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
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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

5th Annual Barns & Quilts Tour Tickets ON SALE NOW!

Enjoy a beautiful early autumn day on the beautiful winding back roads of Freeport at our 5th Annual Historic Barns & Quilts tour sponsored by Freeport Historical Society. On Saturday, October 4th, from 9:00am till 3:00pm this unique event will feature visits to four interesting barns which span the building period of the mid-1800’s to the 1920’s.Vintage and antique quilts selected to coincide with the timeframe of each barn will be on display. Leading the tours are quilt expert, Bonnie Dwyer and barn expert, Don Perkins. Highly- regarded quilt historian, appraiser, and educator, Bonnie Dwyer, will share here vast knowledge of vintage quilts and the world of quilting. Through the displayed vintage quilts we will deepen our understanding of the economic role of women and how quilt patterns and styles reflect local, regional, and national events. As the very fabric of rural life, quilts reflect the economy, personal choice, and necessity of life. If you think quilts are just pretty, decorative coverings, then this part of the tour will change your mind. You’ll end this tour with a new appreciation of quilts, the stories they have to tell, and our textile history. Don Perkins is an educator and author of the just published book, The Barns of Maine:  Our History, Our Stories. Don will discuss the historic roles of barns in the evolution of farmsteads and how northern New England economics of mixed farming and home-industry created a unique architectural response. Our tour will examine the shifts in barn construction and how those shifts related to the evolving economic challenges facing farmers in our area. The social, cultural and economic lives of those who lived in coastal Northern New England will be further illuminated through an examination of barns and quilts. At 9am the event begins with coffee and orientation at Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen & Topside Tavern, located at Main and Bow Streets in downtown Freeport. After touring the final barn, we’ll conclude the afternoon with a lively program of traditional American music by talented guitarist Dave Peloquin and vocalist Helen Richardson taking place at the handsome and impressive timber frame shop of Houses & Barns by John Libby. Cider and donuts and a tour of the barn, Rt. 136, True Road in Freeport, is included.  Lunch is brownbag. Bring a folding chair or blanket and we’ll eat on a local farm field. Freeport Historic Barns & Quilts Tour is a fundraiser of Freeport Historical Society. Tickets are $40.00pp through Sept 15th. From Sept 16th to October 3rd tickets are $45.00pp. Because this event has sold out in all years, tickets must be purchased in advance. Online you may purchase via Eventbrite or by check (mail to 45 Main Street, Freeport, ME 04032.)  FMI: 207-865-3170 or www.freeporthistoricalsociety.org The event has sold-out each year!  Don’t be disappointed- reserve today. Freeport Historic Barns & Quilts tour is sponsored by Houses& Barns by John Libby, Linda Beans Maine Kitchen & Topside Tavern, and Mariners’ Compass Quilt Shop in Bath. FMI: Contact Freeport Historical Society at (207)865-3170 or info@freeporthistoricalsociety.org. Buy Tickets HERE      

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 

 

 

You CAN Get There From Here Exhibit – opens May 15th, 2014

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You Can Get There from Here—How Transportation Defined Freeport   Exhibit opens May 15th.

On Thursday, May 15th from 5:00pm-7:00pm at 45 Main Street, Freeport Historical Society opens its major exhibit entitled, You CAN Get There from Here- How Transportation Defined Freeport.  The exhibit continues through February 1, 2015. The exhibit can be visited Monday through Friday, 10:00am- 5:00pm. Donation of $3.00pp. is suggested.

Modes of transportation in Freeport—from watercraft to ox carts to wagons, carriages, and stagecoaches, to railroads and trolleys, and eventually to the automobile— have helped move people and their goods around on water, roads, and rails for more than two and a half centuries.  The Harraseeket River was the central “highway” of travel when the earliest settlers of Freeport lived near the coast, especially on “points” or peninsulas of land, and near rivers where rushing water provided power for mills.  As settlement moved to the interior areas of the town, roads became expedient for inland travel. At first, the roads that traversed the town and connected Freeport residents were mere pathways cleared through dense woods.  These roads were so crude they only enabled travel by horse and rider or ox cart. As the need for inland travel increased, vehicles improved, as did the surfaces they moved around on.

This exhibit will explore, through the lives of several Freeport inhabitants who lived in the 18th 19th and 20th centuries, the evolution and interplay of different modes of transportation over the years. The particular geography of the region will be described as a determinant for where people lived, as well as how they made their livings, ultimately defining where the roads were placed. Importantly, the villages in Freeport developed at the crossroads of travel—where roads crossed and where the river and roads intersected. The coming of the railroad in the mid-nineteenth century solidified Freeport village as the center of commerce.

Freeport is unique in its geography, not just because of the river and its position relative to the Androscoggin River and to branches of the Royal River. Inland areas provided lumber for the mast trade in the early to mid 18th century and later for the shipyards, initiating the river’s development into an important means of moving products to Portland and Boston.

A “floor map” of the Harraseeket River will show areas where landings, mills, canneries, shipyards, and a 20th century trolley park were developed as well as the important areas of early settlement.  Another room will feature the railroad depot in Freeport village and a floor map showing the major roads that formed the crossroads of travel between inland areas and Porter’s Landing. The map will also show the path of the railroad and the 20th century highway, Interstate 95. The 18th century mast trade that gave Mast Landing its name and, along with the mills there, made it an early area of activity, will be described, as will the different development of Porter’s Landing as a point of access to the river, and South Freeport village as a site of shipyards, canneries, and entry to the popular Casco Castle. A variety of vehicle models including a gundalow, wagon, ox cart, early touring car, 19th century steam engine and boxcars, trolley, and stagecoach, as well as scale models of the Freeport Depot, the Casco Castle, and the Union Station in Portland are planned. In addition, the exhibit will include early photographs of many of these vehicles and places in Freeport, as well as maps showing the location of major roads, and information about when they were built and improved over time. Several little-seen 18th century maps are also part of the display as are artifacts from the railroad, trolley, and fishing industry.

With the coming of the automobile in the early 20th century, motels serving travelers paralleled the 19th century taverns that had provided food for travelers during the days of stagecoach travel. By the 1950s, the construction of I95 bisected the town, cutting off a number of range roads and resulting in the destruction and movement of several historic houses. Although this major event solidified Freeport’s place on the path of tourist travel in Maine, a number of Freepoters recall the hardships the new highway created, and will share their recorded memories of how it affected their lives in town.

 

Harraseeket Heritage Day and Harborside Gala June 28, 2014 – Gala is SOLD OUT!!

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Make plans to join us at the 3rd Annual Harraseeket Heritage Day & Harborside Gala (HHDHG), taking place on Saturday, June 28th at Brewer South Freeport Marine in South Freeport, Maine. HHDHG is a fundraiser for Freeport Historical Society (FHS). Proceeds from this event underwrites our year-round public programs and student-focused activities. Last year’s events were a great success, attracting over 400.

This year’s HHD&HG features a first-ever community Boat Parade in South Freeport Harbor with a benefit lunch at Brewer’s during the parade. The parade will showcase our waterfront heritage and focus attention on our Gala fundraiser taking place from 5:30p-10:00p that evening. We are expecting over 50 boats, event-banners flying, for our first ever boat parade with FHS on the lead boat.

Taking place at Brewer’s on the picturesque Harraseeket waterfront, FHS plays host to an exciting Harborside Gala featuring a delicious and traditonal full lobster bake dinner, signature rum drink, unique silent and live auctions, live music and more. Historic images of the working waterfront and costumed actors portraying some of Freeport’s most notable citizens drawn from Freeport’s maritime past are also part of this special evening.

Tickets are now available at $55/pp. Gather friends together and take a table of ten for $550. Day-of-event tickets are $60. Tickets can be purchased via the link below or via phone, 207/865-3170.

Purchase Tickets Here!

Harraseeket Heritage Day Boat Parade June 28th, 2014

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Bring your boat, pack a lunch, and invite your friends to ride along.
“Boat bling” is encouraged!

Rendezvous off Crab Island at 1200. (High Tide is at 1308).
Fall in line and enter the Harbor at 1230.

The parade will loop in/out of the Harbor, starting and finishing at Crab Island.

Starting procedure and parade course info will be provided
to all registered boats.
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Shore festivities and viewing from 12:00-2:00pm, Parade begins at 12:30!

Spectator viewing areas: Winslow Park/Stockbridge Point,
Brewer South Freeport Marine, Freeport Town Wharf.

Light seafood/hot dog lunch (featuring Flying Point Oysters and chowder by
Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster) on the deck at Brewer South Freeport Marine.
$5/kid (under 12); $10/adult.
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Rain or shine. Any severe weather cancellation will be
announced at 1200 on VHF 72.

To participate in this unique celebration of our local Waterfront Heritage,
please register here by April 25th, 2014.
The number of boats will be limited, so register soon.

Please email the following information to info@freeporthistoricalsociety.org

Boat Name, Name of Skipper/Owner, Boat Length Overall (max 50 ft.), Boat Draft (max 6 ft.), Type (sail or power), Phone Number

Register Here!

Professor Richard W. Judd to speak at 45th Annual Meeting of Freeport Historical Society

The Trustees of Freeport Historical Society invite the membership
and public to the 45 th Annual Meeting of Freeport Historical
Society taking place on Sunday, March 23rd, 2:00pm till 4:00pm at
Freeport Community Library, 10 Library Drive.

On display will be some recent additions to the Collections of Freeport Historical Society.

The afternoon begins with a brief Business Meeting which will include the Treasurer’s Report, review of 2013 programs, and voting on proposed trustees and the slate of Officers. We will also thank outgoing Trustee, Cito Selinger, for his nine years of service.

Presentation of the Mel Collins Community Service Award, Partners in Preservation Award, as well as a Recognition Ceremony for volunteers will also take place.

We are honored to have as our guest speaker this year University of Maine History Professor, Richard W. Judd, whose presentation, “Good Roads for Whom?”, previews our major exhibit theme this year.

Dr. Judd’s primary interest is in U.S. environmental history, particularly in New England. He received a Ph. D from the University of California, Irvine in 1979 and first came to Maine in 1980 as a postdoctoral fellow. He has taught a series of courses at UMaine and leads post graduate seminars in 19th and 20th century U.S. history. Dr. Judd is the editor of the Maine Historical Society’s quarterly journal, Maine History. He has lectured broadly and is the author of numerous highly- regarded articles and books on conversation and environmental history.

We are honored to have Dr. Judd also serving as the scholar on our recently awarded grant from the Maine Humanities Council.

All are welcome to attend the event. Beverages and sweets will be available. FMI: www.freeporthistoricalsociety.org or 207-865-3170

Oral History Training Workshop – Sunday, March 16th

On Sunday, March 16th, 1:30pm-4:30pm at Harrington House (45 Main Street,) Freeport Historical Society is offering an Oral History Interviewing Workshop.

Community members will learn how to conduct an oral history session, including preparation and practice interviews. Equipment will also be reviewed. FHS volunteer Molly Graham, who is a professional oral historian, will be leading the workshop which costs $25.00/pp. For those who volunteer to collect four oral histories over the next twelve months the fee is waived.

Ms. Graham is an oral historian, radio producer and archivist with archival and field experience in Massachusetts and Maine. She served as Oral Historian for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Molly holds an M.A. in Library Science and is a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.

Collecting oral histories is a very important dimension to the work of Freeport Historical Society and was an issue which surfaced in several of our recent Lunch with Locals programs.

FHS is interested in capturing a range of stories including recollections of the development of the Interstate through Freeport, in preparation for its 2014 Exhibit, titled, “ You CAN Get There from Here-How Transportation Defined Freeport.” The development of roads and highways has connected and disrupted Maine’s communities and shaped the towns around them. The Freeport Historical Society, in an effort to capture the history and impact of Maine’s transportation systems, seeks to record and preserve the stories of those who witnessed and experienced the changes in Freeport roads and highways. In order to create a more complete record of the past, we hope to compile a variety of perspectives and voices from the community.

While we are particularly interested in capturing oral histories which share details of the impact of the Interstate and other transportation systems on Freeport, we are also interested in collecting stories about Freeport’s once-vibrant shoemaking industry. (Shoemaking will be our exhibit-focus in 2015.)

Please tell us your story (even if it is not related to the Interstate/transportation systems or shoemaking,) we are still very interested! Contact Freeport Historical Society at 865-3170 or info@freeporthistoricalsocciety.org to schedule a convenient time at your location or ours to be interviewed by Molly Graham or volunteer Rebecca Hotelling.