The rain stopped on Saturday, July 3 just in time for the festivities at Boothbay Railway Village Museum’s Olde Village Days. Crowds of families – locals, vacationers and summer residents – arrived in time for the 10 a.m. start to the fun, old-fashioned time.
The steam train was running, operated by engineers John and Cathy Orne. By 3 p.m. Cathy said there had been 15 trips around the Village. Jim Hudson’s 1930 Model A Sport Coupe was proving quite popular as well: “Yeah, I’m a friend of Charlie’s (Bamburg) and he enticed me to do this – and I’m having a good time, too!”
The small engine exhibit drew attention. Willie Ellis brought his circa 1915 Robertsonville engine. Originally from Canada, the engine was brought down to Augusta for sawing wood. Ellis bought it about 35 years ago, salvaged from a junkyard. He first started exhibiting at BRVM in 1977 and is on the museum’s board of directors. Kids are often drawn to these old engines. “Most of the time the first thing they ask is, ‘What is it?’ followed by ‘What does it do?”
Kids were riding in the barrel train, games of cornhole toss and hacky sack were on the Village Green. Some kids danced to the rock ’n roll of the Double Entendre Trio. The band also helped gather the children around the State of Maine’s ginormous birthday cake to join in the sing-along. The cake, yellow and chocolate, was donated by Hannaford.
Burgermeisters Charlie Bamberg and Steve Reynolds were at the grill, Caleb Hodgdon was the barrel train engineer; Lori Reynolds, Dana Paolillo and others were volunteering at the food and beverages table, the old time hot dog and popcorn carts.
This free event also included all of the historic buildings from Freeport Station to the old Grover’s Hardware; the Antique Auto Museum and model railroad exibits, to the old schoolhouse.
The Maine Bicentennial Exhibition in the Town Hall was visually wonderful and educational. Exhibits were donated by Lincoln County Historical Association, Newcastle Historical Society, Friends of Westport Island History, Boothbay Region Historical Society, Washburn-Norlands Living History Center, South Bristol Historical Society and Boothbay Railway Museum.
The exhibit includes history and artifacts from the old Heal Family Lumber Mills, the Washburn family and its Norlands homestead, Furber (water) pumps; people in the exhibit include Ebenezer Decker, a Southport fisherman whose family dates to the Revolutionary War, the family’s boats and Decker’s development/refinement of a fishing weight, the Decker’s Patent Lead; author Patty Tucker Stapleton of Castle Tucker whose first published story was “Trailing Yew: A Story of Monhegan” in 1891; Edbury Hatch of Newcastle, a woodcarver of figureheads; the politically prominent Washburn brothers, Isreal Jr. and Elihu, who was an advisor to President Abraham Lincoln ... just to name a few.
The 1867 Norlands Homestead model by Carl Churchill of Buxton, 9.5 feet by 3.5 feet, was loaned by Washburn-Norlands Living History Center. The model is of the family home, with attached farmer’s cottage and barn as it was in 1867; the detailing and overall size are fascinating. There are silk samplers sewn by Chamberlain, and a gorgeous wedding dress of simplistic elegance, worn by Hannah D. Norris of Pittston on Oct. 25, 1825 on her wedding to Edmund Bridge Bowman. The cotton dress, embroidered with flowers, has a modest train and delicate wreath headpiece. In contrast, a colorful party dress stands next to it but both are quite diminutive!
The Maine 200+1 Exhibit runs through Aug. 8.
Olde Village Days and the Bicentennial + 1 Exhibition proved extremely popular. Marketing and Events Coordinator Lori Reynolds said, “We were really busy this morning! We will easily surpass 1,000 people by 5 (p.m.). Everyone is having a good time. The board of directors and Village volunteers are all helping out. And, I want to thank Hannaford for the cakes and Mine Oyster Catering & Tent Rentals for donating the tents. It’s been a great event!”
And there are more events on the horizon at BRVM! Check it out: https://railwayvillage.org. Boothbay Railway Village Museum, at 586 Wiscasset Road/Route 27, Boothbay, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.