For more information on any events listed below, please call 207-767-7299
Saturday, April 27, 2019– The South Portland Historical Society’s museum – the Cushing’s Point Museum at Bug Light Park – will open for the 2019 season. The museum will then be open every day from 10am to 4pm, through the end of October. Exhibits for the 2019 season include 100 years of Shipbuilding in South Portland (sponsored by Bath Savings Institution), Lighthouses and their Keepers, the Civil War, Sardine Factories, History of Local Schools and South Portland's harness racing tracks. The featured exhibit, “Riding the Rails” covers the history of trains and trolleys in South Portland. The 2019 exhibit is made possible by a grant from the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust, with additional support from these local businesses: Eaton Peabody Attorneys at Law, Town & Country Federal Credit Union, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance, and the Marc Gup team at Keller Williams Realty.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 – We hope you’ll come out for dinner on May 14th in support of the South Portland Historical Society. On Tuesday, May 14, Otto Pizza on Cottage Road in South Portland will donate 8% of the proceeds from sales between 5pm and 9pm. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us at Otto for a tasty dinner for a good cause!
Saturday, May 18, 2019 – 10th annual Bug Light Kite Festival. 11am to 4pm. Come join the South Portland Historical Society for a day of old-fashioned, kite-flying fun at Bug Light Park! Members of the Noreasters Kite Club and KONE (Kites Over New England) will lend their expertise and offer many activities, including a "How to Fly a Kite" workshop, demonstrations of show kites, bol racing and a candy drop for the kids. The club will also have a kite hospital to help with kite assembly and fixes. Kites will be available for purchase in two locations: in the Society's museum gift shop (cash or credit) and in a kiosk on the field (cash only). The museum opens at 10am. There will also be food and drinks available for purchase at a barbecue fundraiser at the museum. Bug Light will be open to the public during the festival, as well, giving a rare chance to see the inside of the lighthouse, thanks to volunteers from the South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club. 11am to 4pm.
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 –Annual Meeting of the South Portland Historical Society, 6:30pm, at the South Portland Community Center, 21 Nelson Road. After a brief business meeting, Larry Legere will present a lecture and slide show, “The Steamships of Casco Bay”.
Admission to the program is free for current members of the South Portland Historical Society; non-members may attend with a $10 donation. FMI, call the Society at 767-7299.
Larry Legere is a board member and Historian of the South Portland Historical Society. He retired from Casco Bay Lines in 2017 after 44 years of service. Larry operated the vessels as a licensed captain for 33 years; he also worked in sales, maintenance, and operations. His other duties included input and oversight for the construction of the ferry Aucocisco III. Through the years, Larry was the unofficial historian for CBL and often did lectures for school groups and a slide show about the history of the steamboats on Casco Bay for other interested historical societies and like organizations.
Tuesday, June 4 – Join us for a fun-filled night of delicious BBQ and support the South Portland Historical Society. On Tuesday, June 4, Elsmere BBQ and Wood Grill at 448 Cottage Road, South Portland, will donate 8% of proceeds from sales of food between 4pm and 9pm. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for a tasty dinner for a good cause!
Saturday, June 22 - The South Portland Historical Society’s major fundraiser, the 13th annual Summer in Maine Auction, will kick off and be held at the museum at Bug Light Park! You can bid in a silent auction format any time through the 4th of July. Bidding will end after “Benjamin Franklin” reads the Declaration of Independence at noon on the 4th. Auction items featured will showcase the incredible variety of places to go and things to do during our wonderful Maine summers – items like cruises, golf, theater, museums, restaurants, and other summertime activities. You can bid on items like a family membership at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, a sail for two on a Maine schooner, an overnight stay at one of a selection of fine Maine hotels, tickets to a show at a live theater or gift certificates to a local restaurant. Bidding will take place at the Society’s Cushing’s Point Museum at 55 Bug Light Park, South Portland, ME 04106. Online bidding will be available through the South Portland Historical Society Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. FMI, call 767-7299.
Thursday, July 4, 2019 – Come join the fun at Bug Light Park where the South Portland Historical Society will host its 12th annual 4th of July event - the Independence Day Classic Car Show, presented by Yankee Ford.The museum will open at 10am and the barbecue will start at 11am. Hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, sausage sandwiches and more will be available for reasonable prices, with proceeds to benefit the museum. Come bring your lawn chair or blanket and enjoy lunch with us! At 12 noon, we will witness a fiery and patriotic reading of the Declaration of Independence by our own “Benjamin Franklin”. From 11am to 2pm, there will also be a display of vintage and classic cars on the lawn across from the museum. If you have an old car, you are welcome to join us; call 767-7299 for more information. ** At the 4th of July event, bidding on the Summer in Maine Auction will take place; bids will close at 12:45pm. Members of the NorEasters Kite Club will also be on hand throughout the day, flying their whimsical (and patriotic) kites for all to enjoy. A large selection of kites is available for sale in the museum gift shop, including kite wands for toddlers and young children.**Celebrate our nation’s birthday with music, a picnic, vintage cars and games at the park, watch the kite flying (or fly your own) and take in the spectacular views of Casco Bay. Don’t forget to stay for the fireworks!
Saturday, August 24 – Food historian Susan McLellan Plaisted will present “Food under the Sails - A Demonstration of Foodways at Sea”from 11am to 3pm at the museum. At this special living history event, Ms. Plaisted will demonstrate the cooking methods and types of foods that were popular on the wooden sailing ships of the mid-1800s. Please come and visit at any time during the 11am-3pm event, as this will be an on-going demonstration. This is a free event, open to the public.
Susan McLellan Plaisted is the proprietress of Heart to Hearth Cookery, a food history business based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She offers demonstrations of 17th century through 19th century Colonial American and European cooking methods, practices, and recipes, as well as pre-European-contact and post-European-contact Native American foodways. Her repertoire ranges from open pit, through down hearth, raised hearth, and cookstove cooking. Ms. Plaisted has offered many wonderful historic cooking demonstrations for us over the last several years, in memory of her parents, Guy Stanwood and Ruth Ellen McLellan. We are so blessed to have her share her talent and knowledge base with us. Our thanks to Susan for her ongoing support of the Society and its museum, and for these entertaining and educational programs.
Saturday, October 26, 2019 – Cemetery clean-up day. Society volunteer Jackie Dunham will lead the effort to rake and maintain a historic burial ground. The group will meet at Wescott Cemetery at 10am. If you’d like to help, please arrive with gloves and your own rake. If time permits, the group will also go to the Skillin Cemetery on Running Hill Road.
Sunday Chat Series -We’ll be hosting some of our favorite local authors at the museum this holiday season. These authors’ works are well-represented in the museum gift shop throughout the year. Books will be available for purchase and signing at these events, but feel free to just drop on by to chat with any of these interesting historians/writers:
Sunday, November 17, 2019, 11am-1pm – Chat with Jean Flahive - Jean Flahive is a skilled researcher, talented writer, and the author of many books, some of which include “Billy Boy”, a novel based on the real story of Billy Laird, a Civil War soldier who was executed at Fort Preble; “Railroad to the Moon” (a spin-off novel from Billy Boy); and a children’s book, “The Old Mainer and the Sea”, a fictionalized tale of a day at sea about a real person, a dory fisherman, Eben York, from Chebeague Island, who rowed almost daily into Portland Harbor to sell his catch.
Jean’s latest book was just released in October. “Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride” is a young readers historical fiction that tells the tale of a Maine farm girl who is changed by the arrival of the electric trolley in her community.
We encourage you to come and chat with Jean and make sure to take in the Society’s trains and trolleys exhibit which will be closing at the end of this season.
Sunday, November 24, 2019, 11am-1pm – Chat with Ron Romano - In the world of Maine’s old cemeteries and gravestone carvers, Ron Romano is one of the state’s most recognized authorities. Active locally with Portland’s non-profit Friends of Eastern Cemetery and nationally with the Association for Gravestone Studies, Ron is the author of two cemetery-themed books.
“Portland’s Historic Eastern Cemetery” was released to coincide with the 350th anniversary of Portland’s first public burying ground. Ron also researched the fascinating life of stonecutter Bartlett Adams who moved to Portland in 1800 and opened the area’s first stonecutting shop. Through his research, Ron has attributed to the Adams shop nearly 2,000 gravestones in over 150 Maine cemeteries, including some in South Portland. Ron recorded his findings in the book, “Early Gravestones in Southern Maine: The Genius of Bartlett Adams.”
We hope you’ll stop by to chat with Ron at the museum. His books will also be available for purchase and signing at the event.
- Sunday, December 1, 2019, 11am-1pm – Chat with Russell Dole - Russell Dole is a retired history teacher from Rockland who now lives in South Portland with his wife. We have been blessed with his involvement with our historical society over the past year; he is an incredibly knowledgeable docent here at the museum. Russell’s first book, "In Search of Honor - Rockland to Round Top: A narrative of Maine, Joshua L. Chamberlain, and the Twentieth Maine Regiment," was published in 2018.
In Search of Honor begins the story of a young man’s coming of age. With the passing of Maine Civil War hero Joshua L. Chamberlain in 1914, Benjamin Dean, the narrator, goes back to the mid-1800s to recount the circumstances surrounding his first meeting with the man who would become his mentor. Book I: Maine, chronicles the Dean family’s beginnings along Penobscot Bay and the fateful year of 1853. From the rocky shores of the Maine coast, to the forests of the Maine Woods, Benjamin takes us on the journey that will change his life forever.
“Book Two: Bowdoin”, which is a continuation of the story in the “In Search of Honor” series, is scheduled to be released in early November.
Sunday, December 8, 2019 – At 1pm, Society member Jack Nordby will return for an encore performance of his recital of the Dylan Thomas classic, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” at the historical society’s museum at Bug Light Park. "A Child's Christmas in Wales" is a much-loved, almost lyrical tale of childhood Christmas memories. This 25-minute star of Thomas' work is best heard aloud for the "music" in the words.
Make sure and mark the date on your calendar so you won’t miss this special event! It is always a pleasant and relaxing way to take a break during the holiday season.