Acton-Shapleigh Historical Society

Rt 109, Emery Mills ME
¼ mile north of Ted's Fried Clams
mailing address: PO Box 545, Acton ME 04001-0545

The Society building is open to the public on an irregular basis. You can make an appointment to visit by calling either Pat Dunn (636-2606) or Roy Trafton (636-3654). For the summer of 2003, beginning June 1, the building will be open on Fridays from 1-4.

History Buffs!

Now back by popular demand in a Second Printing (original copyright 1976, by the Acton Shapleigh Historical Society; second printing December 2002) is the soft-bound booklet "Acton and Shapleigh, Maine; Past & Present". Dimensions are 8 1/2 by 11 inches. It is well-peppered with pictures, and makes for a very interesting read.

You can get your copy, while they last, from the following sources:

Is history merely a dry subject confined to the pages of a textbook? Hardly. History is real, and is going on, all around us, all the time -- you can't get away from it. And, like it or not, you are 'making history' by merely existing. Umpteen generations from now, an eager genealogist will be taking great pleasure in attempting to document the names of both you and your children, and what happened to them.


Over time, we will be presenting a cross-section of the materials collected by the Society. We embark upon this adventure with a feature about the schools, past and present, that have served the town of Acton over the years.

About the Acton-Shapleigh Historical Society

Summary presented by Esther Goodwin, May l981.

The Acton-Shapleigh Historical Society was organized in l964, with Russell Day as our first president. Several people had been concerned for some time about the need for having some body comprised of the two towns, dedicated to the preservation of historical data and artifacts pertaining to the area.

As we had no building or meeting place, it presented a problem. At first the meetings were held in our respective Town Halls and members' homes.

In 1965, the town of Shapleigh deeded to the Society the former Mousam Lake Schoolhouse at Emery Mills, which had not been in use for many years, with the stipulation that it would revert back to the town if the Society was ever disbanded. As this building was a one-room schoolhouse built in the 1920's, it had many inconvenient features, but, at last, we had a permanent home and meeting place.

The membership then voted to make necessary improvements to this old building. As we had very little money in our new treasury, it was imperative that earning money was the first requisite.

In 1967 and 1968, we had our first of the "Americana Fairs" - held at the Acton Fair Grounds. When you see our pictures, you will realize what a lot of work it entailed. Mr. Ted Ferren and Dr. Worster drove many many miles and spent many hours lining up the exhibitors. It was a very successful project and started us on our fund - thanks to some very dedicated and hard-working members. After these events; many food sales, craft fairs, quilt raffles, etc. went on and on and are still going on - building up our treasury.

We soon began receiving artifacts and items of historical value, and realized we would have to have a place to store and display them. Lacking enough money in the treasury, we had to look to other alternatives. About this time (1974), Mr. Linwood Dall was our president. He was a member of the National Guard and was instrumental in getting them to build an artifact and museum room, with the Society providing the material. It was finished in the fall of 1975, a new carpet was laid, and display cases were moved in. At last we had a place for our ever-growing collection of artifacts, and Ted Ferren's long-ago dream was realized, so we dedicated the room to him and placed a plaque naming it the "Ted Ferren Memorial Room".

Through the following years, other improvements were made to the building including combination windows, a new ceiling gas furnace, a new kitchen, extra wiring, roof shingling, two new signs for the outside, a large yard light, a beautiful weather vane, having the ledges and rocks removed from the parking area, some grass seeding, a new lawn mower, hall painting, and floor refinishing. Some of these were by benefit of good and generous members, and some obtained by money which was earned by our numerous sales. Through it all, we have tried to keep the "old schoolhouse look" preserved as much as possible.

We have tried to make it a truly Historical Society, trying to continually preserve our historical data. We have had school and church cataloguing projects, and cemetery cataloguing, all of which are still going on. Some old homes in the area have been researched and, at present, we have about 170 artifacts catalogued. We constantly strive to have programs of an historical nature of interest to all. In 1976 we compiled and published a booklet entitled "Acton-Shapleigh - Past & Present". Many copies have been sold.

Last summer, we had the hall and museum open to the public for the first time, during Acton's celebration, and a few weekends after. We had many visitors who seemed interested in our Society and artifacts.

At present, we have 108 members, including 64 Charter Members. We welcome new members and guests at any time. In closing, a sincere tribute should be given to the dedicated group who made it all possible.

Page last updated on May 11, 2003
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