Wednesday, May 22, 2013

History Walk #11 ~ Hotel Maranacook and surrounding area ~ June 14th

Hotel Maranacook was one of several summer resorts and hotels that existed on Maranacook Lake from the late 1800's into the mid-20th century. None of them exist as such today. Most of the buildings that have survived are now privately owned camps or have been converted into year round homes. Land, for the most part, has been subdivided. There are no longer any summer resorts or hotels in Readfield. The Maranacook train station, post office and trolley were built to accommodate the large influx of summer tourists and residents so they are long gone, as is Readfield Depot.  
Hotel Maranacook

History Walkers enjoyed a tour of the area on Maranacook's west shore where Hotel Maranacook and Belvedere Cabins once boomed with summer guests and activities. Across the way and within sight was Tallwood Inn, which was equally as gregarious. We were graciously invited for a complete tour of Maranacook Lodge inside and out by the current owners, Scott and Holly Davis as well as their neighbor Linda Butman Kinney who also owns what used to be a part of Maranacook Lodge. 
Maranacook Train Station and Post Office
The tour far exceeded our expectations! 

If you are interested in having a copy of the old pictures that were prepared for this walk - email The 16 pages of pictures and newspaper stories also include some of other resorts and cabins on Maranacook Lake during the same era.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

HISTORY WALK #10 ~ Friday, June 7th Case Cemetery ~ North Manchester Meeting House ~ Shedd Pond

The North Manchester Meetinghouse was built in East
Readfield by Rev. Isaac Case in 1793 and moved
to Scribner Hill Rd. in North Manchester in 1839.
We began our walk at Case Cemetery, Route 17, East Readfield where Rev. Isaac Case built the East Readfield Baptist Church in 1793. The church was moved to North Manchester in 1839. When Rev. Case died in 1852 he was buried on the spot where his pulpit once was. His wife Joanna and son Elisha are on the same plot. In 1905 the Baptist Conference of Maine had a tablet memorial erected on that same spot, and it is still there. We also explored and found the entrance to Case Road which was long ago discontinued. It left route 17 a little east of the
Most of the Colonial features inside of
North Manchester Meeting House are intact.
The numbered pews have "gates" on every one.
churchyard. Rev. Case built his log cabin

We had a small group this time but a great walk!
Below is Rev. Isaac Case memorial at Case Cemetery.
on Case Road in 1795 and though it was located near the East Winthrop line he built it so he could see his church from his home. We were able to find the road because history tells us there were stone walls running parallel on either side of the road so we looked for those. From there we went to the North Manchester Meeting House for a tour. The church is still active though non-denominational now rather than Baptist. Then on to hike into nearby Shedd Pond. History Walkers received a 12 page document (with pictures) about Rev. Case in addition to information about the early settlers who lived in North Manchester (part of Readfield until 1850).

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Shedd Pond. Picture from Kennebec Land Trust web site.

Relief Savage Gordon Can Visit Your Time...

Relief Savage Gordon enjoyed that fresh air on May 21st when she visited Maranacook Community School, so she visited Readfield Historical Society on June 2nd. Many folks stopped by to meet and visit with the old dame. She sure did love seeing them all! Someone even came from the Kennebec Journal and wrote a story about her.

Relief will be visiting Maranacook Adult Ed October 23rd 6:30-8:pm. Registration is required so watch for your fall catalogue or check the Adult Ed Website FMI. 

Relief was born at old Fort Western in 1769 and died in Readfield at the ripe age of 92. Over the past few years she has “come alive” as a well known character in our parts. She has led historical bus tours in Readfield and likes to tell tales about her town, family and their way of life. Watch her come alive before your very eyes when Dale Potter Clark, historical interpreter and Relief’s 4th g-granddaughter, transforms herself into “Relief’s time.”

Relief says she knows someone who can get in touch with her if you'd like to arrange for a visit. She sure would appreciate a little donation to help feed her horse to get there and back home again! If she has to come too far she might even need a little "extree" for her "dinnah" and to stay at the local Inn!

Relief Savage Gordon came to visit Maranacook Community School Teen Issues Day

Relief Savage Gordon came out for a visit! She was stuck in that closet for way to long and was just itchin' to get out again so... she did two sessions at Maranacook Teen Issues Day on May 21st.

living History with Relief Savage Gordon (aka Dale Potter-Clark)

Relief Savage Gordon on a Readfield Historical Bus Tour.
Also pictured are the late Tom Adell and Rex Luce. Relief was
asking Tom if he had "a Luce (loose) connection." He allowed
he did with his usual sense of humor and jovial laugh! 
Relief was born at old Fort Western in 1769 and died in Readfield at the ripe age of 92. Over the past few years she has “come alive” as a well known character in our parts. She has led historical bus tours in Readfield and likes to tell tales about her town, family and their way of life. Hear about the process of Relief’s “revival” and watch her come alive before your very eyes when Dale Potter Clark, historical interpreter and Relief’s 4th g-granddaughter, transforms herself into “Relief’s time.” Dale Potter-Clark’s interest in local history dates back to her childhood, when her parents introduced her to their ancestors in Readfield, Mt. Vernon and Manchester. She worked as a historical interpreter at Norlands Living History Center for several years and subsequently developed the character of her own 4th g-grandmother, Relief Savage Gordon.  With Dale’s help, Relief has led local historical bus tours and has enjoyed outwitting visitors at Readfield Historical Society and about town.  Currently Dale organizes Readfield History Walks; serves on the Readfield Union Meeting House advisory board; and is an active member of Readfield Historical Society. Every once in a while Relief resurfaces – today will be one of those days!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Readfield History Walk # 9 ~ Jesse Lee Church and East Readfield Cemetery

Eileen Gilman Lord from Vienna
placing an American flag on the
grave of her 4thg-grandfather,
Nathanial Whittier. Whittier deeded land
for this cemetery in 1788; held the 1st
Winthrop town meeting at his house in
1771; and hosted Jesse Lee in 1793 when
he preached the first ever Methodist sermon in
Readfield. Eileen's paternal grandmother
was Olive Whittier of Vienna.
We toured Jesse Lee Methodist Meetinghouse in East Readfield. Built in 1795, it is the oldest Methodist Church in Maine and the oldest in New England to be still offering services. Following this tour we crossed Plains Road to East Readfield Cemetery where we placed American flags on the graves of our veterans. Four of our walker's have ancestors who are buried there and they were able to place the flags themselves. It was a beautiful day and a very enjoyable walk! 

"Young Charlie Elvin” joined us this time. His parents, Charlie and Marjorie, were among the founding members of the ORIGINAL History Walkers in the 1970s, which is the inspiration for what we are doing now! To learn more about those original walks visit the link below to read my tribute to them. I wrote this for the introduction to a book a few years ago. To Those Who Led The Way.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Readfield History Walk # 8 ~ Macdonald Woods and Readfield Town Farm & Forest Revisited

Howard Lake shared a wealth of information on many levels -
history, ecology, land transactions and development, and
even birds and wildlife that roam these woods.

Tim Sniffen shared information from his perspective as a
member of the Readfield Conservation Committee.
After our first History Walk here last October we learned of new information and resources, from Howard Lake, the steward of the Macdonald Woods. Howard is very knowledgeable about the land and it's history both in transactions and ecology. He also knows about the wildlife in this area - and is a "birder" to boot! Dale Potter-Clark, a local historian did additional research and we were all set to introduce the veteran walkers and several new ones to a comprehensive tour of these properties. Tim Sniffen from the Readfield Conservation Committee joined us and also two members from the Readfield Cemetery Committee - Grace Keene and Pam Olsen - as well as the ever present Milt Wright and Dale Clark. The result was a amazing thought provoking day that was rich in information, and the bonus of a beautiful sunny day - with NO black flies!