Calendar & Links

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View From Paper Mill 1900

All presentations, unless otherwise indicated, begin at 6:30 PM in the Topsham Public Library.  No presentations are offered in July, August or December.

UPCOMING PROGRAMS:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 6:30 – 7:45 PM: DUCK HUNTING ON MERRYMEETING BAY

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For nearly a century, Merrymeeting Bay has been a favorite game area for duck hunters.  While declining populations of birds have reduced the interest in their hunting, many local gamers still appreciate an early October morn in the mist of the Bay.

Frank Burroughs will lead a panel of local sportsmen to talk about hunting on the Bay, yesteryear and today.  All are cordially invited to attend.  Mr. Burroughs has been an avid outdoorsman since growing up in South Carolina, and for many years has spoken and written about the Bay, its beauty, its history and its ecological importance.  As author of “Confluence: Merrymeeting Bay” (along with photographer Heather Perry), Franklin is a revered spokesperson for the interests of the Bay.

 

Tuesday, November 14 6:30 – 7:45 PM: FOUR GENERATIONS OF TOPSHAM FARMERS – THE RACKLEY FAMILY

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Harry and Winfred Rackley – Circa 1922 

The November meeting of the Topsham Historical Society will feature the Rackley family.  Stephen Rackley moved to Topsham in 1832 and was the first of four generations of dairy farmers.  The original farm house still stands along US 201.

The lives and times in which they lived will broaden the appreciation of what makes Topsham the town it now is.  Come early to see a gallery of related photos on display at the Topsham Library.

No meeting in December.  See you on Tuesday, January 9!

 

PAST PROGRAMS:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017: BLACK HISTORY AT OUR DOORSTEP – THE ABYSSINIAN MEETING HOUSE

Representatives from the Abyssinian Meeting House will be sharing the fascinating and important place this historic gem has in the Underground Railway movement.  Built in 1828 by free blacks, the Meeting House became a cultural center of the Portland community and served as a focal point for the abolition of slavery.  Restoration of this historic landmark (on the National Registry of Historic Places) began in 1997 and continues to this day.

Did the Abyssinian community influence the Underground Railway movement in our Topsham/Brunswick area, and, if so, how?  What is the restoration project all about and how can we support it?  Come join us on the 14th for a riveting presentation, discussion and answers!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017: DUCK HUNTING ON MERRYMEETING BAY

POSTPONED UNTIL TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017: THE 5TH MAINE – A CIVIL WAR TALK

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John McLellan

Curtis Mildner, Civil War amateur Civil War historian and Trustee of the Fifth Maine Regiment Museum on Peaks Island will speak on April 11.  His entertaining presentation, “Amazing Stories of the Fifth Maine” will describe the experiences of seven soldiers of the Fifth Maine Volunteer Regiment.  This includes the tragic story of a Maine farm boy, a surgeon captured by the Confederates, a soldier only known by a personal ad in a newspaper, an African American member of the regiment, an Irish immigrant who served in both the Federal and Confederate armies, an ordinary soldier revered by his comrades and promoted, and an officer who met his end just a few miles from where his grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017: THE SHIPYARDS OF BATH

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Frederic B. Hill will be telling us about the colorful local history of the Bath shipyards with emphasis on a prominent Topsham resident, Wildes Walker.  Wildes Walker is the scoundrel who played a major role in the shipyard’s downfall and the subject of Mr. Hill’s book (Copies of the books will be available for sale after the presentation).
Amazon.com says about the book:

“Brothers William Donnell Crooker and Charles Crooker were among the most prominent mid-nineteenth-century shipbuilders in Bath, Maine, itself one of the most prominent shipbuilding cities in the world during that time. This colorful history of the Crookers’ company by the great-great grandson of William Donnell provides a thorough overview of a family, its contributions to shipbuilding, and the historic sweep of shipbuilding in the area, as well as a fascinating glimpse into everyday life in Maine during this time. Today, a small portion of Maine’s twenty-first-century shipbuilder, Bath Iron Works, occupies land that was once the Crooker yard.”

Tuesday, June 13, 2017: THE ULSTER SCOTS IN BOWDOINHAM – AN ARCHEOLOGICAL DIG

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Brad McFadden will be sharing the excitement of the archeological dig now taking place on the Bowdoinham property of his 10th great-grandfather.  That Ulster Scot pioneer and his descendants have been living there since 1718!  Brad’s presentation will be enhanced with photos and artifacts.  A preview of the Ulster Scots symposium scheduled for August 14-16, 2018 and marking the 300th anniversary will also be shared.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 6:30 – 7:30 PM: MERRYMEETING PARK

MERRYMEETING PARK

This image courtesy of the Pejepscot Historical Society.  From the Charles Gamache Collection. 1989.100.3

Merrymeeting Park of Brunswick was one of a handful of historic trolley parks in Maine.   A short video produced by Mark Ireland of MI Media will kick off the evening.  It recounts the fascinating history of the park which graced the shores of Merrymeeting Bay from 1898-1907.  Vaudeville acts, a zoo, a dance pavilion, diving horses and a huge casino/lodge were among the attractions that were free (for the cost of a trolley fare).  The video also affectionately profiles some trolley park aficionados who have worked tirelessly to keep these stories alive.

“Merrymeeting Park” is an excerpt, a sneak-peak from an upcoming 4-part film series on the history of Merrymeeting Bay, produced by MI Media.  The series is slated for broadcast on Maine Public and will be screened in local venues as each installment is released.

Mark and Chris Gutscher (the park’s local historian) will be on hand for questions after the screening.

(additional info on the park: http://community.curtislibrary.com/CML/history/mmpark/)

RECOMMENDED WEB SITES:

 Pejepscot Historical Society

Town of Topsham Events

Bowdoinham Historical Society

Harpswell Historical Society

Maine Memory Network