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Take a tour and learn about Bridgton's past and the evolution of Pondicherry Park's landscape. Search your favorite App Store
for "Bridgton History." Available for both Android and Apple iOS.

 

Help us document this unprecedented experience

We are living through something that will be remebered and talkesd about for generations. Why not keep a journal, be it in writing, video, or whatever medium you're most comfortable with, talking about your day-to-day activities and your impression of what is going on in the Bridgton community? Once this is all over we can archive the story for future generations.

Hours of Operation

Gibbs Avenue Museum
and
Blynn Davis Memorial Archives

5 Gibbs Ave., Bridgton, Maine 04009

July-August: Tuesday-Saturday, 1:00 - 4:00

No more than five visitors at a time. Please observe six-foot distancing requirements and wear a face covering if you are medically able to do so. We can handle only one researcher at a time, so please contact us in advance for an appointment (always recommended anyway!).

 

Narramissic

46 Narramissic Rd., Bridgton,Maine

House Tours in 2020 Available by Appointment Only

Maximum of 5 per group, and everyone must be from the same household; visitors must stay at least six feet away from  the docent. Please wear a face covering if you are medically able to do so. $30 per group, regardless of size

We will do our best to try to accommodate short notice and even same-day requests, but please contact us as far in advance as possible.

The gournds of Narramissic and the Peabody-Fitch Woods are open year round dawn to dusk.

Explore Our Collections Online

Civil War era Bridgton Newspapers, the Reporter from 1858-1863, and the Sentinel, 1863-1864 are now on-line thanks to a partnership with the Maine State Library.

www.digitalmaine.com/bridgton_sentinel

www.digitalmaine.com/bridgton_reporter

 

PastPerfect, our collections cataloging software, is available on-line!  If you're doing research, or just want to see what kind of cool stuff we have, check out this fully searchable online catalog. Researchers can get an idea of what we have before coming in, and if you're just interested and curious, get in touch with us and set up a time to come in and see the items in person. As you can imagine, entering all this data is still very much a work in progress, as we reduce a backlog of uncatalogued items, and add more images to the records. (And if you want to help speed that process, we can always use more volunteers) You'll find PastPerfect Online at http://bridgtonhistory.pastperfectonline.com/archive.

 

The 1930s Tax Assessing Records include photographs of and information about nearly every building in town that was standing ca. 1938. They were produced as part of a project of the depression-era Works Progress Association (WPA). Nearly 250 are currently available on-line at the Maine Memory Network. We are scanning the rest of them and expect to have them available electronically at the museum on Gibbs Ave.in the relatively near future.

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Welcome

Museum Fall 2006 - 1 Small.jpg

Doing Business During COVID-19

Nobody anticipated the events of the past several months and we are all going about our lives in a different way.  Our first priority is to protect the health of our volunteers, staff, visitors and community. But we are also committed to continuing to perform our mission to collect, preserve, interpret, and share the history of Bridgton.  At the museum, we will be opening in July with the same schedule as last summer, Wednesday-Saturday, 1-4, following social distancing and cleaning protocols based on the Association of Maine Archives and Museums’ COVID-19  Prevention Recommendations for Archives and Museums.

At Narramissic, we will be open for small group tours by appointment only. Since we will be together for 45 minutes or more in confined spaces, we have instituted the following requirements:

  • A maximum of 5 per group, and everyone must be from the same household
  • Visitors must stay at least six feet away fromthe docent
  • Face coverings in accordance with State of Maine Executive Order #49
  • $30 per group, regardless of size

We have had to cancel or postpone until next year almost all of the events we had planned, but we are working to provide on-line content and programs, as well as programs that we can hold outdoors and conform to requirements regarding size and social distancing. And of course, we will adapt our procedures to any changes that may occur in this unprecedented and unpredictable situation.  

We look forward to seeing you and hope that you take advantage of all that we have to offer. Please stay safe and healthy.

The society's headquarters are located in the old firehouse at 5 Gibbs Avenue, which houses the museum and research facility. The society also owns "Narramissic," the Peabody-Fitch Farm in South Bridgton. The property, which consists of 25 acres of fields with spectacular mountain views, remains remarkably isolated from the intrusions of modern life. Visit the house for an experience of unsurpassed authenticity, as you move through the historic space and learn the story of the families that occupied it. The memoirs of Edwin Fitch, who grew up here in the 1840s and ‘50s (published by Bridgton Historical Society as Ninety Years of Living), preserves an intimate view of his family’s life in the house on the eve of the Civil War, and a remarkable number of the furnishings and objects would have been familiar to him.

The house was built in 1797 by William Peabody, and the barn, approximately 40 x 60 feet, was built in the 1830s by his son-in-law George Fitch. Mr. Fitch also added the ells to the house and built the blacksmith shop, which contains a restored functioning forge. Descendants of the Peabody-Fitch families lived here until 1938, when Mrs. Margaret Monroe, from Providence, Rhode Island acquired it for use as a summer home. She passed away in 1986 and bequeathed the property to the Bridgton Historical Society to be used as a museum, a site for demonstrating early American crafts, or similar purposes.  Narramissic is located at 46 Narramissic Road;  which is off Ingalls Road, a mile in from route 107.

Narramissic Fall 2006 - 1 Small.jpg

In 2019 Narramissic entered into a new phase as Loon Echo Land Trust (https://www.loonecholandtrust.org/) purchased the "Peabody-Fitch Woods," 252 acres surrounding our buildings and fields, effectively re-uniting the original farmstead and guaranteeing that it will be preserved in perpetuity. We have been collaborating with Loon Echo on various projects over the last few years, and we are excited to continue and deepen this relationship by providing recreational and educational opportunities that bring together aspects of cultural and natural history.

This summer Loon Echo recently is building a new trail, parking area, and kiosk at Peabody-Fitch Woods, to be shared by both organizations. The trail will provide as much access as possible for people with limited mobility, and with interpretive signs and updates to our mobile app, it will provide glimpses into the farm’s agricultural past as well as spectacular views of the westerly mountains.

 

Bridgton and Saco River Railroad Page

B and SR RR Engine 5You'll now find information about the B & SR RR under the main Museum menu. Also, be sure to visit visit some of the links to other narrow guage railroad websites on our Resources -> Links page. The WW & FRY site is of particular interest as it includes a section on the B & SR RR in its discussion forum.

Our Logo and the Lombard Weathervane

Rooster Weathervane.jpg The highly stylized rooster contained in the Bridgton Historical Society's logo is a representation of that found on the Lombard weathervane given to the Historical Society on exhibit at Narramissic.  A similar weathervane is owned by the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont.

Early in the 20th century, James Lombard, of Bridgton, designed and carved woodern weathervanes. These weathervanes are wonderful examples of native Maine folk art. The most distinguishing features of the Lombard weathervanes are the stylized versions of hens and roosters, particularly the imaginative treatment of the tail feathers. Simple in design and execution, Lombard weathervanes were usually sawed from pine planks with the woodern legs attached separately.

Born in 1868, Mr. Lombard lived and worked at the family farmhouse on South High Street which was located across from the present Catholic Church. The farmhouse was destroyed by fire. Mr. Lombard was the father of Perley Lombard, who worked for The Bridgton News as pressman for thirty-five years. Many may still remember Perley, as well as Bill Lombard and other members of the family. It is believed that James Lombard might have been an itinerant wood carver in his earlier years because of the distribution of his weathervanes in various areas of Maine.

 

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Annual Meeting Sponsors

Warren Excavation, K. Tarr Construction, 207 Trading Company, Morning Glory Diner, Main Eco Homes, JDecor