Last week the Coastal Journal took a look back at our biggest stories of the 2017. Now, it’s the readers’ turn.

Well, sort of.

This year held a lot of changes for the Coastal Journal on the digital front as we launched our brand-new website midway through the year, giving us greater ability to share stories. Our readers seemed to welcome that innovation, given almost every one of the Facebook posts on this list occurred after our website debuted.

Here are the Coastal Journal’s top Facebook posts of 2017.

No. 1: The fire that consumed Southgate

A fire at Southgate Restaurant on Sept. 27 destroyed the interior of the building, leading to the restaurants closing. Staff photo by Raye Leonard

Far-and-away the story that grabbed the most attention was the fire that hit Southgate restaurant in Bath on Sept. 27. Our post, complete with photo of the fire as it happened, reached 41,500 people, and had over 1,000 reactions. Chief among those reactions, unsurprisingly, was the “sad” expression, as people lamented the loss.

Hundreds of people also commented on the story, with many reminiscing about breakfasts past, the days when it used to be a house, and more.

No. 2: Brunswick and Bath getting new breweries

Our story on Philip Welsh and Matthea Daughtry’s efforts top open a brewery, in addition to news about Bath Brewing Company, captured everyone’s attention. Chris Chase - Coastal Journal Staff

The one certainty when it comes to social media is that anything about a new brewery is probably going to get attention. Turns out, people like beer. Who knew?

Our story on two new breweries coming soon to Brunswick (Moderation Brewing) and Bath (Bath Brewing Company) on Aug. 31 reached 22,471 people. Of the 378 reactions to the post, 349 of them were likes. Also, strangely, one person was angry about it. Perhaps they don’t like beer.

No. 3: Bath Brewing Company set to open

Sean Ireland shows where the Brite Tanks – which store beer – will be located in the future bar at Bath Brewing Company back in October. Staff photo by Chris Chase

Remember what we just said about people liking beer?

A more detailed look at Bath Brewing Company a few months on Oct. 12 also got lots of attention on Facebook. It reached 15,745 people, and obtained nearly 497 likes.

No one was angry about it this time, however.

No. 4: Southgate benefit dinner

Just days after the Southgate fire occurred, fellow restaurateurs organized a benefit dinner for the owners and staff of the restaurant. We did a story on Sept. 28 on the upcoming event and the people organizing it, reaching 14,081 people.

It also received the most “love” reactions of any story we posted all year, which shows how people feel about people helping people in the Midcoast.

No. 5: Storm photo from ‘The Great Wind’

The storm that occurred in Oct. 31 is already in the record books, and it certainly captured the attention of people in the Midcoast.

A fallen tree on Middle Road in Woolwich was a typical sight after the October storm. Photo by Tamara Lilly

A photo taken by Tamara Lilly, the Coastal Journal’s Stage Door Diva, of a tree down on Middle Road in Woolwich reached 10,853 people, and was commented on and shared widely. It also garnered the most “wow” reactions of any of our posts, with 197.

No. 6: Spirit of the Sea fountain reopens

Perhaps it was the children playing that made this post popular. However, make sure you don’t actually play in the new pond, it’s not for swimming. Staff photo by Chris Chase

Sometimes things just happen to work out perfectly. When reporter Chris Chase needed to get photos on June 22 of the newly-opened fountain in City Park at Patten Free Library, there just so happened to be children playing in it, and the photo snagged reader’s attention.

Come to find out, people really shouldn’t be swimming in the pond. Whoops. Regardless, the post reached 10,293 people.

No. 7: Spirit of the Sea fountain flows again

Our video of the fountain turned back on for the first time on June 8 also grabbed attention, reached 9,984 people, and was viewed thousands of times.

This story also had the most “like” reactions, with 581. Interestingly, one person was “sad” about it. Perhaps they preferred the old pond?

No. 8: Closed Route 1 at Cook’s Corner, both ways

Despite being relatively simple, this post was shared quite a bit.

This is another bit of our coverage of The Great Wind, and the post on Oct. 30 was literally just the text “CLOSED Route 1 at Cook’s Corner, both ways.”

We were doing our best to keep people informed of road closures, warming centers, and whatever could be helpful as the Midcoast recovered from the storm, and this post was just one part of that. For some reason, this one alone blew up, and reached 8,881 people.

No. 9: Sad update on Bath traffic incident

This story broke the news that a traffic incident on Aug. 2 between two vehicles at the intersection of the Leeman Highway and Middle Street led to one fatality, after one occupant (who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt) was thrown from the vehicle.

This fatal two-car crash in Bath was our ninth highest post. Staff photo by Chris Chase

The story reached 8,281 people

No. 10: A shared link to a story on Bowdoin College

This was the only post in the top 10 that we didn’t produce ourselves.

It also is the only post in our top 10 that occurred before our website went live.

Coincidence? Almost certainly.

Still, our link to a Town and Country Magazine story about Bowdoin College being the best college in the country on April 3 reached 8,806 people, the majority of which were thrilled to see Brunswick’s Bowdoin College get some national attention.

Thanks to getting our new website halfway through the year, we were able to connect with readers in all new ways in 2017. Now that we’ve got a few months of using it under our belt, expect to see even more interesting goings on in the Midcoast in 2018.

Maybe this year we’ll finally breach 50,000 ‘reach?’ Only one way to find out!