School of Medicine), Thompson set up a medical practice in Lowell, MA, an important textile manufacturing hub. In 1867, he reportedly had one of the largest patient lists in New England and earned over $15,000 annually, a considerable sum then.

In 1876, like many others in those days, Dr. Thompson created a cure-all patent medicine that included
 the South American gentian root extract, cinchona, sassafras, caramel and flavoringsThis bitter root extract was reported to have medicinal qualities in use since the Roman era. 
His product was
 advertised as effective against: paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness, and insomnia and (ready or not)
 claimed to have cured drunkards by the thousands; made more homes happy; cured more nervous, prostrated, and overworked people. In 1884, Dr. Thompson marketed it as a soda fountain syrup: a delicious blend of bitter and sweet, a drink to satisfy everyone’s taste. (Detractors then and now may disagree.)

When carbonation was added in 1884, it was re-branded to “Moxie Nerve Food” sold as a soda fountain syrup and in quart bottles at 40 cents each. It was merchandised as an invigorating drink said to have been kept available by bartenders who dispensed it to customers too drunk to be given more alcohol.

About that Name 
According to a debunked folk legend, the product was named for a Lt. Moxie, who had discovered the secret ingredient plant root and used it to cure ills. This story was completely made-up and in reality, he never existed. More widely believed is that the name comes from a Native American word for “dark water” used by the Abenaki tribe that called Maine home.

In 1885, Thompson received a trade mark for Moxie, and soon released it as a carbonated beverage. Shortly after, his son, Francis, and Freeman N. Young, built the first Moxie Bottle Wagon, a horse-drawn four-wheel cart with an eight-foot model of a Moxie bottle on the back. Moxie Bottle Wagons became one of Moxie’s chief advertising gimmicks in the first half of the 20th century and toured eastern cities. The drivers called Moxie Men handed out aluminum tokens good for one Moxie. Later replicas were pulled by trucks.
An early Moxie Bottle Wagon
The drink's high point came in the early 1900s when many American cities had a large Moxie billboard and sides of buildings with the Moxie logo painted on. It was a marketing blitz with Moxie songs, celebrity endorsements, a game, and candy. Popular at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, it became the nation’s favorite soft drink. 
Moxie, which long claimed there was no medicine, poison, stimulant, or alcohol in its makeup, removed nerve from its labels and was simply called Moxie. After passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 unmasked the patent medicine industry, makers had to put active ingredients on product labels. There could no longer be claims for a medical cure-all. Buyers learned how many "medicines" had alcohol, cocaine, or opium. Companies changed formulas or shut down completely. 
Moxie survived as one of the patent medicines that made the transition to another consumer product, the soft drink. The brand worked to keep its name as the original distinctively different drink. Imagine a soda now that claims it's wholesome, as Moxie did in the early above ad.

In 1911, its still current product identifier, the Moxie Boy, first appeared in ads yet was never officially named. In recent years, a historical group, The Moxie Congress, has identified him as John T. Chamberlain of Revere, MA, an employee of the lithographer, who posed for the ad and became forever famous. 

The ad with piercing eyes and a pointing finger was and still remains striking, so much, that after its introduction, storekeepers found that posting it near displays of fruits and vegetables could reduce pilferage. Over the years, this very identifiable company logo has appeared in different colors and styles. In 2011, it was removed from labels as executives considered it old-fashioned. It was a short-lived removal as it was revived after complaints from long-standing Moxie customers who are very loyal to the beverage.

According to Moxie lore (and perhaps only that) the pointing Moxie Boy was the inspiration behind this iconic WWI recruiting poster with the fierce finger-pointing depiction of Uncle Sam. There's no proof to that assertion. American illustrator James Montgomery Flagg created the I Want YOU image for a July 1916 issue of Leslie’s Weekly magazine and it was later adopted by the U.S. Army for a recruiting poster. 

Flagg was known to draw upon the work of other artists for his art. This one was uncannily similar to one that British artist Alfred Leete drew in 1914 of war hero Lord Kitchener wagging his finger to draw recruits.

What is completely true is that the Moxie Horsemobile, a horse car (you read right) became one of the most famous mobile advertising devices in America starting in 1915 or 1916. The first model was a full-size car with a live horse mounted on the rear. The vehicle was top-heavy and difficult to maneuver and was redesigned with a papier-mâché and later aluminum dummy horse mounted on a modified car chassis, usually a Buick, LaSalle or Rolls Royce. 
Moxie Horsemobile in 1920
By 1918, some two dozen mobile Horsemobiles were being driven in parades and other public functions. Drivers controlled the car's speed and steering with specially designed pedals and extensions. Quite expectedly, crowds followed everywhere it went. Today, Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln, NH, currently has a modified 1929 LaSalle, the world’s only surviving original Moxie Horsemobile on display. It's definitely on a future roadside stop for us.
The now defunct Moxieland manufacturing plant, Roxbury, MA
The drink has always been a New England staple. From 1928 through 1953, Moxie was bottled in Moxieland, a huge manufacturing and distribution facility in Roxbury, MA, near Boston, MA. It featured an advertisement on the roof along with an arrow pointing in the direction of Logan Airport. The Boston Housing Authority demolished the factory to build a housing development.

Even though Moxie was first popular only in New England, aggressive marketing in the 1920s, pushed its sales ahead of rival Coca-Cola. No doubt helped by popular personalities like George M. Cohan, and Ed Wynn who endorsed and promoted it. Its popularity produced advertising jingles such as Make Mine Moxie!  and the slogan Just Make It Moxie for Me. 

U.S. President Calvin Coolidge was known to favor the drink. In 1923, President Warren Harding suffered a heart attack and died in San Francisco during a western speaking tour. Vice President Coolidge was visiting family in Plymouth, VT; after his notary father, swore him in as President, he's said to have celebrated with a cold glass of Moxie.
Red Sox baseball player Ted Williams was a Moxie spokesperson
Sports personalities also endorsed Moxie, none more than Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams who served as its spokesperson on radio and in print. The popular outfielder had his likeness on a bottle of Moxie. Author E. B. White, an adopted Mainer, was another notable fan.
Thanks to this widespread advertising, the Moxie name became synonymous with courage, daring or determination. During war years, the company sort of went patriotic, exhorting, What this county needs is plenty of Moxie. Of course, it was a slick advertising gimmick. Soldiers and civilians were urged to use the invigorating taste of Moxie to: overcome enemy threats, endure air raids, till victory gardens, and collect scrap metal to support the war effort.

All things come to an end and so in the 1960s, the company was on a decline as merely a regional New England product. In 1962, its fortunes were briefly revived by Mad Magazine, which placed Moxie logos on pages. Moxie sales increased by 10 percent. Financial problems continued to plague the company as it kept getting bought and sold over the following decades.

Up tol August 2018, Moxie was produced by the Moxie Beverage Company of Bedford, NH, but  was ironically purchased by the Coca-Cola Company that year. Luckily for us and other fans, the brand’s production and bottling operations remain in NH.

Moxie remains regionally popular, particularly in New England, but also in Pennsylvania, and some other places in the northeastern U.S. Today its ingredients include carbonated water, gentian root extractives (less than 2%), natural and artificial flavors, caramel color and additives.

As noted earlier, it's celebrated in Maine, especially in Union, birthplace of Dr. Thompson, where a Moxie museum houses a 30-foot high wooden bottle of Moxie. The museum is in an annex to the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage. Of course, this place is on our list for a future road trip. 

Unfortunately, we missed out on All things Moxie annual festival that began in 1982 and is held in Lisbon Falls, ME. The three-day festival falls on the second weekend in July and was held on during our Maine visit. We missed it due to a conflicting ham radio event in Brunswick, ME, which included another Maine favorite, lobstah. There's always next year for the festival.

Yes, there's a Moxie ice cream seasonally available in Maine in limited quantities. It's taste is said to be milder in flavor than the soda. No, we haven't tried it—yet, but we will one day

Cooks have used Moxie as an additive for its savory-sweet flavor profile. It's often used in reductions as a glaze for meats. Many folks add it to New England baked beans. We're going to find alternative uses in the kitchen too. Of course, any good ones will be posted.

Wondering what Moxie tastes like?
It's definitely an acquired taste described by some like: tastes like root beer, cola and coffee mixed together; sort of tastes like a root beer, but one gone bad; tastes like a flat root bear and cola mixed with medicine; tastes like licorice. 

Although we're still undecided on how to best describe its unique taste, we lean more towards an unusual root beer flavor with licorice.

Admittedly, this has been a very long-ish post. But, after trying this completely new to us, I became very intrigued by the backstory. Per my usual style, I've shared with all of you and now you knowthe rest of the story (a nod to  the late radio commentator Paul Harvey).

Your Turn—Have you ever tried Moxie? 
If so, what did you like or not about its taste?