OWLS HEAD, Maine — People curious about the history of Owls Head now can pop into The Old Homestead and poke around the photo albums, old news clips and maps.
The homestead opened Wednesday for the first time this year.
The gray shingled cape dates to the 1820s or earlier, only about 10 years after Thomaston was founded in 1807, back when Owls Head was part of Thomaston. Inside are many of the artifacts owned by the Mussel Ridge Historical Society, including old maps, books, oil lamps, a chamber pot and a rope-strung bed.
The historical society saved the home in the 1960s after the town got it from owed taxes and prepared to burn it to the ground. Volunteers started fixing up the home, but didn’t get far.
“They ran out of steam. We still have a lot to do,” said Bonnie Post, historical society secretary.
The historical society is looking for old, wavy glass for its windows and two old doors to replace damaged ones.
It’s a simple house: The first floor has a massive fireplace and built-in stove. There is a small bedroom and a parlor. Upstairs is now one large room, but according to Post it could have been two rooms — one for boys, one for girls — when the home was built for a family with 13 children.
Helen Corbett of Middletown, Mass., leafed through some of the books in The Old Homestead on its opening day. She drove 250 miles just for the occasion. Corbett has been researching a branch of her family tree and hoped to gain some more information.
As she tells it, her great-great-great-grandfather Chandler Perry was one of the first to enlist in the Civil War with one of his three sons, Levi Perry. Chandler Perry made his oldest son, also named Chandler, promise him that he would not enlist in the war, but instead stay home in Owls Head and watch over his mother and brother. But the father became a prisoner of war at Bull Run, caught typhoid and died. Angry, the younger Chandler Perry broke his promise and enlisted. Brothers Chandler and Levi fought at Gettysburg and Chandler died.
“Next year is the 150th anniversary of the battle, so I want to know the story,” Corbett said, looking around the old parlor and peering at old pictures hanging on the wall.
Corbett is typical of The Old Homestead’s visitors, according to Post.
“Lots of people interested in history come here. If you want to know about Owls Head, this is it. People want to know about certain homes and certain families. Students come on history tours,” she said.
The homestead is at 453 Ash Point Drive in Owls Head. It will be open 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays until the end of September.