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By mo.labrie


My name is Maurice (Mo) Labrie and I'm the person that started the Goat Island Project. I was born in Laconia, New Hampshire but my family moved to Dover in 1962, when I was 16. I went to UNH, got a degree in Electrical Engineering and spent most of my working career at GE's Meter Business in Somersworth. I took early retirement in 2001 and drove my wife crazy for a few years before I started to get interested in following up on some stories friends had told me years ago. I've always been fascinated by history and there's a lot of it in this part of the US. The history I got curious about didn't seem to be written down anywhere; it only seemed to surface late at night, after card games and the like, when people a little older than me got sufficiently drunk. I'd hear about 'The Bin' out on Goat Island and the Antarctic expedition during the International Geophysical Year, about the folks who worked on the island who died young or went crazy and about the winter of 1961/62 when, after a lot of activity on the island, everything got packed up and all that was left behind was rubble.

The more I thought about it, the more curious I got. I started nosing around, talking to old-timers and ran into a couple other people who shared my interest. It didn't go much beyond wild stories for a while, but the wild stories were oddly consistent; after a bit, what seemed to be suppressed history started to emerge. We worked along, then, a year or so ago I ran into John Pittman on the street in Portsmouth. John worked at GE in the nineties and early whatever we're calling them - the naughts? He was in I.S. (Information Systems); we didn't have a lot of contact until he got put in charge of the network, but he'd always seemed OK. We compared post-GE notes and he was really interested in what our group was, by then, referring to as the Goat Island Project. We got together a couple more times to talk and we both came up with the idea of putting the information we had about this period in seacoast history out on the internet. Finally, he got this web site up and running and here we are. It's exciting and pretty intimidating to realize that we now need to start writing up interview notes, scanning the few documents we've found, etc. and making things available. Will anyone even notice? Who knows - but John says that nothing ever really disappears from the internet, so even if no one cares now, maybe a generation from now it'll do a real historian some good.

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