THE BOSTON POST CANE GUIDELINES
The Boston Post Cane tradition was established in 1909 by the Boston Post Newspaper. A special cane was presented to the Board of Selectmen in 431 towns in New England, to be presented as an honor to each town’s oldest resident. The recipient held the honor as long as he/she lived (or moved from the town). Upon his or her death (or move) the cane would be awarded to the next oldest resident.
The Cane would belong to the town and not the resident who received it.
To provide for preservation and public awareness of the tradition and protection of the cane from loss or damage, the Town of Scarborough will establish a protocol and definition for Scarborough’s oldest resident.
Eligibility and Selection
The holder of the Cane must be 90 years old or older and must reside in the Town of Scarborough for a minimum of the last 20 years.
The term "resident" refers to a person who has physically resided at a fixed, permanent and principal home in the town.
Recognizing that numerous individuals establish residency in Scarborough’s nursing homes late in life but otherwise may not be engaged as residents of the Town of Scarborough and recognizing that the Town has no formal means of identifying residents by age, selection of the honoree shall be by a Committee of three. The Committee will consist of the Town Clerk, a representative of the Scarborough Historical Society and a representative of the Scarborough Lions Club.
Method to Search for Oldest Resident
There shall be a notice placed in the media looking for nominations for those residents who are 90 years old or older and have been a resident of Scarborough for a minimum of the last 20 years. All nominations must be received in the Town Clerk’s Office 30 days from the date of the posting of the notice in the media. The search may also include an informal survey, general public knowledge, and inquiries to nursing homes, civic groups, and churches or by nomination from family or friends. A nomination form may be obtained from the Town Clerk’s Office or online at www.scarborough.me.us.
The Chair of the Scarborough Town Council or his/her designee shall present Scarborough’s oldest resident with a plaque and lapel pin, donated by the Scarborough Lions Club, signifying the honor and shall cause the name of the honoree to be inscribed on a plaque to be displayed along with the original Boston Post Cane at the Scarborough Town Hall, as well as a picture of the recipient and a brief biography. There shall also be certificates awarded honoring those residents who are 90 years old or older and meet the residency requirements.
The location of the presentation will be determined according to the circumstances of the honoree.
The recipient will retain this honor as long as he/she remains in Scarborough even though another resident may become eligible. The Town Clerk’s Office must be notified if the recipient of the Boston Post Cane dies, changes residency outside the Town of Scarborough, is in rehabilitation for longer than 90 days or otherwise refuses or returns the honor. At that time the Committee of three shall determine the new oldest resident of Scarborough.
If the decision is made to no longer display the Boston Post Cane at the Town Hall, it would be placed in the custody of the Scarborough Historical Society.
We wish to thank John Lewis and Scarborough High School for allowing us to use photographs from a guided tour of Scarborough historical sites: Scarborough History Map and Sites.