By JENNIFER K. BAUER
Many people have shared lore of their own with tour guide Garry Bush over his years of leading historical tours of downtown Lewiston.
Sometimes these stories hint at a scandal. Others sound far-fetched, but if they were true they would be worth knowing.
Lewiston historian Steven Branting has had the same experience, and the two have joined forces to research the stories they have heard. Their talk, “Scandals, Skeletons and Other Suspicious Stories,” happening Wednesday at Lindsay Creek Vineyards in Lewiston, presents their findings.
“We don’t talk about stories we can’t verify,” Branting said.
Some of the stories add chapters to local history that is already well-known, such as the story of Mary, the elephant that was killed on Main Street after escaping from a circus visiting Lewiston.
Everybody may know Mary’s story, but do they know why the crowd was so bloodthirsty and that police had to use fire hoses to control the people gathered? Bush asked.
Other stories are not as commonly known, such as the fact that the Port of Wilma near Clarkston is the combined first names of William F. Kettenbach Jr. and his wife Mary Jane, and that Kettenbach was looking at a five-year federal prison term for timber fraud before he was pardoned in 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson, said Branting.
There are other tales that lead to the discovery of a grain of truth or something bigger. When it comes to history, Branting likes to repeat a quote by Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer, “The facts are always less than what really happened.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Scandals, Skeletons and Other Suspicious Stories”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 13
WHERE: Lindsay Creek Vineyards, 3107 Powers Ave., Lewiston
COST: Free but space is limited. Food and drink will be for sale. For reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (208) 816-0049.