Saturday, October 3, 2015

Parsonsfield Seminary

   Thanks to the interest of prominent men from the town, Parsonsfield Seminary (a tuition school) opened its doors September 1832 in North Parsonsfield with an attendance of 140 students.  Among these men was Elder John Buzzell of the Free Baptist church and the first President of Trustees; Dr. Moses Sweat, Secretary of the Board of Trustees for many years; five successful farmers living nearby – most notably, Major Thomas Churchill; and the lawyers: Robert T. Blazo, Esquire; Honorable Rufus McIntire and Honorable Nathan Clifford.

    The first Seminary building burned in 1854 but was rebuilt in 1855.  Money bequeathed by Elisha Piper for the purpose of establishing the “Piper Free High School” was made available in 1878.  In 1890 it was combined with the Academy to become the “Parsonsfield Academy and Piper Free High School”.  In 1899 Mr. Bartlett Doe visited his home town, became interested in the school and provided money for remodeling, repairs and a new boys’ dormitory.  He also started a trust fund for the school and at his death in 1901 endowed further money for the trust and for building the girl’s dormitory in 1906.

   The number of students attending Par Sem, as it is often called, varied over the years with the number dwindling during WWII and closure became inevitable.  The last class to graduate was June 8, 1949 with nine students.  The buildings were utilized for Parsonsfield’s schools for a few more years but closed for good in 1952.

 These buildings stand today and are maintained by the “Friends of Par Sem” a volunteer group who work hard to ensure this important part of Parsonsfield’s history is not lost and the buildings continue to be used. 

   The dormitory building shown above (boys at one end and girls at the other) is “Doe Hall” and the academy building, “Seminary Hall”, on the right, is located a little beyond to the south.  Interior view below.  (There is still time to buy your raffle tickets!  Drawing will be Saturday October 24 at History House.  It is also the last day to see the exhibit, "Coming Home".)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Telling Your Story-A Three Part Event

  We all have them.  That box of old photographs.  What do you do with them?  They are all part of a story, your story.  On Saturday, 12 September 2015 you can learn how to put that story together.  In a digital presentation by Patricia Turner you will discover why telling your story is so important.  It is the first of three events on chronicling your family story in a digital scrapbook.

Part One: Telling Your Story-the basics 9/12/15 @ 1:30 pm at the History House

Part Two: On-Line Research 9/16/15 @ 7pm at the Kezar Falls Library.  Bring your own laptop or use the library's computers but space is limited.  You can sign up for, a 30 day free trial is available.  Information found on the library's computers cannot be save.

Part Three: Putting it All Together 9/20/15 from 1-4 pm at the History House.  An appointment is strongly encourage as space is limited.  This event coincides with the Open House at History House and you will be able to peruse the newspaper scrapbooks of local history.  You are asked to bring your laptop, scanned photos and stories.  You will learn a simple way of creating your first family chronicle page.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Concert at the Porter Old Meeting House

   Local singer/musician Katherine Rhoda will give a concert at the annual Porter Old Meeting House open house on Sunday 6 September 2015 from 1 - 3pm.

   The concert is free and informal.  Come and sit in the lovely old box stall pews of this fantastic early 19th century building.  It is a building that is meant to have the melodious tones of this gifted artist filling its space.  She plays a variety of rare musical instruments like the Marxophone, dolceola, violin-guitar and others and is always a delight to listen to.

   Come see the progress that is being made on window restoration.  Donations will be gratefully accepted to continue the work.  This building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a treasure worthy of our efforts to assure it will last for generations to come.

   If you haven't had an opportunity to purchase your raffle tickets for the lovely quilt you will be able to do that as well.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!  To all those who volunteered their time on Saturday in setting up, manning and packing up our yard sale...well done!  The fire department set up a big canopy and the Boy Scouts were a huge help in setting up the tables as well as lugging boxes out. Thanks to all who baked for the bake sale too.  It is an important part of the event.  We had perfect weather for the sale and we had our best sale...EVER!  It couldn't have happened without all your efforts.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Annual Yard and Bake Sale at History House....

22 August 2015
9 - 1:00 pm
at History House
Main Street 
Kezar Falls
   There is still time to drop off your gently used items for the annual yard sale to the porch at History House.  You can also bring baked goods to the front yard of History House at 9 am on Saturday. 

   We are also in need of help setting up the sale, between 7 am and 9 am, and taking it down at 1 pm.  No items to donate?  No time to bake?  We also accept gently used bills of any denomination.  Let's try to make this year the best sale yet!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Open House at Parsonsfield’s Old Town House Saturday, August 15, 2015 from 1 to 3pm

Middle Road Village was once considered the heart of Parsonsfield.  It was here that the early meetings were held, where the first church was built and the first Town House and Town offices were located.  Once there was a store, a post office, library,  church, a cemetery with some of Parsonsfield’s earliest settlers and much more at this one corner where Middle Road and Merrill Hill Road intersect. 

This once a year event will open the 1832 Town House to the public, so everyone can see this unique structure now on the National Register of Historic Places. Town Houses/Meeting Houses are unique to New England and this one is even more unique due to its construction and it’s sloping floor that allows for better audience viewing.

As the building sat idle except for occasional use in 2001 a group undertook to preserve the building.  The ROOT group (Restore Our Old Town house), led by the intrepid Barbara Korn and co-chair Diane Morrill, made some great improvements that will add years to the life of the building.  They also established a wonderful garden adjacent to the building.
Come visit this unique building, find out more about the neighborhood, and learn about 19th century gardens on Saturday, August 15 from 1 to 3.  Refreshments will be served, a self-guided cemetery walk will be available (wear sturdy shoes), exhibits & displays will highlight some of the past buildings and inhabitants of Middle Road Village. The garden talk will begin around 2 o’clock.

If you have stories, photos, memorabilia to share, please bring them along. We’d love to  have more information.  

Mark your calendars:

Saturday, August 15, 2015
1 pm - 3 pm