Saturday, September 24, 2016

Readfield History Walk #37 ~ A visit to the Readfield Union Meeting House and with some “Esteemed Residents” at Readfield Corner Cemetery

Saturday, October 15, 2016 (rain date Oct.22nd)
Morning refreshments at Union Meeting House (UMH), 22 Church Road
Thank you to Lakeside Orchards of Manchester for providing refreshments
10am-12noon  Will occur in three phases

Phase I: Begins at UMH where board of directors' president Marius Peladeau will give a tour and discuss the history of UMH, the historical features that led to the building's addition to the National Register of Historic Places; the board of directors ongoing efforts to repair and preserve the integrity of the building; opportunities available to the public for use of the building; current and future needs of the organization.
Next: Participants will walk or drive to the Readfield Corner Cemetery
Phase II: Readfield Historian Dale Potter-Clark will "introduce" walkers to some of the UMH members and founders with a focus on those whose names appear on the stained glass windows at UMH. Printed material will be shared with participants, which indicates who of the founders are also buried in Readfield Corner Cemetery. Questions will be encouraged.
Phase III: Anna Carll, Readfield Cemetery Sexton, will give a demonstration on how to easily clean gravestones using D2. This is a technique that is non-abrasive and inexpensive (compared to previously used power washing methods). It is used at Arlington National Cemetery and the White House as well as other notable cemeteries and valuable historic sites. The technique is endorsed by Maine Old Cemetery Association (MOCA) which has, this year, been offering workshops on how to clean stones with D2 at various locations throughout the State. Anna Carll attended one such session.
If you are unable to attend on Oct. 15th and wish to know more about this technique see photos and captions from History Walk #24. The Readfield Cemetery Committee was first introduced and learned how to use D2 at History Walk #24 two years ago and since then have been gradually cleaning gravestones in town. At History Walk #24 Libby Doak and Sharon Burns of Chelsea demonstrated how to clean stones using D2. Doak and Burns have done the cemeteries, as an all volunteer effort, in Chelsea and freely share what they have learned and experienced there with volunteers and sextons in other communities.
  This History Walk is a cooperative effort between the 
Readfield Cemetery Committee, Readfield Historical Society,
Readfield Trails Committee and Union Meeting House  
NOTE: There will also be a stone cleaning demo at Bean Cemetery, Bean Road, Mt. Vernon 2-4pm on Oct. 15 (rain date Oct 22) done by Bob Grenier, Mt. Vernon Cemetery Sexton. All are welcome to attend Grenier's session as well. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


For those who wish to read an article about History Walk #36, Sept. 23, follow this link to the Readfield Messenger (town newsletter) and see pages 17-18

The first Readfield History Walk of this fall will be held Friday, September 23rd when three aspects of town history, near Readfield Corner, will be included.

Walkers will first learn about the history and visit the original water source for several older homes at Readfield Corner - “the spring in John O. Craig’s pasture”. Craig’s spring fed at least eight homes on the west side of Church Road and on Main Street in the town’s early history. Remnants of the spring are still evident on private land, which participants will have the opportunity to view.

From there Walkers will venture to the Readfield Corner Water Association on Bill Bourret Drive to hear from Ed Dodge, current president of the association and Bill Bourret of Augusta, one of the founders and the association’s first president. The seed for the association was a 1986 petition to the State of Maine by several Readfield Corner residents after their wells were rendered unusable by gasoline contamination. Networking with neighbors had led them to knowing the source - an old underground fuel tank in the center of town that was seeping gasoline. Through research the petitioners learned they could draw upon legislation designed to combat ocean spills as a vehicle to present their case, which they did to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Bourret, who was the first one living at Readfield Corner to discover the problem in his own home, and a neighbor, Marie Brown, testified before the Maine State Legislature Finance Committee and also encouraged members of the Committee to visit the site and see the damage first hand, which they did. The end result was funding for the acquisition of land for a town well, site preparation, well drilling and casing, pressurized holding tanks and pumps, water lines, meters and the building to house the equipment. It was all paid for by the State of Maine from the “Coastal Oil Surveyance Super Fund”.  Dodge and Bourret will be on hand to share more, about when damage from the gas leak was first discovered and the remarkable process that ensued to correct the problem. This is a rare chance to hear this particular piece of Readfield history firsthand!

From the Water Association walkers will cross Church Road onto the site of the old Kennebec County Agricultural Fair to see recent improvements and additions made there by the Readfield Trails and Conservation Committees; and to hear about the days when the largest fair in Maine was held right here in Readfield! Participants should park in the parking lot at the Readfield Fairgrounds on Church Road by 10am. Bring a sandwich if you wish to share lunch at the home of Bill and Flo Drake immediately after the walk.

Readfield History Walks were started in October 2012 as a cooperative effort by members of the Readfield Historical Society and the Readfield Trails Committee. The objectives of the walks are for participants to learn more about the surrounding area - both current and historical - while enjoying the beauty and invigoration of the outdoors. According to where they are held various organizations, town committees, schools, churches, businesses and homeowners are included in the planning and in leading the tours. In most cases background information and research is provided through written material. FMI  email Dale Potter-Clark at Historical photos as well as some from the walk itself will be posted - see the right hand column, look for History Walk #36.