MILLINOCKET, Maine – The Millinocket Historical Society’s efforts to turn the former Mott Apartment Building on Central Street into a home for its thousands of artifacts has received a $25,000 boost from a Falmouth-based foundation.
The Davis Family Foundation gave the society the gift as part of its latest round of grants to state educational, medical and cultural-arts organizations, said Anne Vaillancourt, the foundation’s executive director.
“We try to be very supportive of the arts and historical societies in Maine,” Vaillancourt said Thursday.
The grant is the single largest contribution toward the society’s effort to raise $100,000 to buy the building. Prior to receiving the grant, the society had raised about $10,000 on its own, said Sally Bouchard, the society’s president.
“We are very happy about it. It’s a good boost,” Bouchard said Saturday. “It gives us something to start out and grow with.”
Town Manager Eugene Conlogue hoped it would be the first of many grants and other such contributions the society receives.
“This is the kind of grant that leads to the acceptance of other kinds of grants,” Conlogue said.
The foundation awards grants quarterly. In 2007, 128 grants were awarded to various organizations. The grants totaled $2.1 million, according to its Web site, davisfoundations.org. Grants ranged from $3,000 to $100,000.
After his retirement as president and chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc., H. Halsey Davis and Phyllis C. Davis of Falmouth created the foundation to support educational, medical and cultural/arts organizations located primarily in Maine. The foundation has provided over $34.9 million in grants since its grant-making activities began in 1986, the Web site states.
The historical society has been working to raise the money since the Town Council voted 4-3 on Oct. 25, 2007 to allocate about $100,000 for the purchase and upkeep of the building. The council’s action was later reaffirmed with another 4-3 vote.
Under the council’s deal, the society has two years to raise money to pay the town back or the town can sell the property. Extensive building renovations cannot occur until the town is repaid. About $90,000 buys the building, with the rest covering closing and utility costs over the two years.
The society has held raffles and other events to raise the money, including a calendar loaded with pictures of Millinocket and the publication of a book detailing much of the town’s history, “Millinocket: Images of America.”
Part of Arcadia Publishing Co.’s Images of America series, which celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns and cities across America, the book is written by David Duplisea, a Penobscot County deputy sheriff and town resident. The books pages are filled with gorgeous black-and-white photographs of Millinocket.
Books and calendars sold locally at Pangburn’s Family IGA and the historical society museum at the town hall, among other places, raise money for the museum. The calendar sells for $8.50; the book retails for $19.99.
The book has sold so well that the society has ordered a second printing of about 400 copies that arrived a week ago. The calendar is also selling steadily, Bouchard said.
“People in Millinocket really like those calendars and they send them to relatives and friends. It’s a good Christmas present,” she said.
For more information, including how to join the society, visit millinockethistoricalsociety.com.