Mapleton Lions celebrate 65 years

2 years ago

MAPLETON,  Maine – The Mapleton Lions Club celebrated its 65th charter anniversary on Oct. 8.

In September 1957, a group of residents from Mapleton, Chapman and Castle Hill came together for the purpose of improving everyday living in these three towns. 

With the help and sponsorship of the Presque Isle Lions Club, the Mapleton Lions Club was chartered.  Over these many years, the club has been the leading social service club in the tri-town area.

The Mapleton Lions Club celebrated its 65th charter anniversary on Oct. 8. Members attending included, from left, front: Past President Lloyd Archer, President Richard Fowler, Lion Wes Buck, Past President Ron Leonard, Lion Paul Grendell, Past President and current Treasurer Dennis Hoffses and Lion Ron Pelletier. Back row, Lion Walter Scott, Past President and current Secretary Terry Sandusky, Lion Matt McCartney, Lion Tim Graham and Lion Frank Richards.
(Courtesy of Terry Sandusky)

Maine Lions District Governor Sally Iverson attended the recent celebration dinner and congratulated the club on 65 years of community service.  She reminded everyone of the Lions Clubs International slogan, “We Serve.”  

She went on to thank the Mapleton club for their important and needed service to the three towns.  The club’s invitation to her and husband Past District Governor Neil Iverson was most appreciated and they have always enjoyed visiting the club to learn about its next big project, she said.

Early in the club’s history, its first major project was the construction of the Mapleton swimming pool and later updating and renovation. 

The pool construction came about after the accidental drowning of a youth in a farm pool used by towns’ kids for summer swimming.  The club wanted to make sure every youngster in the three towns learned to swim and for that reason the pool was made available to kids and their families at no charge.

A second major project was the start of the Mapleton Little League program.  Under the leadership and management of Lion Owen Estey and his wife Joanne, the club started Little League nearly 50 years ago.  

During this time, the winning teams began celebrating their wins by going to The Shanty for ice cream, which was owned by Lion Dale McHatten and his wife.  The Little League continued as a club project until the towns decided to create a community recreation service by adding Little League to their swimming pool program.  

Club members became unhappy when they saw the glass-encased veteran memorial cabinet in front of the Mapleton Elementary School was significantly damaged by snow from the passing snowplows.  After some discussion, the group decided to erect a permanent granite memorial away from Main Street, as well as to host the annual Memorial Day Parade and Remembrance Ceremony.  

These annual activities have continued for more than 30 years.  Even during the pandemic, the parade was cancelled, but the Memorial Day Remembrance was held by the club members.

The club met in the Mapleton Community Hall. The Knights of Pythias Lodge that also met there disbanded 25 years ago. The Lions and offered to take ownership of the hall and operate for the benefit of the three towns by paying the back taxes on the hall. Stakeholders greed and ownership changed.  

The club significantly renovated the hall and now rents it to families and organizations. It is free for school events and special fundraising for individuals with significant medical treatment needs.

Without charge, the hall has been the headquarters of Mapleton Daze and the summer recreation program. 

In 2010, the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest was in jeopardy of closing down.  Through a partnership between the club and the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce, the Balloon Fest was rebooted and expanded. The club now underwrites the festival, which has expanded. The development came with the understanding the Balloon Fest would be family-oriented with no admission charge.  

The Northern Maine Fair Association asked the club to run the food booth formerly known as the Paddock Grill.  In 2021, the Lions renamed it to the Mapleton Lions Den and offered fair visitors a range of their favorite fair food items.  That year food had to be re-ordered twice before the fair closed.

This year the club will make a substantial donation to the Quoggy Jo Ski Center. They  also purchased a winter pool cover for the Mapleton pool, to keep it clean and protect it from the winter weather.   

Over these 65 years, the Mapleton Lions Club has met many community and personal needs for the residents of the three towns through its fundraising efforts and volunteer time. 

  Drive-thru fundraiser

This Saturday, Oct. 22, the West Chapman Advent Church will  hold their Harvest Supper drive-thru starting at 4:30 p.m. 

The menu will consist of ham or turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash or peas, water or soda.  Everyone is welcome.

Terry Sandusky is the Star-Herald correspondent for Mapleton, Chapman and Castle Hill and can be reached at 764-4916 or at