Visitors were treated to traditional craft demonstrations, as well as guided hikes, tours, and other activities that gave them a taste of what life on a 19th-century New England farm was like, and how traditional skills and knowledge were used to produce products for the 21st century. Elaine O'Donal of Gorham and another member of her tatting lace group demonstrated their skill using the shuttle method, and visitors got a chance for some hands-on practice with finger tatting.
Holly Ilhoff of Medieval Magic Organics was on hand with her FDA inspected natural skin care products, which are the result of a marriage of European apothecary traditions and natural American healing arts.
Bridgton Historical Society President Margaret Reimer was in a 18th-century period costume that she made herself, discussing care for clothing and, for ladies only, showing the intricacies of the 18th-century female wardrobe. Visitors also had a behind-the-scenes insight into the society's on-going restoration of the 1835 Temperance Barn and the 1797 house.
One of the favorite demonstrations of the event was by returning artist David Allen of Stone Point Studio. (see video interview below).
David creates public Art installations for all to enjoy. He has over 20 years of creative trade and art experience have contributed to his distinctive style that combines naturally occurring medium with various shapes, geometric patterns and forms. This unique blend of technical skill and artistic vision come together to produce artwork that celebrates the beauty of natural medium in both an artistically creative and visually accurate form. As one observer stated simply, "You have the eye of the Artist and the hands of the Builder".
The Bridgton Historical Society was founded in 1953 for the purpose of collecting and preserving historically significant material, and to encourage an appreciation and understanding of the events, customs, and traditions of Bridgton and the surrounding area. In 1976 the society acquired the old fire station located on Gibbs Avenue in downtown Bridgton, to serve as a museum. This facility was expanded in 1994 with the addition of a new wing for our extensive archives. The museum houses exhibits on the roots and characteristics of Bridgton, the narrow gauge railroad, Bridgton’s first automobile (a 1911 Sears) and other objects from the town’s history. The extensive archives provides researchers with a rich source of primary documents and records on the town and its families from the 1760s to the present.
In 1987, Mrs. Margaret Monroe of Providence, Rhode Island bequeathed “Narramissic,” the Peabody-Fitch Farm, to the Bridgton Historical Society. The house, which was built in 1797, sits on a twenty-acre property in South Bridgton with spectacular views of western Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The farmstead includes a house, barn, carriage shed and working blacksmith shop, and functions as a historic house museum as well as a venue for workshops, educational programs, and festivals that emphasize early American life and crafts. It was Mrs. Monroe who named it “Narramissic,” which she understood to be an Abenaki Indian word for “hard to find.” Although it sits off the beaten track, the name was not a reference to its location but to her long search for just the right piece of property.
Whether you are interested in genealogical research, early American life and crafts, local history, or just looking for family activities at one of our programs or festivals, we hope that you will come visit with us. Both the museum and Narramissic are open seasonally on a regular schedule, and the museum is open year-round by appointment.
Jon Evans, Ned Allen, Arlene Gauthier, and Carol Colby
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