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Pink Chimneys from the book by Ardeana Hamlin

Local historians do not mention the house on Oak Street called Pink Chimneys where sexual secrets were kept. There is no mention of the events that led Fanny Hogan to become Joshua Stetson's notorious mistress.

If Maude Webber, the midwife, left a diary giving accounts of her personal association with Pink Chimneys and its occupants, it has not been found.

Nor are there any letters from Abner Giddings, the master mariner, addressed to Elizabeth Emerson, the seamstress at Pink Chimneys.

You will not find their graves at Mount Hope Cemetery. Nor will you find Pink Chimneys sitting behind the green discretion of a cedar hedge. The house no longer stands.

Some say the house had blue chimneys. Some say it never existed. Others say the women whose lives were affected by the events at Pink Chimneys aren't worth including in any brick-and-mortar local history.

But the ghosts of the past are persistent. Eventually, they find a voice and tell their story.

This was the prologue of Pink Chimneys, 30th Anniversary Edition by Ardeana Hamlin. The now-classic book set in nineteenth-century Bangor, Maine tells the stories of three young women: Maude, a headstrong midwife; Fanny, the rags-to-riches housemistress of the infamous Pink Chimneys brothel; and Elizabeth, an orphaned, demure seamstress. They are linked together by blood and birth, the trying daily tasks of being a woman, their common strength, and the brothel Pink Chimneys in the center of it all. Its universal themes of love, coming-of-age, feminism, sex, and marriage have resonated far beyond its original 1987 publication date.

Ardeana Hamlin grew up in Bingham, Maine, in the 1950s and 1960s, in the days of the river drives, the veneer mill, and the woods operations. Her work at a family planning clinic in the 1970s and interest in Maine history brought her to the writing of Pink Chimneys. After getting much acclaim for her first novel, she went on to write a sequel twenty-four years later titled Abbott's Reach, published by Islandport Press. The Havener Sisters, the sequel to Abbott's Reach was also published by Islandport in 2015.

Photo by Kevin Bennett

Pink Chimneys is available from Islandport Press, online book retailers nationwide, or from your favorite local bookstore.

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Created with images by zappowbang - "soft" • cocoparisienne - "texture handwriting sütterlin" • Taylor McCafferty • Jack.Flanagan - "Sea foam" • Kevin Bennett • Islandport Press

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