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Lincoln, Maine

A Town of Hearty, Resilient Souls

Lincoln Historical Society

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Challenges of the Lincoln Historical Society
by Jeannette King & Dottie Murchison

The Lincoln Historical Society has seen its own trials and tribulations in its struggle to keep and organize the history of the town. Before the creation of a historical society, the historic documents of the town were left to deteriorate wherever they might be. It took the dedication of a Lincoln woman to bring the town together and create an organization to preserve its history.

Corro House, Lincoln, ca. 1900
Corro House, Lincoln, ca. 1900

Item Contributed by
Lincoln Historical Society

Mary Buzzell was the librarian when the Lincoln Memorial Library opened its doors in 1925. A few years later, she took a position at the Bangor Public Library. Due to ill health, Mary returned to Lincoln and pursued her devotion to local history and genealogy. Over the course of a few months interest grew; and, on July 8, 1935, the Lincoln Historical Society (LHS) was founded.

LHS meetings were held in various homes and at the town library until the former Primary School building was obtained for meetings and displays. The museum opened in 1974 in a schoolroom organized with artifacts collected by Lincoln resident, John Weatherbee. Eventually, the museum expanded to four rooms of exhibits; but, a few years later, the town decided to demolish the building to make way for a senior housing complex. As a result, the Society was forced to store artifacts in the former Ballard Hill School, and LHS meetings had to be held in the library once again.

Attendance at LHS meetings declined over the next twenty years until only a handful of citizens turned out; but then the Society started to gain new members. As membership grew, LHS moved to Ballard Hill School to conduct meetings and to display artifacts. When the Society needed money to support its growth, the members decided to write and publish The Pictorial History of Lincoln.

In 1996 the historic Little Red Schoolhouse was offered to the LHS if it could be moved from its location at the high school to land across from the library that had been donated by Eastern Fine Paper Company in 1947. This move proved to be an invaluable step in the preservation of Lincoln’s history.

When the Ballard Hill School became a community center, the LHS was asked to find a new location. A building on West Broadway became available and profits from the sale of The Pictorial History of Lincoln had given the LHS enough money to make a down payment. After massive renovations, the building was ready to house the new museum. The LHS created an apartment upstairs to help supplement their income. There was a 10-year mortgage on the building that could be paid off in four years, thanks to sales from the book, a paper-recycling center, rent from the apartment, and various endowments. Ten years after the acquisition of this building, however, the LHS outgrew the facility. Consideration was given to putting on an addition until one day LHS president, Jeannette King, had an epiphany while driving by the Corro house, also located on West Broadway. “What a fitting place to preserve Lincoln’s history!” she thought. “After all, the Corro house is one of the most historic buildings in town.”

The town had purchased the Corro house with plans to expand the library next door. Eventually, the town decided the building needed to be torn down; but Jeannette King talked to the town manager about her interest in the building. A trove of LHS members attended a town meeting and showed their support for the historic building, and Mrs. King went before the town council to speak of the value of the town’s history. The members of the council decided to table the decision to tear down the building; and, after a petition was submitted, the council decided to lease the building to the LHS for a dollar a year for 10 years.