a volunteer organization dedicated to improving our town’s sense of community. Our mission:
- Preserve the history and the traditions of West Bath, Maine
- Identify, research, and record locations of historical sites, buildings, and artifacts
- Identify, record, and catalog photos and the written and oral history of West Bath
- Publish a historical and current events newsletter, The Middle Ground
- Serve as a resource for the West Bath School and Patten Free Library’s History Room
- Hold free events with historical content for members and the community
As part of that mission, we have spearheaded the challenging restoration of West Bath’s two important historical buildings: Old West Bath Meeting House located at 680 Berry’s Mill Road, and Littlefield School at 363 Berry’s Mill Road. For both those efforts we enjoyed a great deal of community support, both financially and with volunteer efforts.
The Old West Bath Meeting House, built in 1839, needed a great deal of help, including shoring up the building, repairing and repainting walls and exterior, refinishing the floors, modernizing the electricity within a historic perspective while preserving old kerosene lamps, and repairing the stained glass windows. Littlefield School, one of Maine’s few remaining one-room school houses, and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was in even worse shape. Built in 1853, it is a classic one-story Greek Revival, timber-framed building; by 2007 it was in precarious condition. Its foundation had shifted and was collapsing. At one point, it was slated for a fire department exercise burn. Only community outrage stopped that from happening. This lovely old building is now restored, thanks in part to a generous bequest from the late Bruce Burden, whose mother attended the school, and a federal grant awarded to the West Bath Historical Society.
Now that the buildings are safely restored, our challenge today is to maintain their integrity and to open them to the public for special events and occasions.
West Bath Historical Society annual events in 2017
WBHS participated in the annual Town History Series offered by The Sagadahoc History and Genealogy Room and sponsored by the Patten Free Library, with a presentation by Madelyn Hennessey, “William J. Hennessey: The First of the Hennesseys in West Bath”. The Town History Series talks are filmed for local television.
WBHS organized the always popular, non-sectarian, traditional candlelight Annual Community Christmas Service & Carol Sing,
led by Rev. Holly S. Morrison, joined by organist Susie Knowles
and Scottish smallpiper Sue Mack, with readings from members of every generation in our community. WBHS donated the evening’s offering to the West Bath School for their backpack food program.
Our Annual Meeting and Potluck Supper was held on a late summer afternoon, at the Old West Bath Meeting House and featured speaker Rebecca Goldfine presenting “Exploring Maine by Foot” with facts, maps and photos from over 400 hikes.
Special event in 2017
- Littlefield School Open House–part of the Bath area Memorial Day celebrations
2017 Highlights of volunteer time and talent
- Desk and chair of LFS vintage donated by David and Joyce Hennessey.
- Acquisition of a collection of the early history of West Bath in process of being cataloged and preserved by Archivist Kerry Nelson.
- LFS exterior painting, lawn and walk restoration, and tick mitigation overseen by Ivon Boyer.
- Archivist Kerry Nelson assisted with an article featuring West Bath in the Times Record.
- LFS sign maintenance completed by Dean Batterman.
- Archivist Kerry Nelson continues to use a historic newspaper website in order to research West Bath topics, to procure materials for reference, assist with all publications and programs, and maintain and expand on historic accuracy for all things West Bath.
We thank The Town and its citizens for continued support of our efforts. We encourage you to become involved with the West Bath Historical Society by:
- Making a donation
- Researching or writing for The Middle Ground, or with an oral history project (by interviewing, transcribing, or being interviewed), or helping design and present a program
- Joining building restoration and preservation (cleaning, painting, carpentry, etc.)
- Helping with USGenWeb projects
- Contributing refreshments for events and Open Houses
- Helping with outreach for educational programs
Join the West Bath Historical Society and receive our publication, The Middle Ground
West Bath Historical Society Board of Directors 2017
Amy Wesson, President • Sally Graves, Recording Secretary • Pam Mayo, Secretary/Treasurer
Leah Zartarian • Bob Bittner • Raisa Bittner • Beth Brewer • Ivon Boyer • Kerry Nelson, Archivist
Avery Hunt, President Emeritus/Editor: The Middle Ground • W. N. “Pete” Guild, Emeritus
Betty Fitzjarrald, Littlefield School Chairperson • Fran Soverel, Archival Contributor
Publications (also available in paper at the Town Offices)