First, we thank our friends and supporters for all the ways you have contributed to the preservation of Freedom’s cultural history. As our Society has steadily grown, you may have attended one of our events like the “Freedom Follies” or volunteered on a work project like wood cutting at Keen Hall or moving and cleaning artifacts into the Old Town Meeting House, or have contributed financially to our work. Like a church sign on Rt. 3 that says “Little Church: Big Faith,” our group is small in numbers, yet is slowly accomplishing big projects.
Our current preservation project is the restoration of Keen Hall, the former Freedom Academy Principal’s House. After five large dumpster loads of interior and basement demolition, we continue in the process of obtaining estimates from contractors for jacking the building and installing a new foundation. Local building contractor Glen Couturier of Halldale Builders is graciously volunteering his consultation, and guiding us through this complicated process. National Register guidelines require us to restore the entire building exactly as it existed during its life as the “Principal’s House,” including the back garage portion which we originally had planned to demolish. Although this section presents jacking challenges, in the end, we will have more useable space.
With appropriated Town funds, computer equipment has been purchased along with software to digitize all our archives. This will take many volunteer hours but will result in state of the art storage and utilization of our collections. Several members attended a workshop at Colby College on “Digitization of Archives.” A History student from Mt. View High School has begun working with Frances Walker to begin the long-term project. Volunteers will be needed to record and organize our entire collection which up until this point has been stored in filing cabinets in the Town Office building.
The Society needs new members and volunteers to participate in this challenging and exciting work of preserving our Town’s and the Academy’s cultural heritage. Many possibilities exist for contributing to the present and future quality of Freedom’s community life. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, your financial contribution to support our work is fully tax deductible. Annual membership dues are $10 per person. Larger contributions will be greatly appreciated and carefully used.
Please make a contribution which will help us show local support as we seek more outside foundation funding for our ambitious project. The latest grant proposals have been submitted to the Harold Alfond Charitable Trust and Bangor Savings Bank Foundation. Obtaining grants is competitive work, but we have made a good beginning and will continue to seek funding for the important projects the Society pursues.
Recently a generous member of the Town called with an offer to donate a full-sized spinning wheel to our collection. Our plan is to use the Old Town Meeting House for storage and exhibit of larger artifacts that do not require temperature or moisture control, and can be shown seasonally. The original Phone Switchboard from Freedom’s “Central” Office, a family pump organ, and a school desk already have begun this larger archive collection. Do you have some unique item to add to our collection?
“Save Keen Hall” souvenir coffee mugs (American flag and engraving of original Keen Hall) are available for sale with a contribution to FCHS of $25. Or become a FCHS member ($10 dues) and you can donate only $15 for the Mug.
"Echo" was the name of Freedom Academy’s yearbook. Our archives contain a partial collection of editions. Perhaps you have or know of other editions to contribute.