Historic home open for holiday fundraiser

By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 14, 2011, at 5:17 p.m.

FRIENDSHIP, Maine — Every trinket in Margaret Gagnon’s 1901 home has a story, and she is welcoming the public into her house Saturday to share some of the tales while helping to raise money for the Friendship Museum.

The museum recently bought a property downtown for $20,000 — but it got the building so cheap because it’s in rough shape. One day, museum board member Gagnon hopes the building can become the new museum because it is more spacious than the current headquarters. But to make that dream come true will require a lot of fundraising for repairs.

“You don’t want to put these items in a place that’s going to burn down,” Gagnon said.

So for now, the museum’s collection — which doesn’t fit into the old one-room schoolhouse of a museum — is stored in various places around town, including museum members’ basements.

In an effort to raise money, Gagnon decorated her home for the winter holidays. She’ll invite the public to tour her home 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, for $10. There also will be a cocktail social at her home with tours 5-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, for $15. As of Monday, there were only five tickets left for Friday’s social.

The three-bedroom Victorian built in 1900 by Gagnon’s grandparents likely will not have huge red bows, fat Santa dolls or fake lights hanging from the ceilings.

“I don’t want to cheapen it, so I have candles with decorations and I’ll hang greens,” Gagnon said.

Guests are likely to see historic artifacts, as Gagnon’s home is its own type of museum about her family history. For instance, her full-size player piano that her grandfather bought for her father and his twin brother as a Christmas present in 1914 sits in her living room. The piano, which cost $700, was brought by the steamship The Monhegan from Boston to Friendship, Gagnon said.

The piano can be played normally, or people such as Gagnon who are less adept pianists can place their feet on pedals and make it play that way without their fingers ever touching a key.

Gagnon still has a receipt for the piano, which she proudly displays. Displaying receipts seems to be another theme in the home. A receipt for the 1916 stove ($57) is framed and hangs above it in the kitchen.

The home is at 56 Harbor Road. Tickets can be bought at the door. For more information call Gagnon at 832-4852.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/11/14/news/midcoast/historic-home-open-for-holiday-fundraiser/ printed on April 25, 2014