It is the mission of the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society to collect and preserve artifacts, photographs, documents and publications of historical significance that relate directory to the history of Parsonsfield, Porter and South Hiram, Maine – including the village of Kezar Falls; to preserve and make available for research the genealogical records of families from the area; to encourage the love and study of local history in the youth of the area; to encourage the preservation of historical sites and structures; and to discover and disseminate local history, legend and lore so that succeeding generations may benefit from a better understanding of their past.
History of PPHS
The first meeting of the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society was on August 27,
1946. Early meetings were held in Norton Hall on the Parsonsfield side of the village
of Kezar Falls. The original purpose for the formation of the society was to preserve
historical data, especially valuable records and relics of the early days of the two
towns. The Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society was incorporated in 1953. Mrs.
Ina Emery was the first president and driving force in the establishment of the
society. She was also instrumental in the purchase of History House in 1955, a
house built by her father, Preston J. Stanley.
History House, located at 92 Main Street in the town of Porter, was built in 1888.
The building was built for Preston J. Stanley, but has no particular historical
significance. It was purchased in 1955 as a meeting place and museum for the
Society’s growing collection of records and relics of the early days of the towns of
Parsonsfield, Porter and South Hiram. A new addition was completed late 2006
which added a research room, office, new entrance hall, handicapped accessible
entrance ramp, and bathroom, as well as three storage rooms. A furnace was
installed to heat the addition and kitchen so the building can be used year round.
Parking has also been added at the rear of the building. In 2010 the whole main
house was rewired and modern lighting installed. A fireproof, climate controlled
vault is planned as soon as funds to build it can be raised.
The original building has seven rooms and an attached barn which has been
transformed into a meeting room and exhibit area. Since 2000 several of the rooms;
the kitchen, a children’s bedroom, the main bedroom, and upstairs anteroom,
have been renovated and opened for tours. The front parlor has been established as
the “Longfellow Room” since several pieces of furniture from Longfellow’s birthplace
on Fore Street in Portland have been donated to the Society. The Longfellow Room
also contains an extensive collection of Longfellow’s books and memorabilia and a
number of pictures of him and his homes. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow has a
connection with the town of Porter through the Wadsworth family.
From May to October, History House has “open house” once each month with
exhibits and artifacts related to the area. A major new exhibit is set up each season.
Open house and meeting dates are established each year. The research room is
available each Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during the summer months. It
is open as weather permits from October to March. A schedule of open house and
meeting dates is available on our BLOG at http://localhistorymatters.blogspot.com/.
JOIN US! MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION:
The Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society invites you to join PPHS. Your dues help pay for operating
expenses and support the maintenance of History House and its collection of artifacts. It also entitles
you to receive the quarterly newsletter of the Society. Meetings are held once monthly from April to
Annual dues are $10.00 for individuals, $15.00 for couples, $5.00 for students under 18 years.
Make checks payable to the Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society and mail to
Treasurer, Parsonsfield-Porter Historical Society, P.O. Box 250
Parsonsfield, Maine 04047