Closed 1/30-2/9

Due to the anticipated snowstorm, Freeport Historical Society’s headquarters at 45 Main Street will be closed Friday, January 31st.

We will also be closed the week of February 2nd for rennovations as we remodel our exhibit space.

We will reopen Tuesday, February 10th, as usual.

Follow Mildred Pettengill’s Year on Twitter

Throughout 2015, Freeport Historical Society will be offering you the chance to step back in time and live a year in the life of Mildred Pettengill, the last resident of Pettengill Farm, which is owned and managed by FHS.  Among the artifacts FHS received from the estate of Mildred Pettengill were several diaries, which record interesting details about her life in the early-mid 20th century.

Every day, Freeport Historical Society will be Tweeting (from @Miss_Pettengill) an entry from Mildred’s 1921 diary.  The Tweets will be augmented with photographs and other historic material from the Pettengill Family Collection at FHS, and annotated with historic details.  The diary entries, with annotations, are also view-able on the FHS website.

We’d love to hear what you make of this venture.  Feel free to get in touch.

New Office Manager – Welcome Rebecca!

The newest addition to the Freeport Historical Society team is Rebecca McNulty, who came on-board in December as our new Office Manager.  Rebecca will be the first point of contact for visitors and volunteers alike.  With a few weeks’ experience at FHS under her belt, she’s already beginning to make herself indispensable!  Stop by some time and say hi.

Rebecca lives in Wiscasset with her partner, Andrea Ellis, and their three house rabbits. She was the coordinator at the Brunswick Jung Center for six years. She has a BA in Religion and Theater from Wells College and an MFA in Drama from UConn, where she specialized in puppet, mask and shadow theater. She is currently working on a toy theater film called “Carnival of the Harvest Moon.” Rebecca also directs Dragon’s Eye Adventures, a summer mystery program for children. The adventures she writes tap into her love of history, myth and art. Those same interests brought her to the Freeport historical Society, where she hopes to share her skills in support of the intriguing work the society is doing.

11/17 – Rough Ridin': The History of Roads in Freeport (note new date/time)

“Greatly incumbered by stumps and roots of interlocking trees and so wet and miry… that it is with great difficulty passable and is very hazardous” – Freeport’s early roads make even the 21st century’s frost-heave-plagued highways seem idyllic. Join Freeport Historical Society for an illustrated presentation by Collections Manager Holly Hurd on the development of Freeport’s early byways. The talk will take place at Freeport Community Library, November 17 at 7:00 p.m.

Because of the expense and difficulty of laying out roads through heavily-treed wilderness areas, the Harraseeket River served as Freeport’s first “highway,” and early settlers traveled from place to place in watercraft as much as possible. A remnant of the “river as road” is evident in the nautical terminology used by an 18th century Mast Landing resident, who described his local road as an “impediment and embarrassing of navigation.” The appearance and improvement of roads in Freeport followed settlement patterns and economic development. The first road was laid out in 1739 as a county road that formed the main artery for travel between towns. Other roads developed as pathways of commerce and as feeders into the inter-town system. Roads were improved over time or became dormant as needs and local areas of settlement shifted. This talk will explore the evolution of roads in Freeport over time with an emphasis on maps and other historic documents describing the roads and the experiences of early settlers. The program will focus on the important roads that have shaped Freeport, including stagecoach routes, the King’s Highway, and the Boston Post Road of the 18th century.

Holly Hurd has been Collections Manager at Freeport Historical Society since December 2013. She holds an M.A. in American and New England Studies from the University of Southern Maine with a specialty in Early American. A resident of North Yarmouth, she has been a volunteer, board member and researcher for North Yarmouth Historical Society for many years. She is co-author of an “Images of America” book on North Yarmouth and a book on Congregational Church History.

The event accompanies Freeport Historical Society’s current exhibit, You Can Get There From Here: How Transportation Defined Freeport, which is on display at FHS headquarters at 45 Main Street in Freeport Tuesday-Friday, 9-4 through the New Year.

Admission is free for FHS members, $5 for non-members. The event is made possible by grants from Norway Savings Bank and the Maine Humanities Council.

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New Leadership at FHS

As of September 15, 2014, Freeport Historical Society will be led by James Myall as its executive director.

Christina White

Outgoing Executive Director Christina White

When outgoing director Christina White was appointed to lead FHS in 2008, the Board of Trustees gave her one major goal: Take a solidly-established Freeport organization and expose it more broadly to more people. As we say farewell to Christina after six years of exemplary management and leadership, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for a job very well done!

As a result of Christina’s talent, diligence, and graciousness, Freeport Historical Society now stands on a firm foundation of community goodwill, financial stability, and strong visibility in Freeport and beyond. Our public program attendance, business sponsorships, and strategic relationships with key individuals, craft specialists, and programming organizations throughout New England have all increased under Christina’s capable leadership. Visitors to downtown Freeport and the Wolfe’s Neck areas now read about the town’s significant heritage on interpretive signs installed as a result of Christina’s grant writing skill and clear vision. The structural stability of the saltbox at Pettengill Farm has been assured and the grounds of Harrington House enhanced as a result of Christina’s unique ability to share her vision and encourage excitement in others.

Christina’s unique ability to forge partnerships has been a gift to our organization. Freeport Historical Society enjoys strong links with Freeport’s town government, business and civic organizations, public, and private schools. In 2015, we will celebrate four decades of Pettengill Farm stewardship with an original dramatic presentation in conjunction with the Freeport Community Players. The vintage baseball games at Pettengill Farm these past several years resulted from Christina’s desire to highlight Freeport’s significant history as a baseball town. Under Christina’s guidance, the largest grant received by Freeport Historical Society in recent years was used to assess, analyze and plan for our substantial collections. Discussions were initiated with historic groups in surrounding communities about regional needs which resulted in a conversation a common facility for proper archival storage of records and artifacts.

The good news is that Christina will remain connected to Freeport Historical Society as a special consultant on our key strategic focus, enhancing programming and access to Pettengill Farm. Her continuing association will help us realize Pettengill’s ultimate potential in fulfillment of Freeport Historical Society’s mission.

There is no aspect of Freeport Historical Society that has not benefitted from Christina White’s masterful touch. As we turn over the helm to incoming Executive Director James Myall, we do so knowing we are stronger and better organization as a result of Christina’s time with us. Thank you Christina!

James Myall

Incoming Executive Director James Myall

James Myall is a native of Great Britain and has lived in the U.S. since 2009. Myall has served as Director of the Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine for the past four years. “James was the unanimous choice of the search committee and we are really looking forward to working with him,” says Bill Muldoon, president of the Freport Historical Society Board of Trustees. “FHS has a focused and exceptionally capable board and we are ready to move our strategic projects forward under his leadership.”

Myall holds a master’s degree in Ancient History and Archeology from the University of St. Andrews. He also received a Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Southern Maine, where he expects to complete graduate degree work in Public Policy and Management in 2015. Myall resides in Topsham with his wife Kate and daughters Aurelia and Vivienne.

POSTPONED – 5th Annual Dry Stone Wall Building Workshop

This event has been postponed to a later date. Watch this space for an announcement on the new date – probably Spring 2015.

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Join Freeport Historical Society for a hands-on workshop led by Chris Tanguay, Master Craftsman with the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain. Participants may opt for a one- or two-day workshop over the weekend of October 11th and 12th, 2014.  The workshop runs from 9:00am – 4:00 pm both days and takes place at historic Pettengill Farm in Freeport.

Tanguay is the owner of Maine Dry Stone and local stone-waller, and a certified instructor and examiner for the DSWA of Great Britain.

Saturday’s workshop will focus on the basic structural techniques used to build or restore a typical field stone wall.  The second day of the workshop will build on these skills, but will include more on detail work.  If desired, more advanced instruction can be provided for those with a higher level of skill.

Saturday’s workshop is $65.00; the two- day workshop is $110. Lunch is included both days.  Pettengill Farm is located on Pettengill Road, off Flying Point Road, in Freeport.

Registration and payment are required in advance. This workshop sells out each year. Don’t be disappointed. Register now!

Office Manager Position Open – Submit Application by 10/7/2014

Freeport Historical Society
Office Manager

• Temporary position (through 1/31/15); possibility of continuing in an expanded role
• Part-time, 24 hours per week
• $11/hour

Freeport Historical Society (FHS) is seeking applicants for the position of office manager. The position will be part-time (24hrs/week) and temporary (through 1/31/15). However, the right applicant may be invited to continue in an expanded role beyond this date.

The Office Manager reports to the FHS Executive Director and assists both the Executive Director and Collections Manager in a variety of administrative duties, including:

• Working with volunteers
• Greeting visitors
• Arranging logistical details for public events
• Ordering office supplies
• Maintaining accurate records and databases.

Successful applicants will posses:
• Proven experience providing excellent customer service
• Familiarity with Microsoft Office applications, especially Access, plus QuickBooks
• Experience handling phones and other office machinery
• An ability to multi-task
• The ability to work a flexible schedule as needed.

A bachelor’s degree and an interest in history are preferred.

The Freeport Historical Society is a non-profit organization in Freeport, Maine dedicated to preserving the town’s past and keeping that past alive in the present. The Society is a vibrant organization with a key role in the local community.

For more information, consult the FHS website, www.freeporthistoricalsociety.org or call 207-865-3170. A resume and cover letter should be sent to director@freeporthistoricalsociety.org.

Closing date for applications: October 7, 2014

Click Here for Full Job Description

Amos Gerald – The Electric Railroad King of Maine Presentation by Art Ray

MCRR passing trolley 1937

Freeport Historical Society presents the first of five public programs beginning on Sunday, September 28th and continuing into January, 2015. All presentations take place at the Freeport Community Library on Sundays at 1:30pm. Tickets to each presentation are $5.00pp. FHS Members are free.

Amos Gerald – The Electric Railroad King of Maine is the topic of the first presentation by educator Art Ray.

Amos F. Gerald was born in Fairfield and in his lifetime earned the title as “The Electric Railroad King of Maine” by being involved with the creation, promotion, financing and operations of twelve electric railroads or ‘trolleys’ in Maine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An interesting aspect of the trolley era was that trolleys began in individual communities but in time were linked together serving many other communities.  One of Amos’ most remembered initiatives was to develop destinations for these interconnected trolley lines–places where families could visit via the trolley on weekends providing a respite the busy cities. Two of the locations that will interest folks in the Freeport area are Casco Castle in South Freeport and Merrymeeting Park in Brunswick.

Amos was also a very civic minded businessman, inventor, horseman who became one of the earliest promoters of electricity. Today we find it hard to believe but in its earliest day’s electricity was an unknown element that caused rational people to resist and fight the concept of having their streets lined with poles and wires to power trolleys.

Learn about the man who had so many other interests and had such an impact on the State of Maine in a time before automobiles and the broadcast media.

Don’t miss this one-time opportunity to jump on our Trolley at 2:30p and retrace the original route in this one-hour trip narrated by Holly Hurd   $10pp

The presentations are part of our current exhibit, You CAN Get There from Here: How Transportation Defined Freeport.

Event sponsors are Norway Savings Bank and the Maine Humanities Council.

Click HERE to Purchase Tickets

39th Annual Pettengill Farm Day – September 14th!

Purchase Tickets Here!

     Lots of NEW Family Fun at our 39th Annual Pettengill Farm Day
PFD39 Poster 2014-page-001

Visit one of the most unique saltwater farmsteads on the Eastern Seaboard when Freeport Historical Society hosts its 39th Annual Pettengill Farm Day, Sunday, September 14th, 10am-3pm.

To the sound of accordion music and children running the fields with newly-crafted kites, visitors will find world-class juggling, docent-led tours of the historic saltbox house, apple cider and butter-making, sack races, steer team demonstrations and much more on “the quiet side of Freeport. “

Enjoy 19th c magic with our favorite conjurer, Robert Olsen. His three half- hour shows begin at 11:00, 12:30 and 2:00pm. At 1:00pm, view the dazzling world-class juggling of World Champ Juggler (Jr. Class) Will Silvers.

The delightful accordion trio from Maine Squeeze will be strolling the fields throughout the day sharing their musical “take” on classic Americana tunes.

And joining us this year, our favorite local trio, Crabapple Jam, will be performing at 11:30a-12:30p.

NEW workshops and presentations include:

  • At 10am, learn how to “read” the forest with “A Forest Forensics Walk with our Forester” Rene Noel. It will open your eyes to the “clues” available in the woodlands.
  • From 10:30am-1:30pm, the cooper from Scribner’s Mill will be demonstrating barrel-making. Do not miss seeing this fascinating and skilled process.
  • At 11am don’t miss The History of Aprons! Join sisters Norma Salway and Dottie Adams as they share the fascinating evolution of uses and users of aprons through examples from Freeport Historical Society’s collection and their personal collection. Bring your favorite apron and story and plan to share!
  • At 1pm “Saltwater Farming—Utilizing the Saltmarsh” Cows have not been pastured on the marsh at Pettengill since the 1940’s so take advantage of this rare opportunity to see two cows pastured on the marsh and learn how saltwater farming differs from inland farming.
  • At 2pm Master Gardener and herbalist, Carol Power, will be leading a walk entitled, “Foraging for Wild Medicinals.” Carol is a Master Gardener and is a community herbalist growing organic medicinal plants at Powerfarm.

Join us in pressing local apples and sip some just-squeezed apple cider at our antique cider press!

Jump aboard the horse-drawn hay wagon ride from Topsham’s Hideaway Farm and say “hello” to “Big John,” the teamster and his beautiful Belgian horses, 8 year olds Sissy and Evey (who are half-sisters!)

View the strength, agility, and plain old cuteness of the young steer teams from Thunder Hill Farm in Waterford.

In our kids active area, make and fly kites, give the sack races a try, take a shot at our bean-bag toss or geo-cache with L.L.Bean from 11a-1:30p.

Our privy-shed features a wonderfully-informative NEW mini-exhibit looking back at dairy farming at historic Pettengill Farm through a select group of  farm implements related to salt water dairy farming. The items include a variety of bog shoes worn by horses during salt hay harvest and farm instruments related to milk and dairy product processing. Kids can learn the simple chemistry behind making butter and then make some!

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit our early 19thc Pettengill saltbox house where you will find room docents from RSU5 High School. Wait till you see the sgrafitti upstairs! After the tour, youngsters are invited to try their hand at sgraffiti-making at our Maine Arts Workshop table.

Lunch and snacks are available from 11am- 2pm.

Pettengill Farm is located 1.3 miles from the LLBean flagship store in Freeport. From Main Street, turn right onto Bow Street which becomes Flying Point Road . Watch for right-hand turn onto Pettengill Road and bear right to proceed onto the property. Free, on-site parking.

Event donation: $5.00 adults, $2.00 children

The community-minded sponsors of the 39th Annual Pettengill Farm Day are Bath Savings Trust/ Bath Savings Institution, Coffee by Design, Sherman’s Stationary & Books, Frosty’s Donuts, Freeport True Value Hardware, Derosiers and Island Treasure Toys.

Thank you to our 2014 Annual Sponsors: LLBean, Bath Savings Institution/Bath Savings Trust, Chilton Furniture, Hilton Garden Inn, Taggart Construction, Brown Goldsmiths,  Riley Insurance, Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen & Topside Tavern and Freeport USA

4th Annual Vintage Baseball Game June 22nd

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Join us on Sunday, June 22nd for a day filled with vintage baseball!  This year Freeport Historical Society will host it’s first-ever double-header!  “Home” team Dirigo, will play rivals from Ipswich, MA and then take on the newest Maine team, The Portland Eon’s! This event takes place at historic Pettengill Farm, Freeport. Team Captain Jake Newcomb(Dirigo) and Jeff Yoop (Eon’s)will be appearing on WSCH-TV program, Area Code “207” on Thursday, June 19th, 7:00pm!

Maine Baseball Hall of Famer, Mort Soule, will recite Casey at the Bat at 1:30p ( Mort recites “Casey” atFenway Park’s “Maine Day!”)

Following Mort’s recital, the Vintage Baseball game begins. The teams play according to the 1860 rules. Game rules will be posted on our website and will be available at the game.

After the teams play, the community is invited to play the teams!  Our favorite accordion band, The Maine Squeeze, will again be joining us with their old time favorites.

Enjoy hot dogs, sausage sandwiches, ice cream, and yes, beer (only because it is historically correct!)

Click Here for Fun 19th Century Baseball Terms

Bring your folding chairs, blankets and umbrellas (or sit in our bleachers—and enjoy baseball as it was played in its earliest days—on a farm field.  Tickets are $5.00 for adults and $1.00 for kids.

Historic Pettengill Farm is located 1.5mi from the main LLBean store. Turn down Bow Street, off of Main and watch for Pettengill Road on the right. Turn in and proceed down dirt road. We’ll help you park. Join us (as a “crank”—a fan, in 1860) and support Dirigo!

FMI: (207)865-3170  or info@freeporthistoricalsociety.org

Purchase Tickets Here