History of the Cane:
The Boston Post Cane tradition was established in 1909 by Edwin Grozier, Editor and Publisher of the Boston Post Newspaper. On August 2, 1909 in letters sent to 700 Boards of Selectmen of towns in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, Grozier asked them to be trustees of the 700 ebony, gold topped canes that he had contracted to be made during the previous year. A special cane was then presented to the governing authority in 431 towns in New England who responded to the letter, to be presented as an honor to each town’s oldest resident. The recipient held the honor as long as he/she lived within the town’s boundaries.
Upon his or her death (or relocation outside of the municipality) the cane would be awarded to the next oldest resident. A stipulation in the letter was that the original Cane would belong to the town and not the citizen who received it in order to provide for the preservation and public awareness of the tradition. To provide for preservation and public awareness of the tradition and protection of the cane from loss or damage, the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen hereby establish the following protocol for the selection of the Eldest KENNEBUNKPORT Citizen who is the rightful holder of said title and for the appropriate recognition of said citizen.
The Town Clerk will place a notice in the local newspaper, and other locations where official noticeds are posted within town, when a search is underway for Kennebunkport's eldest citizen. The holder of the Cane shall be at least 90 years old and must have resided in the Town of KENNEBUNKPORT for at least the past 20 years. If a situation arises where these conditions cannot be met, the Board of Selectmen may modify this requirement by a majority vote at a scheduled and advertised meeting.
The term ‘resident’ refers to a person who has physically resided at a fixed, permanent and principal home in the town and whose name has appeared within town records.
The Board of Selectmen recognizes that numerous individuals establish residency in our town late in life. Therefore, the determination of who the eldest citizen is shall be confirmed by supporting documents received through the nomination process. Furthermore, the Board of Selectmen recognizes that the eldest citizen may not wish to receive the title and therefore asserts that in such cases; the recognition will be made to the next eldest citizen that wishes to hold the title.
Presentation of the Cane:
A member of the Board of Selectmen or his/her designee, a member of the Historical Society and the Town Clerk as witness shall bestow the title of “Eldest Citizen” upon the selectee and present him/her with a replica cane and certificate signifying the honor and shall cause the name of the honoree to be inscribed on a plaque to be displayed at town hall.
The location of the presentation will be determined according to the circumstances of the honoree.
The recipient will retain this honor and the cane as long as the individual lives even though another resident may become eligible. The Town Clerk’s Office must be notified if the recipient of the Boston Post Cane dies or otherwise refuses or returns the honor. At that time, the Town Clerk shall determine the new oldest resident of Town of KENNEBUNKPORT.
For complete guidelines and eligibility, please view the policy approved by the Board of Selectmen. /town-clerk/files/boston-post-cane-policy