Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Skowhegan History House 75th anniversary plans

  SKOWHEGAN – The 75th anniversary of the Skowhegan History House Museum and Research Center at 66 Elm Street will be celebrated on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 1 – 3 p.m. Members of the public are welcome to join the celebration and are encouraged to bring a lawn chair, sit on the Riverside Lawns and enjoy the music of Peter Foxwell and Company.
   Local artisans will be on hand demonstrating their craft- wool spinning, blacksmith techniques, chair caning, and knitting with an early machine. Tours of the Museum & Research Center will be available along with refreshments and door prizes. Everyone is welcome and admission is free.

  Skowhegan History House, a private historic house and museum, was founded in 1937 by Louise Helen Coburn, who was then the 81-year-old niece of former Governor Abner Coburn. Its purpose was to accumulate, preserve, and display documents and artifacts related to Skowhegan’s history.
  The 1839 Greek revival cottage serves as a repository for many of Skowhegan’s unique historic records and archives. It is filled with antiques, furnishings, and other items of everyday life during the mid-1800s. Everything in the house was used within the community of Skowhegan.
   After the first settlers arrived in the late 1700s, the Philbrick brothers built a potter’s shed on the site of the Skowhegan History House Museum and Research Center. They used clay from the riverbank to make glazed earthenware for use throughout the growing community. Later a blacksmith, James H. K. Lord, more commonly known as “Deacon Lord,” bought the property where he and his wife raised ten children in this little home beside the Kennebec River.
  In 1863, a retiring farmer, Abraham Tilton, purchased the property which he and his two daughters occupied until their passing. The home was used as a warehouse for a number of years until 1936 when Louise Helen Coburn purchased the property, had the home refurbished to resemble a home of the 1850’s, and added a museum.
  Although born into a position of financial independence, Louise Helen Coburn grew up as a hard worker and a gifted student. She became the second woman to graduate from Colby College, having helped found the first women’s sorority there. She later became a Colby College Trustee, was an important philanthropist, and actively promoted higher education for women. Miss Coburn trained as a botanist and became a writer on that subject. She later published a number of works of her poetry and information pieces. In 1941, she published a comprehensive history of the town, “Skowhegan on the Kennebec.”
  For more information, visit www.skowheganhistoryhouse.org.

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