Monday, August 25, 2014

Open House this Sunday at the Porter Old Meeting House....

Come enjoy an afternoon of music
at the
Sunday, Aug. 31, 2013     1 – 3 pm

Pianist Frank Baxter will be playing a variety of music on the Meeting House organ accompanied by vocalist Kathleen Ford.
This is also an opportunity to tour this local gem and learn about its history

Rain or Shine!
Located on Old Meeting House Road, Porter, ME

Directions: from Kezar Falls Village: take Rt. 25 West to Colcord Pond Rd., then right on Old Meeting House Rd. From Porter Village: take First County Rd., bear left at Colcord Pond Rd. then right on Old Meeting House Rd.
FMI call– 625 7019
Sponsored by
Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society
(Sorry, no “facilities” available)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Open House at the Parsonsfield Old Town House

Old cemeteries can be found along many of our roads in this part of Maine. Parsonsfield, for instance, has nearly 200 of them. Some are the final resting places of the original settlers of the area.

   This past Saturday, the Old Parsonsfield Town House was open to the public and many people took advantage of the rare opportunity to see the inside of the building that once was the center of community life in this town and to find out more about the adjacent Town House Cemetery.

    The open house, sponsored by the Parsonsfield Porter Historical Society, featured an array of exhibits focusing on the once bustling Middle Road Village and who used to live there.  

     Special guest speaker, Jessica Davis (formerly Jessica Felix), spoke about old New England cemeteries and gravestones and how to best preserve them. Her talk was filled with fascinating historical details about burials and how stones and their design changed over time. Even more interesting, she led a walk through the Town House Cemetery and demonstrated the proper method of cleaning stones and a simple (and non-damaging) method for setting a tilted or downed stone upright.  Everyone paid rapt attention. 

     If anyone would like a copy of Jessica’s handout on cemetery restoration and the do’s and don’ts of caring for the stones,, please contact Lyn Sudlow ( with “Gravestones” in the subject line.

            The next meeting of the Parsonsfield Porter Historical Society will take place at the Porter Old Meeting House on (appropriately enough) the Old Meetinghouse Road in Porter.  To find out more about another gem of an historic meetinghouse, come to the open house on Sunday, August 31 between 1 and 3pm.  This building is on the National Register of Historic Places (as is the Parsonsfield Old Meeting House) and well worth a visit. Besides the opportunity to tour the building, pianist Frank Baxter will be playing the Meeting House organ accompanied by vocalist Kathleen Ford.  To find out more, visit the historical society’s blog: or call Jan @ 625-7019.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Special Event at the Parsonsfield Town House - Middle Road Village

Curious about Parsonsfield’s Old Town House or the Union Church?  Do you know who is buried in the Old Town House cemetery?  Want to know more about Middle Road Village in days past?  How can we preserve what remains?

Come to our
Open House!
 August 16
 from 1 to 3 pm

Old Town House
Merrill Hill Road

            Both the old Town House and the Union Church across the road will be open.  The Town House will feature displays and information about Middle Road Village, its buildings and its people. You can get a peak at renovations to the interior of the Union Church.

Special guest speaker: Jessica Felix
(You can check out the website, Save a Grave, for more information.)

            Parsonsfield has nearly 200 cemeteries; many are small family plots hidden along back roads and in the woods. Gravestone specialist Jessica Felix, will talk about the do’s and don’ts of gravestone care and cleaning and lead a walk through the Town House Cemetery beginning around 1:30 at the Town House.

            If you care about the past, if you have photos or more information about Parsonsfield’s buildings or people in days past, we’d love to talk with you. If you have ideas for how we can preserve and utilize these buildings, please come share.

FMI: Lyn Sudlow: or 625-8189.
Sponsored by the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society

Sunday, July 27, 2014

An excellent talk at the History House....

   Despite the beautiful weather and lots of other local activities, the talk on getting started on your family history by Brian Bouchard of the Maine Genealogical Society was very well attended.

   Brian gave us a basic introduction to how to "climb your family tree".  He stressed the importance of talking to living members of your family before anything else.  As he said, "Your ancestors can wait, those living may not be with you for long...get their stories."

   Here are five questions you can use to start the conversation with a family member:

1. "What are your earliest memories?"
2. "Tell me some of your favorite family stories."
3. "What was the happiest time of your life?"
4. "Which person in your family had the most influence in your life?"
5. "What have you done that gave you the most satisfaction?"

   The most important thing to remember when interviewing people is to keep the questions open-ended and focus on the positive.  You can always ask more specific questions once the stories start, like "What year did that happen?", "Do you remember where you were when that happened?"/

   Brian also emphasized the need to not rely solely on internet searches but to visit local historical societies (hint, hint!) and most importantly, talk to people.  You can visit the Maine Genealogical Societies website, Maine Roots, for more information.

Word for the day:  AHMENTAFEL - a German word for an ancestor chart, something you can make after a bit of research.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Digging for Your Roots - Geneaology 101

   Brian Bouchard of the Maine Genealogy Society will be our presenter on Saturday, July 26, 2014.  After a brief business meeting at 1:00 pm,  Brian will be doing a talk entitled:

Digging for Your Roots -
Genealogy 101

   Brian will be offering us ways to begin our research and how to use local resources in your quest to uncover your personal history.

   Old photographs are often a place we begin this journey and the link below will offer you some clues on dating the photographs you find through clothing and hair style, which is a gentle reminder, be sure you date and identify all your photographs for future generations!  Hope to see you at the History House on Saturday, July 26th for the presentation.

Dating Old Photographs

Delaney playing 'dress up'
A corner of 'Grandma's Attic'
Our exhibit at the Ossipee Valley Fair this year, "Grandma's Attic" was awarded a Blue Ribbon as the first place display! Special thanks must go to Jan Iler, Merry Shea and Gary Lee for their hard work in the oppressive heat to set up the exhibit. The result was well worth it.
A reminder: we will be selling raffle tickets for the beautiful quilt at the meeting. It is an important fundraiser for the society and I hope you will support our efforts by purchasing a ticket, $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Visit to the Playhouse Theater...

   The new owner, or as he calls himself, steward, of the the old Playhouse Theater, Silas Hagerty, gave historical society members and local residents a very informative tour of the renovated theater on Saturday, June 28, 2014.

   Silas, along with countless friends who donated their time to the massive renovation project, has done a masterful job bringing the old theater back.  There are still seats to restore and install but you can see that it won't be too long before the smell of popcorn will again grace the lobby.

   Silas has promised to keep us appraised of the progress of the theater and we will post updates here on the blog as they become available.  We all wish Silas best of luck in his endeavor and thank him for saving this local landmark.

   On another note, our annual yard/bake sale was a huge success!  We were so lucky to have dodged Hurricane Arthur and the day went extremely well thanks to all the volunteers, including the Kezar Falls Boy Scouts, who helped us set up in record time.  Nothing like a little muscle to make things go quickly!

   A special thanks to all who donated things for us to sell.  The quality of the items was especially good this year which helped a lot.

This is also fair week in South Hiram and the historical society, along with Hiram and Cornish, will again be mounting an exhibit at the fair grounds in the Grange Building.

 This year, our theme is "Grandma's Attic".  We will have a special dress up corner for the kids and we will be selling raffle tickets for our lovely quilt.

  Do stop by and say "Hi!" and get your raffle tickets or a copy of the historical societies' histories of Parsonsfield and Porter.

   Our next meeting, on July 26, 2014 will feature Brian Bouchard from the Maine Genealogy Society.  His talk will be "Digging for your Roots: Genealogy 101".  There will be more information to follow but pencil this date in.  It should prove very interesting.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tour of the Playhouse Theater...

Program Saturday,
June 28, 2014
Meeting - 1 p.m.
Program 1:30 p.m.
at the former
Kezar Falls Movie Theater
21 Main Street ,Kezar Falls Village (Rt. 160)

The new owner, Silas Hagerty, has invited us to come and tour the old PLAYHOUSE THEATER where K.F. residents young and old enjoyed popular movies of the day -  silent movies then talkies, including Saturday matinees, cartoons and news reels.  He will talk about its history and his plans for its future.


Built by Dr. Edwin Chellis around 1884, the Playhouse Theater was first known as Meionaon Hall and had a skating rink at its grand opening.  A stage was added in 1887. 

 Over the years the hall was used in many ways. High school basketball was played there before a gym existed, Porter High graduation exercises, dances and entertainment of many types were held there. 

 Roland Stanley operated the first movie theater there – silent films, then talkies.  The Town of Porter owned it for a time and held Town Meetings there. 

 About 1940 Phil Welch’s father bought it from the Town of Porter for $5,000 for a movie theater and agreed to allow the town to continue to hold town meetings there.  The Playhouse Theater as it was then known ceased to show movies in 1971. It was then used as a warehouse for Welch’s Discount Store.

   Now, aren't you curious to see the inside and hear Silas's plans for this old theater?  Mark your calendars, you wouldn't want to miss this rare opportunity to see some local history up close and personal!