Saturday, October 31, 2015

Readfied History Walk #32 11/13/2015 ~ Tours of the Community Library / Currier - Eaton House; Masonic Hall; and Readfield Grange

The final Readfield History Walk of this year will take place rain or shine at Readfield Corner. Walkers should meet at Gile Hall, 8 Old Kents Hill Road by 10am. From there we will walk to the Readfield Community Library to begin phase one of a three part tour.

Readfield Community Library is housed in the historic Dr. Samuel Currier homestead. Dr. Currier was the first doctor at Readfield Corner and his son George, who also lived at this homestead, followed in his father’s footsteps. Together Dr. Samuel and Dr. George Currier served as town physicians for 75 years. The circa 1800 building was donated to the Town of Readfield in 1945 by their grand-daughter Alice Eaton, for use as a community gathering place. For many years it was known as the Currier-Eaton House and also called “The Community House”.   Activities and meetings were held at The Community House such as Lions Club, Boy and Girl Scouts, Little Town Club, dancing classes, Rifle Club and more. Readfield Community Library has been housed here for the greater part of the past seventy years.

Following a tour of the library walkers will proceed to the second floor of the Masonic Block where John Lord will show the Lafayette Masonic Lodge. Free Masons is the oldest and largest fraternity in the world whose motto is "Better men make a better world." The Readfield Masons was founded in 1826 and met for several years on the second floor of Lory Bacon's store across the street. He was their first Readfield lodge master. They eventually constructed their own building on the present site which burned in the great fire of June 11, 1921 as did nearly all of Readfield Corner. By that fall the Masons laid the cornerstone in a special ground-breaking ceremony and the Masonic Block, as we know it today, was rebuilt within months of the tragic fire. The Masons have contributed to the community in many ways over the past two centuries.

Finally, history walkers will go to the old Readfield Grange Hall for a tour. Readfield Grange # 217 was organized March 24, 1876 with 38 charter members – only three years after the first chapters were organized in Maine. For 21 years their meetings were held in private homes until this hall was built in 1897. The organization was an integral part of life in Readfield. It was here where farmers and others gathered to socialize, learn new farming methods, and share political and local concerns. Among the benefits were cooperative buying of insurance, seeds and agricultural supplies. Readfield Grange remained active until about a decade ago, and was then owned by Golden Guys and Gals Senior Citizens for several years. In 2014 Nicole Danielson opened Maple Tree Community School for K-8 here. The building has been adapted to include a science lab, art room, library, dining room and a performing arts space, but the beautiful hardwood floors and other original features have been retained.

Walkers are invited to bring a sandwich and eat at the old grange hall following the tour. Plans are already in the making for history walks next spring. FMI  Request that email reminders be sent directly to you by sending your name and email address to

Friday, October 2, 2015


Dale Potter-Clark and Bill Adams have researched about 150 pre-1900 Readfield houses over the past couple of years with plans to write a book. They are currently collaborating with Readfield Historical Society to see that house circa signs are placed on some of those old homes and also that a  "Museum in the Streets" is created. Dale has taken the lead in securing orders and raising the funding. Contact her for more info at 
The house circa signs are phase 1 of a three phase effort:
Phase 1 House Circa Signs
Phase 2 This is an offshoot of the Readfield History Walks. In researching for history walks so much info about various sites throughout town has been unearthed. To preserve information about those sites for visitors and future generations a Readfield “Museum in the Streets” will be created with hopes to move forward with this phase in time for Readfield’s 225th anniversary in 2016. 
Phase 3 Potter-Clark and Adams will publish a comprehensive book titled Old Houses in Readfield and the People Who Lived in Them

Readfield History Walk # 31 ~ Whittier Homesteads on North Road and Hike into Quimby Bog ~ 10/30/2015

Whittier homestead with Moses Eaton stencils the focus of Readfield History Walk
On October 30th Readfield History Walkers will enjoy a walk into Quimby Bog, and afterwards visit the circa 1801 Josiah Whittier homestead on North Road, which harbors restored Moses Eaton stencils.
Participants will meet and park at 183 North Road, Readfield and from there will hike to Quimby Bog on a private trail. The trek covers about 1.5 miles round trip and is considered moderate by the landowners. Quimby Bog is named for Dr. Samuel Quimby of Mt. Vernon, an early physician and mill owner. The southernmost part of Quimby Bog can be seen from route 17 in Readfield Depot, and from there it extends north to Dunn's Corner, Mt. Vernon. The settlement known as Dunn's Corner developed around Dr. Quimby’s grist mill, sawmill and shingle mill which he managed from about 1810 until 1850.  
Upon completion of the hike participants will return to the Josiah Whittier homestead.
Josiah Whittier was a son of Moses, who came to Readfield from Raymond, NH with his wife and ten children about 1788. Moses settled 200 acres on the road then called “Whitcher Road” (the old spelling and pronunciation for Whittier), but known today as North Road. Moses’ sons Josiah, Beniah and Moses, Jr as well as three grandsons - Hiram, Joseph and True Whittier - followed in his footsteps. Some of Moses’ daughters married men from this area of town and also settled nearby – one being his son-in-law Nathaniel Jose for whom Jose Hill is named. In that area of town there remains four original "Whitcher" homesteads.
History Walkers will have the opportunity to view restored Moses Eaton stencils inside the Josiah Whittier homestead. Eaton was from New Hampshire, born 1792, and apprenticed under his father, Moses Sr.  He struck out on his own as an itinerant artist and his travels brought him into Maine where examples of his work still exist.  Eaton stenciled inside both Josiah Whittier’s house and his father’s house next door.
Participants to meet by 10:00 a.m. at 183 North Road, located 0.8 miles after turning off route 17. Walkers will receive information about the Whittier family and their contemporary neighbors, Samuel Wing and his son Daniel, who arrived here about 1780, and others who came to this part of Readfield early on. Walking sticks and sturdy, waterproof footwear is recommended. Bring a sandwich if you wish to eat lunch with the group afterwards. There is no fee for Readfield History Walks. Donations in support of the historical site markers project are welcome. Checks can be made payable to Readfield Historical Society. 
Of note - Moses, Sr's daughter Lydia's second marriage was to Simeon Ladd, Jr. in 1821 (history walk #30). 

Thursday, October 1, 2015


OCTOBER 20, 1927 ~ SEPTEMBER 21, 2015

Upper Church Road abounded in farmland in the 19th and early to mid 20th centuries. Abutting homesteads included those of Stephen Norton, Joel Bean, Dudley Fogg, Simeon Ladd, Jr. and William Elliott, John L. Williams. Most settled in Readfield about the same time between 1800-1806. The Norton and Bean families were here much earlier before  1790. In 1917 the Fogg and Ladd families also "joined" when Sam Fogg married Inez Turner daughter of Fred & Lydia (Ladd) Turner. The Ladd and original Elliott farmhouses are no longer, but the Fogg house and others remain. 
There were three Elliott farms in this immediate area. Barbara and Sam Fogg, Jr, son of Sam and Inez, owned and farmed one of them (Fike in 2015) for several years - until they moved to the ancestral Fogg Homestead to take it over from his parents. Two Elliot farms remain, on the west side of upper Church Road. One is now owned by Brandon & Jessica Fike and the other is that of Russ & Joy Walters. Before the Fikes, and after Sam and Barbara, that farm was owned by Jessica's parents Pete & Kay Gilman. The Walters farm has been in that family for close to 100 years having been owned by Russ' maternal grandparents - the Sawyers - and then by his parents Phil and Kathryn Walters.
We will see parts of the Elliott and Ladd foundations that have endured over time. Three old stone causeways have recently been discovered in the woods, and we will be able to see one or two of them for the first time since they were discovered by the landowners. Our thanks to Peter Davis and Deb Doten for hosting us for this history walk; and to Bill & Flo Drake and Adam Ireland for welcoming us to view the Ladd homestead foundation on their newly acquired property. Meet no later than 10am at Gile Hall, 8 Old Kents Hill Road, and we will caravan from there. Important to wear sturdy water-proof walking shoes or hiking boots this time and bring a walking stick. After the walk we are invited to the Fogg Homestead to eat lunch (bring your own sandwich) and enjoy the beautiful view. Of note - Simeon Ladd's 2nd wife was Lydia Whittier, whose family homestead we will visit next time (History Walk #31 Oct. 30, 2015).