Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First Meeting of the Season...

Log jam on the Ossipee River in Kezar Falls, 1918
   Before your schedule gets all jammed up, make a note that the first meeting of the historical society is Saturday, April 26 at 1 pm at the Porter Town Hall.  A quorum is needed to elect officers so please try to attend.

   You can access the full scedule of meetings, open houses and fund raising events in the page links above.  There are a lot of great events planned this year so hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Porter Village...

    This stately house, shown here in a circa 1890 tintype, is located across from the present day post office at the intersection of Short Street and Route 25 (Ossipee Trail) in Porter Village. It was once a wayside inn with a public hall/ballroom on the top floor. It is often called the William Stanley House as identified on the 1856 map. Also, it was known as the Hadlock House for the family that owned it in the 1920’s & 30’s. However, the house is much older than we originally thought.

   With extensive research, Sandy Howe found that as early as 1801 James Coffin, Esq. held a deed for this location, including a dwelling house, on the county road and within lots #1 and #2 in Range A. So, the history relating to town meetings that were held at his home from 1807 – 1812 fit the use of the 3rd floor.

   Coffin sold it to William Towle, Sr. in 1809 and bought it back in 1823. His widow and children continued to live there until 1834. It was then sold to John S. Wedgwood and then Meshach Pike and pieces of the original 100 acre lot were sold off. When Meshach sold it to William Stanley in 1854 it contained only about 1 acre of land with the homestead.

    There were other owners before the Hadlocks. Robert MacDonald purchased it from the Hadlocks about 1948 and sold to it Marcel Gagnon in 1988. It sold again to the Whittemore family about 2011. The barn and out-buildings have been gone for many years.

A current view of the house.
   The historical society's opening meeting for the 2014 season is April 26 at 1 pm at the Town Office in Porter.  Mark your calendar and try to make this the year you make local history matter in your life!  All help, large or small, can make a difference in keeping our local history alive.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kezar Falls VIllage...

 The charming brick house on Federal Road was built by Elias Newbegin in 1840 and is one of the oldest houses still standing in Kezar Falls Village. The photograph on the right shows how it looked in 1907.

    Thomas E. Fox and his wife Martha (Gerrish) Fox left their 200 acre farm on Kezar Mountain Road and moved to this house. Herman, one their four children, was born here in 1871. Herman married twice. He and his second wife, Florence had three daughters, Theda and twins Manda and Beatrice.

Today the Fox house has been changed back to a
 single dwelling and the barn is gone.  It has had
 several owner/occupants in recent years. 
    The house remained in the family occupied by his widow Florence and unmarried daughter Manda until after Florence’s death in 1978. The house finally passed out of the family in 1979 when it was purchased by Richard and Gay Winkler. 

    They turned it into an apartment with office space in the front. Manda Fox was an active member of the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society. She died in 1987. Manda’s twin sister, Beatrice (Fox) Peterson, moved away and just recently died (3/3/2014) at the age of 104. 

   Next month a new season at the historical society begins! Stay tuned for this years schedule updates and please consider ways you might join in the conservation/exhibition efforts. 

Local History Matters!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Pillsbury House

   In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s many people, with the means to do so, looked for opportunities during the summer months to leave the hot and humid cities of New York and Boston to live for a while in the clean fresh air of rural Maine and other New England states. 

  Some went to working farms who rented their extra rooms during the summer to these visitors.  Others went to summer boarding houses built just for this purpose.

The “Pillsbury House” was built in 1882 by the three sons of David and Sarah Pillsbury as a summer boarding home.  These three young men also had successful businesses in Boston.  It was popular among out-of-town visitors and operated until 1911. 

    Many activities were planned during the summer months to entertain the visitors and of course they could take advantage of the local rivers and lakes for swimming, boating and fishing.  “Pillsbury House” later became a two family home occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Shaw, a local barber, and their daughter’s family.  At one time the McGraws lived here.  Most recently it was the home of Lory and Madeline Libby who have since passed away. 

   Today it is for sale – still a lovely stately white house on the hill overlooking the river.  It is located on West end of Elm Street on the edge of Kezar Falls Village.  As you can see it sits on a rise above the street and faces the Ossipee River.  At the time Pillsbury House was in business it was all open across the street down to the river’s edge.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Tarbox Farm on Moore Mountain Road

Tarbox Farm 1908

   Moore Mountain Road (now a discontinued road known as the Frank Merrill Road) was located just above the Middle Road Village. 

   It use to be populated with several homesteads as well as the Emerson School House.  It ran from west to east starting at Middle Road where it intersected with Emerson Road and continued east to Merrill Hill Road.

Emerson School house.
   Most, if not all of the houses, were abandoned by the mid 1930’s and the properties were bought by the Leavitt Plantation.  We have recently acquired pictures of the Tarbox homestead and Emerson School House from Carl Tarbox of Cornish, Maine.    

The 1872 map indicates this property belonged to G. Tarbox.  That was George Bedell Tarbox, Carl’s great-great grandfather.  He and his wife, Adeline (Hasty) Tarbox had 13 children most of whom grew to adulthood here.  Their son Lorenzo and his wife Josephine were probably the last generation to work the farm.  Carl’s father, George D. Tarbox and his sister spent their childhood here.

   The Emerson School House, District #5, was located at the intersection of Moore Mountain Road, Middle Road and Emerson Road from 1802 to 1897.  Nothing remains here today.