By Shelagh Talbot
GREENVILLE— “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…” – so goes the beginning of “My Favorite Things” from Roger & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. With that idea in mind, the Moosehead Historical Society has assembled a delightful exhibit – “These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things” for the 2014 season at the Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan House on Pritham Ave. in Greenville. Each room of the lovingly restored mansion is filled with items chosen by staff. From the foyer, with mannequins wearing mink-lined coats to the master bedroom showcasing an adorable yellow net prom dress from the 1950s, there are lots of things to see, including a number of items never exhibited before.
Hospitable docents guide visitors through each room, giving a glimpse of the history of the home and its inhabitants as well as local anecdotes, because although many items belonged to the original residents of the Eveleth –Crafts-Sheridan House, many were generously donated. The living room is prepared for Christmas, and the textiles of the clothes worn in those days are remarkable – a black velvet coat with gold-leaf trim, Betsy Eveleth’s red hat perched upon the piano are a couple of examples. The dining room features a new item – a gorgeous rust velvet dress with lace bodice and beaded belt. In the butler’s pantry you can discover, located for the first time, a shopping basket on wheels. The kitchen is always a delight, new items being a highchair from the Nickerson family and a red and white dress from the Bigney family.
Upstairs the master bedroom is filled with the “Favorite Things” chosen by the docents. This room is a feast of wonderful treasure, from a straw bonnet that dates back to the early 1800s to an elegant Japanese kimono in soft lavender silk – complete with accessories – obi to sandals. An ice-blue satin dress, lavishly trimmed in beads and sequins glows in one corner while that yellow net prom dress I mentioned earlier flirts in another. This is a room to savor, a room to linger in. Don’t forget a peek in the closet – you’ll find Grandmother Sanders’ initialed handkerchief curtains hanging on the walls as well as many treasures dear to the hearts of the docents.
The guest room has been turned over to items belonging to two prominent old families – the Mastermans and the Marrs. These families were linked together by marriage and have been part of the Greenville area for close to 200 years. In an odd twist, many items were saved because the Marr family’s sporting camp business (Marr’s Indian Pond Camps) was to be sunk beneath the waters of Indian Pond back in 1952 for a hydroelectric dam being constructed there. The lake water would be raised considerably as the dam was 175-feet tall. Mrs. Marr was frantic to save as many things as possible, and without her quick thinking, many items being displayed would have been destroyed.
Oliver’s room contains some rare uniforms and items including a Knights Templar uniform and accessories that belonged to Louis Mountain, a prior engineer and Captain of the Katahdin. Mountain took up a new career when he turned 70 – delivering ice – he was known as the Ice Man from then on.
The sun porch has a wonderful feel to it – pleasant and inviting, and it’s easy to imagine the family spending many happy hours there. Visitors will discover two unique baby carriages and, in a glass case, a display of items from the Squaw Mountain Inn, which burned years ago. Even the cellar is interesting, with many unique household items.
The Carriage House is open year-round; from Tues. to Fri. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Helpful staff gladly answers your questions and assists with historic interests and genealogy. Not only does this Carriage House have a small but terrific gift shop, but also downstairs is the Lumberman’s Museum – complete with an original bateau used during the log drives of yesteryear. It’s worth a visit just to hear some of the historic tales spun by the museum’s resident storyteller. The Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan House is open for guided tours Wednesday through Friday, from mid-June to early October, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
There is an additional campus in downtown Greenville – The Center for Moosehead History, and it is also well worth a visit, housing, amongst other things, the Moosehead Lake Aviation Museum and an extensive exhibit of Indian artifacts. There is also an upstairs venue for programs and performances complete with stage and elegant proscenium. With a prominently featured large sculpture of two hawks by James Sardonis and a canoe-shaped bench meticulously crafted by Penobscot Tim Shay, this building is located at 6 Lakeview St., and open Thurs. – Sun. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. As one visitor wrote, ”Add a tour of the Historical Society and Center for Moosehead History and Aviation Museum to your bucket list. I promise you won’t regret it.” Visit these museums on line at mooseheadhistory.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call them for information at 207-695-2909.