Discovering the Rich History of Maysville
Guest Blogger: Kim Smith
It was six long years in the making, but Presque Isle Historical Society’s Maysville Museum is now open to rave reviews!
In 2011, the Society acquired the small, run-down, fire-damaged building at 165 Caribou Road (US Route 1 North). Maysville was the town that once stood between Presque Isle and Caribou and was annexed by Presque Isle in 1883. This site is historically significant as it served simultaneously as the Maysville Town Hall, the Maysville School, and the Maysville Grange.
Renovations were done either as funds were raised or by in-kind donation of labor from area tradesmen. And those renovations were extensive! New roof, repaired chimney, all new siding after asbestos abatement, totally new foundation, new windows, new tin ceiling, new electrical, new heat pump, and, luckily, simply re-sanding and refinishing of the existing hardwood floor. The end result is breathtaking and has brought tears to more than one former Grange member.
For those that are unaware of the Grange, society indeed owes a major debt to this farmers’ coop organization. The Grange, founded in the 1800s, lobbied to protect our farmers and provide much needed socialization for isolated farm families. The efforts of the Grange brought things such as state police, pure food and drug administration, agricultural colleges, rural health, parcel post and much, much more.
Maysville also played a role in the Aroostook War (1838-1839). When the American Revolutionary War ended, no border was established between Maine and New Brunswick. This was not so much of an issue until Maine achieved statehood in 1820 and began to give out free land grants to encourage settlement. Ultimately, there were 12,000 square miles of timber-rich land in dispute between the two countries. Two incidents took place in northern Maine in 1827 that pushed us into the conflict – one in Maysville (the Incident of Arnold’s Cow) and one in Madawaska (the Incident of Baker’s Liberty Pole).
The Maysville Museum is small, but mighty – with four cornerstone exhibits on The Aroostook War, Presque Isle & the Civil War, Agri-CULTURE, and Presque Isle’s rural one-room schoolhouses. Interspersed with these large exhibits, one will find smaller exhibits on pre-1900 souvenir picture plates of Presque Isle, Bisque Dolls, and many interactive exhibits. There is also a scavenger hunt for kids of all ages.
More than 250 individuals attended the grand opening on July 1 with oft heard comments of “Awesome”, “Amazing”, “Extraordinary”, and “Professional”. One local civil servant was found standing agape as he took it all in claiming he would never know he was in northern Maine. Come see for yourself!
The museum is staffed by volunteers Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. through October. School and club field trips are welcome (but please call ahead at 207-762-1151).
Presque Isle Historical Society is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation established in 1964 whose mission is to study, promote and preserve the history, culture, heritage and physical artifacts of Presque Isle for present and future generations. Its web address is www.pihistory.org.