BRUNSWICK — The Town of Brunswick began a 7-week celebration of the 300th anniversary of The Brunswick Town Commons, one of the very oldest conserved open spaces in Maine, on April 23. A full day of activities, including a formal anniversary ceremony, with be held on May 19, to highlight the weeks worth of events. The full schedule can be found on the Pejepscot Historical Society’s website, the Town of Brunswick’s website and the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust website.
In May of 1719 the Pejepscot Company “granted one thousand acres of land to ly in general comonage.” Over time, pieces of the property have been repurposed for other use, most notably by the US Navy in order to build the former naval air station and by Bowdoin College. The current property offers over 71 acres with numerous trails running through diverse and ecologically unique terrain. The Brunswick Town Commons also frequently serves as a community recreation space and outdoor classroom for Brunswick schools.
The celebration was organized by The Town Commons Committee, the Pejepscot Historical Society, the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, Brunswick Parks and Recreation Department and the Brunswick High School Film Class, with each group organizing activities that recognize the different roles the property plays in the community.
“[It’s] not only of local, but also state and national, significance. It is one of the first public lands established in Maine,” said community member and organizer Jym St. Pierre. It is an example of early urban planning in the state and it remains a window to the past, a popular recreation destination and a living laboratory.”
The 300th Celebration events began in mid-April and will continue until mid-June. The community has already enjoyed a film about the property made by Brunswick High School students and wildlife, bird and botanical walking tours through the property. Still to come are a commemorative postage stamp release, a 5K, history exhibits and more guided walks highlighting different ways to experience the Commons.
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, established in 1985, has conserved 58 properties totaling over 2,700 acres, and created much loved community resources including the Saturday Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm, Tom Settlemire Community Garden and Labyrinth in the Woods. The Land Trust was one of the first in Maine to receive Land Trust Alliance accreditation, and has become a leader and innovator in developing diverse ways to strengthen the community through conservation, robust partnerships and dedicated stewardship. To learn more or get involved, please visit us at www.btlt.org.