Welcoming our new friends into the collection. These newly acquired William Matthew Prior pieces depict the Honorable Rufus Soule and his first wife Susan Mitchell Soule. Rufus was one of the most eminent shipbuilders in Maine having constructed at least 85 vessels at Porter’s Landing during his career. We are thrilled to have the two back in Freeport. Now on view at FHS.
Due to the great interest generated at the Freeport Revisited event on February 24th, the Freeport Historical Society will host a part two. This will be an opportunity for you to share your memories of living around Main Street Freeport during the 50’s through the 70’s. Join your fellow neighbors as we share fond experiences of growing up in Freeport in a fun, informal, friendly setting. Please come with your favorite story and any pictures you may have. Saturday, March 17th, 2:00 – 4:00 at 45 Main Street, Freeport. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held on Sunday, the 18th, same time.
This British Naval issue cutlass and scabbard (1804 pattern) was kept as prize booty by Captain George Bacon and crew of the privateer Dash.
According to family lore, Dash discovered the dismasted British privateer Thinks I To Myself in a cove near Wiscasset when the fog lifted. Some of Dash’s gunports were outfitted with logs painted black to fool the British into believing the brigantine was more heavily armed than it was. Consequently, Thinks I To Myself quickly surrendered, and Dash carried its prize and the sloop’s crew to Portland in October of 1814.
During the War of 1812, seagoing vessels changed hands frequently. Thinks I To Myself was originally an American ship out of Castine, ME that had been captured by the British just months before.
These treasures were handed down from Captain Joseph Porter, brother of Dash’s owners, to his great, great-grandson Philip Means, and are cared for and displayed by the Freeport Historical Society.
The Cutlass and scabbard will be on display at the Portland Science Center until October 29th.
From the collections of the Freeport Historical Society, on long-term loan from Philip C. Means.
MEDIA CONTACT: NTHP PUBLIC AFFAIRS, 202.588.6141, PR@SAVINGPLACES.ORG Freeport, ME
(July 12, 2017)—Today, Freeport Historical Society was awarded a $3,816 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from The Johanna Favrot Fund. These grant funds will be used to Archaeological research at Harrington House.
For hiring an archaeologist to survey the Harrington House property to seek information about the site before we proceed with construction and improvements to the house and surrounding grounds.
“Organizations like Freeport Historical Society, help to ensure that communities and towns all across America retain their unique sense of place,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We are honored to provide a grant to Freeport Historical Society, which will use the funds to help preserve an important piece of our shared national heritage.”
Grants from the National Trust Preservation Funds range from $2,500 to $5,000 and have provided over $15 million since 2003. These matching grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations and public agencies across the country to support wide-ranging activities including consultant services for rehabilitating buildings, technical assistance for tourism that promotes historic resources, and the development of materials for education and outreach campaigns.
For more information on National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Fund grants, visit:
About Freeport Historical Society Since 1969 Freeport Historical Society (FHS) has been encouraging the sharing and enjoyment of the long history of Freeport, Maine. FHS actively preserves buildings, archival materials and artifacts of historical importance while encouraging similar efforts within the community; undertakes research and develops educational programs and exhibits which explore and interpret Freeport’s history; and encourages related community activities which keep our rich past present. For more information about our programs and events: www.freeporthistoricalsociety.org
About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately-funded nonprofit organization that works to save America’s historic places to enrich our future. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is committed to protecting America’s rich cultural legacy and helping build vibrant, sustainable communities that reflect our nation’s diversity. Follow us on Twitter @savingplaces.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
Pettengill Farm Tours
July 19 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
$10 – $12
The Freeport Historical Society will offer guided tours of the historic Pettengill Farmhouse and grounds as a way for the public to learn more about this remarkable homestead. These tours offer a rare opportunity to view and learn about the house, which is generally open only once a year, on Pettengill Farm Day.
Join Curator/Collections Manager Holly Hurd as she describes the history of the farm and saltbox, which was built about 1800 and has been sustained over generations without the modern conveniences of central heating, running water, or electricity. The house resides on 140 acres that supported a saltwater farm and dairy, most recently by Mildred Pettengill and her brother Frank.
Participants can sign-up for a 90 min tour of the farm and house, which includes a viewing of the rare sgraffiti wall etchings of ships and marine life. The scheduled tours are as follows:
Wed July 19 at 6 PM – on line registration
Tues Aug 22 at 5 PM – on line registration
Fri Sept 15 at 11 AM – on line registration
Wed Sept 20 at 10 am – on line registration
Cost is $12 per person for the general public and $10 for FHS members.
Participants are required to register at least 24 hours in advance. Tours require a minumum of 4 people and max of 10. On-line registration or call 207-865-3170. If the tours need to be rescheduled due to rain or because of too few participants, those signed up will be rescheduled to another date or refunded.
Attendees meet at the gate entrance at the end of Pettengill Road (31 Pettengill Road), to carpool to the site. Un-registered guests are welcome to join at the start location, but they should first confirm that the tour will take place by calling 207-865-3170.
Please wear appropriate footwear for walking on uneven surfaces and bring along bug spray. If walking is difficult, participants can choose to remain near or in the house.
Tours are also available on request with a minimum of 4 participants. Contact Holly Hurd at email@example.com or call 207-865-3170 to schedule a time.
On Monday May 16, 2017 FHS was featured on WCSH 6 in a the “Maine Mysteries” segment about Freeport’s, Casco Castle. Watch to see Executive Director Jim Cram and Collections Manager Holly Hurd share their knowledge of Casco Castle. You can also visit our web page for more information about Casco Castle.
FREEPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — In a neighborhood in South Freeport, a castle once stood high on the hill. It was called Casco Castle, and it ruled the social scene of it’s day.
Built in 1903 by Amus Gerald, the grand summer resort had a number of attractive amusements; a zoo with wolves, deer, and even bison. A baseball diamond and swimming area. There were also shore dinners featuring lobster and clams for just 50 cents.
However, Holly Hurd, curator and collections manager for the Freeport Historical Society, said the castle’s maine objective was to encourage use of the new trolley line laid out in 1902 that ran from Yarmouth to Brunswick; which is where Gerald built his first resort, Merrymeeting Park.
“He thought, if we put another amusement park along the trolley line, that will encourage people to come up,” said Hurd. “They can either visit the one in Souther Freeport, or they can visit the one in Brunswick.”
Toward the end of it’s days, the Casco Castle suffered financial loss as tourism declined. People simply found a better way to get around- the automobile.
Then one day in 1914, as it was closing for the season, the castle met its end.
Hurd explained, “As people were packing up, it caught on fire. The main part of the building was wooden and it was very dry, so as soon as it started, the whole things just burned to the ground.”
There was gossip that the financial troubles lead to arson, but by now we will probably never know. But pieces of the old resort can still be spotted around the neighborhood like the wolf pen, the stone wall, and especially the 185 foot stone tower that once served as a lighthouse for boats coming in on the Harraseeket River.
However, the tower is on private property and can only be viewed from the road. Luckily, it’s hard to miss.
© 2017 WCSH-TV
Click on the names below to read their entries
Winners Youth (Grades 3-6)
Young Adult (Grades 7-12)
1st Prize: David Sloan hopes to publish his poem from this contest, so please look for it in a future book!
The Freeport Historical Society wishes to congratulate George Denney for being named Freeport’s Citizen of the year 2016, last night, February 28, 2017, at the regular session of the town Council Meeting. George was surprised and surrounded by his friends and family. A small reception followed at the Historical Society. George is a good friend of the Historical Society and as always we wish him the best.
Photo from the Town of Freeport Municipal Bulletin, March 1, 2017