The roaring 20’s were an exciting time in the United States and Calais was no exception. The decade brought us bath tub gin; cars as long as small ocean liners; flappers-modern girls who voted, smoked, drank and danced in outfits which gave their parents fits and the beauty contest.
Even Christmas cards of the day featured women dressed in the style of the times
and Calais women were not to be outdone by those in the big cities thanks to the Unobskey’s Clothing Store which always carried the latest fashions for the women of the St. Croix Valley. The fashionably dressed Calais lady in the 1925 photo above is directly across the street from Unobskey’s in front of the building which became Harvey Studios.
Probably quite a few flappers joined the rest of the community in packing the Calais Opera House in early November 1926 in anticipation of the selection of “Miss Calais” from six local girls. The winner was to represent Calais at the Miss Maine contest in Portland. The contestants were judged, according the Advertiser, on general beauty, personality, poise and social charm.
Little controversy arose when Eunice Greenlaw was chosen to represent Calais in the state contest. The paper says the judges’ decision was greeted with “wild applause” by the packed house.
Eunice graduated from Calais Academy in 1925. According to Dr. Miner, whose memory remained very sharp even at 100, Eunice, her parents and two sisters lived on the River Road near the golf course.
Her father was a barber. Shown above is the Greenlaw hairdressing shop at the intersection of Main Street and Hog Alley. Barbers often advertised themselves as “hairdressers” in the those days although their customers were almost exclusively men. This building was at the very tip of Triangle Park, to the right is the library. Eunice was one of Dr. Miner’s sister Elizabeth’s best friends and spent a lot of time in the Miner house at 7 Church St., now owned by Dr. Karen Delaney. Dr. Miner says Eunice was “pleasant, bright and pretty.”
She wasn’t shy, competing in the Calais Academy public speaking contest as a junior and she played on a truly awful girl’s basketball team in 1925 which lost its first game 22-4 and didn’t improve much over the season. Above is a photo of the team although we can’t positively identify Eunice.
The morning after being selected Miss Calais she and Miss Eastport boarded the train at Calais for Portland. They arrived Friday evening, had photographs taken and attended the Miss Portland contest. On Saturday they visited the Exposition Building, shopped and dined at the Elks club with the judges and other contestants before proceeding to the Portland Expo which was packed with 10,000 people.
The judges included Florebelle Fairbanks, shown above, niece of Douglas Fairbanks and aspiring actress in her own right. The publicity director for United Artists movie studios was also on hand. If the Advertiser is to be believed it took the judges almost no time to unanimously declare Miss Greenlaw the winner to an audience which again “went wild” at the announcement. The next few days were a whirlwind of public appearances and shopping at the most expensive stores in Portland where the Advertiser reports “it was not necessary even once to pull out her dainty purse to tender a bill in payment.” Flowers and telegrams of congratulation poured in from Calais. United Artists offered her a screen test which Miss Fairbanks predicted would have a favorable outcome and Eunice was offered a contract by a theater company.
Eunice’s return to Calais was no less exciting. The photograph shows her just after her arrival at the railroad station on Hog Alley. The driver is James Hornbrook, father of Sonny and John Hornbrook, who was then chauffeur for the Eatons. She was met by a large crowd including the Calais Band and taken to a reception held in her honor that evening at the Opera House.
The St Croix Courier wrote:
Miss Calais Wins Miss Maine Title
Portland, Nov. 14—A new beauty star has arisen in the Pine Tree State. Eighteen-year-old Eunice Greenlaw, pride of the city of Calais, now holds undisputed possession of the title Miss Maine.
A group of five judges headed by Florebelle Fairbanks the lovely niece of Douglas Fairbanks, who is rapidly carrying the Fairbanks name to new laurels in the motion picture field, chose Miss Greenlaw from a field of seven contestants Saturday evening as a feature of the closing night of the Maine in the Market, the mammoth exposition of Harold T. Andrews Post, American Legion.
A huge bouquet of chrysanthemums, the gift of Harold T. Andrews Post tied with red, white and blue gauze was presented to Miss Calais as soon as it was announced that she had captured the title.
Soon thereafter Eunice Greenlaw disappeared from Calais history. There is no evidence she actually made it in the movies. About 1930 when Dr Miner was attending Harvard, he was invited to lunch with Eunice and her husband near Boston. He couldn’t recall her married name but does recall she was not working because “she didn’t need to.”