WGME Real Estate Report: Freeport’s history in danger

Freeport Historical Society was featured this week on WGME Real Estate section.  Watch the video here: FREEPORT (WGME) -- The Freeport Historical Society is on Main St., right between L.L. Bean and the Gap. It’s a red brick building housing some of the most important artifacts in town, but the curator says those pieces are in danger of destruction. The archive room at the historic Harrington House is busting at the seams. Perhaps more serious than the space crunch, everything from maps and newspaper clippings, to old baby bean boots and other windows into the past, is at risk according to curator Holly Hurd. “We are here in a wooden building with all these precious collections, so we need to do something,” Hurd said. The front of the building is brick, but the archives are stored in an attached wooden structure. One fire or flood, and hundreds of years of history could be gone. Hurd says the solution is simple. The society has wanted to build a climate controlled vault for decades. Exec-director Jim Cram says that now the only issue is cost. “I’m guessing it’s going to be in the $600,000 to $700,000 range could be a little more,” Cram said. “Could be a little less. More than half a million bucks? More than that.” A price they say worth paying to preserve and protect the priceless pieces of this town. Cram says fundraising efforts for the vault will likely start this year. They hope to begin construction in 2017. In the meantime they are working on a disaster plan. Telling the fire department that in the case of a fire, the first priority is to protect that back portion of the structure where the archives are stored. Hurd and Cram are also really excited about an art display that's set to open next week at the Historical Society. It's a travelling exhibit from the Rangeley Logging Museum. The paintings tell the story of logging in Maine in the early 20th century. It starts on Monday and will be there for about eight weeks.

Logging in the Maine Woods, 1915-1928

Logging in the Maine Woods, 1915-1928

The Paintings of Alden Grant

February 1- March 25, 2016

Alden Grant Poster imageThis special exhibit of 19 paintings by Alden Grant, Sr. is on loan from the Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum for 8 weeks only. The subject is logging in the Maine woods from 1915-1928, when axes, handsaws, and horses were used to cut and haul trees. Alden Grant, who lived some years in Freeport, spent many hours of his youth observing loggers working near his childhood home in the area of Rangeley, Maine. He created these folk art paintings from 1986-1990, when he was in his late seventies, from his memories of the logging camps in the early decades of the 20th century.

Opening Reception 5-7 PM Feb 1

Regular open hours Tues-Fri, 10 AM-4 PM

Cost: $5 non-members / $3 FHS  members and children 12 & under

Jim Cram Returns to Freeport Historical Society as Interim Director

Freeport Historical Society’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Jim Cram as Executive Director. Jim’s strong personal ties to Freeport and his engagement with the community; his professional background in construction, restoration, and project management; and his commitment to historic and architectural preservation are among his distinctions. Jim currently serves as a trustee of Greater Portland Landmarks and is a member of the Freeport Project Review Committee. He is also, not incidentally, a decades-long member of Freeport Historical Society and a past president of the FHS Board.

Exec. Director James Myall to Step Down 11/20

James Myall, Executive Director of Freeport Historical Society, is to resign November 20th, citing health concerns and family commitments.  “I have had an exciting and varied period of time at the helm of an organization with a lot of potential,” says Myall, “But I’ve come to realize that Freeport Historical Society needs somebody who can offer the organization their complete energy and attention, and I’m not able to do that right now, particularly with a young family.” The Historical Society’s Executive Committee and Board of Trustees are actively working to ensure a smooth transition, and anticipate only minor disruptions from the change in personnel.  In due course, FHS will advertise for a new Executive Director, but in the meantime an interim individual will be named while a review of the organization’s staffing structure takes place. FHS’s opening hours will remain Tuesday-Friday, 10am-4pm through Memorial Day 2016, and the Society’s exhibit, research library and gift store will continue to operate as before.  For more information, contact Lisa Schinhofen, Office Manager at (207)865-3170.

Ghosts of Freeport’s Past

Two new ghosts debut their spectral stylings at Freeport Historical Society's popular Halloween event

Ghost Tours 2015

The adventurous and open-minded are invited to Freeport’s Woodlawn Cemetery this Halloween season for an encounter with specters and spirits, courtesy of Freeport Historical Society. FHS is bringing history back from beyond the grave, with the appearance of notable Freeporters in the graveyard, with the assistance of the Freeport Players.

The reincarnations of famous and not-so-well-known former residents of Freeport will share fascinating tales of their lives, and illuminate interesting aspects of Freeport’s past. Come and hear history from the mouths of those who lived it!

Tours lasting approximately 45 minutes, will take place the 28th, 29th and 30th of October, beginning at 6:30. Tours depart at 6:30, 7:00 and 7:30.

Admission is $10, children (12 and under), $5. FHS members, $5.

Purchase tickets online!

Woodlawn Cemetery is the resting place of some of Freeport’s most prominent past residents including shipbuilders, industrialists, maritime captains, clergy and others whose stories are fascinating. This year’s tour will incorporate some favorite tales from previous years, but will include some new appearances – including the survivor of an 18th-century Indian raid and an eccentric 20th-century artist.

Since the tours will take place on uneven ground in the dark, participants should bring a flashlight. Participants should also dress appropriately for nighttime, outdoors, in late fall. Reservations are encouraged. FMI: (207) 865-3170, www.freeeporthistoricalsociety.org or info@freeporthistoricalsociety.org.

Purchase Tickets

Remembering Leon A. Gorman

Like many in the greater Freeport community, Freeport Historical Society's members, trustees and staff were saddened to learn of the passing of Leon A. Gorman on September 3rd. The longtime L.L. Bean president and chairman loomed large in Freeport's recent history, not only for his role in transforming the company into an international brand, and Freeport into a destination for millions, but also as a committed philanthropist and an advocate for the preservation and promulgation of Maine history.

The Gorman and Bean families, as well as the company, have long been supporters of Freeport Historical Society. We join them, our friends and neighbors in mourning Leon's passing. He was a true local history maker.

Leon Gorman (left) with Admiral Donald Baxter MacMillan (center right) at the L.L. Bean Store

Leon Gorman (left) with Admiral Donald Baxter MacMillan (center right) at the L.L. Bean Store. The photo was probably taken between 1967, when Gorman became president of L.L. Bean, and 1970, the year of MacMillan's death. MacMillan, a Freeport High School graduate, equipped his team with L.L. Bean's Maine Hunting Shoe for his 1921 Arctic expedition. Gorman is presenting MacMillan with a Hudson's Bay Point Blanket, an item first sold by L.L. Bean in 1925, and still available today. Photo Courtesy Freeport Historical Society, C. Raymond Thomas Collection.

A Very Special 40th Annual Pettengill Farm Day

PFD 2015 poster

Join us for an afternoon of family fun, entertainment, and discovery at the 40th Annual Pettengill Farm Day on Sunday, September 13!

Climb aboard for a hayride, pick pumpkins, enjoy freshly pressed cider, and rediscover the lost arts of blacksmithing and coopering. Our favorite conjurer, Robert Olsen, returns with his displays of 19th century magic. Will Silvers will show off his World Champion juggling skills, and accordion trio the Maine Squeeze will stroll the fields. The Freeport Community Players will present a specially commissioned dramatic monologue, Visiting Miss Mildred. The 1793 saltbox farmhouse will be open to the public for docent-led tours, and artifacts from the Society’s collections will be on display. Presentations and workshops on reading the forest landscape, foraging for medicinal herbs, and more will be offered. Admission is $5; $2 for children 3-16, free for children under 3. Lunch and snacks are available 11am-2pm at additional cost. PFD 2014-PC DSC_0277