Arts, Culture, and History

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History
Performing Arts
Visual Arts

History

Arnold Trail Park

In the fall of 1775 Colonel Benedict Arnold led an expedition of more than 1,100 men across Skowhegan Falls and Skowhegan Island on their way to Quebec in an ultimately ill-fated attempt to capture the British fortress there. A marker commemorating this journey was placed on the island in 1912 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. A second marker is at the picnic area on Route 2 East heading toward Canaan. A must-see for history buffs!

Weston Ave., Skowhegan
207-474-6901
FMI: The Revolutionary War and Benedict Arnold in Skowhegan

benarnold-500

Dudley’s Corner School House

Schooling at Dudley’s Corner dates to the 1790s. Because the area was central to the farming community, school was held at several neighborhood farmhouses until the first school building was constructed on this site, in 1804. In the 1830s townspeople decided to replace the original school, and the current building was completed in 1836 at a final cost of $466.30. Classes were held there until 1921. In 1932 the Eunice Farnsworth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a bronze plaque on the building.

5 Dudley Corner Rd., Skowhegan
FMI: Dudley's Corner School House

Father Rasle Monument

The 1833 Father Rasle Monument is accessible from the Historic Pines Trail, an easy one-mile walk along the Kennebec River with access for canoeing and kayaking plus a great fly-fishing spot. Stop by to learn about Father Rasle and the Wabanaki tribe who inhabited the area until they were attacked by English troops in 1724. Take Route 201A to Father Rasle Road. Continue on Father Rasle Road, and the trailhead will be about 3 miles on the left.

Father Rasle Rd., Madison
FMI:
Father Rasle Monument

Flat Iron District

Architecture enthusiasts won’t want to miss Skowhegan's historic Flat Iron District encompassing 38 architecturally and/or historically significant buildings, most dating from 1880 to 1910. The Skowhegan Municipal Building (225 Water St.), which includes an opera house on the third floor, was designed by John Calvin Stevens, a prolific and innovative architect who designed more than 1,000 buildings in Maine.

Water St., Skowhegan
FMI:
John Calvin Stevens

L.C. Bates Museum

The L.C. Bates Museum at Good Will-Hinckley includes amazing natural history exhibits, fun local history, Native American collections, rocks and minerals, and fossils, plus outdoor nature trails, picnic tables, and an arboretum. The museum has themed art exhibits from artists of New England each summer through fall.

14 Easler Rd., Hinckley
207-238-4250
FMI: L.C. Bates Museum or Facebook

Lindbergh Crate Museum

In nearby Canaan, Larry Ross has amassed a collection of Lindbergh-abilia displayed inside the packing crate in which Charles Lindbergh’s plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, was shipped back to America after the aviator completed the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight, in 1927. Open by appointment only, the crate museum is definitely worth a look for anyone interested in history or aviation. Take Route 2 to Canaan, turn onto Easy Street across from the post office, and drive about a mile; a small sign and the Ross mailbox will be on the right.

Easy St., Canaan
207-399-2114 or
larry.ross51@gmail.com
FMI: Roadside America: Lindbergh Crate Museum

Madison Historical and Genealogical Society

The Madison Historical and Genealogical Society has an abundance of old photos, tools, clothing, and other artifacts on display at Madison’s Old Point School building. East Madison also has a historical society and a building next to the East Madison Fire Station. Both buildings are open to the public.

108 Old Point Ave., Madison
FMI: Madison Historical and Genealogical Society or Facebook

 

Margaret Chase Smith Library & Museum

This library and museum is devoted to preserving the legacy of first woman U.S. senator and Skowhegan native Margaret Chase Smith, promoting research in American political history, advancing the ideals of public service, and exploring issues of civic engagement. It houses political papers, documents, honors, photographs, and memorabilia from Smith’s 32-year congressional career.

56 Norridgewock Ave., Skowhegan
207-474-7133
FMI: Margaret Chase Smith Library & Museum

Norridgewock Historical Society & Museum

The Norridgewock Historical Society & Museum provides insight into the history of Norridgewock and the surrounding area. The collection includes Native American artifacts, antique maps, personal items of the society’s founding member, armed forces uniforms and other historical garb, home industry of the 19th and 20th centuries, and more.

Mercer Rd., Norridgewock
207-634-5032
FMI: Norridgewock Historical Society & Museum

Skowhegan History House Museum & Research Center

Built in 1839, this Greek revival cottage is replete with antiques, furnishings, and other items of everyday life in Skowhegan during the mid-1800s. A 1936 addition showcases a number of collections including town records dating to 1783, family histories, early Skowhegan newspapers, and the Alexander Crawford Jr. Civil War Collection. While you’re there, don’t forget to admire the ornamental heirloom gardens, which contain old-fashioned plants that would have been available to New England gardeners during the mid-1800s.

66 Elm St., Skowhegan
207-474-6632
FMI: Skowhegan History House

Skowhegan Veterans Park

This downtown park pays tribute to local veterans dating back to the Revolutionary War. Visit this little park to remember our fallen heroes—and all veterans who have served our country.

248 Water St., Skowhegan

Performing Arts

Lakewood Theater and Lakewood Inn Restaurant

Located amid pines and white birch on the shore of Wesserunsett Lake, Lakewood is the state theater of Maine and one of America’s oldest and most famous summer theaters. In its heyday, a who’s who of the silent screen, Broadway, film, and television passed through the back stage door, including Humphrey Bogart, Mama Cass Elliot, and John Travolta. Take part in a tradition spanning more than a century by taking in a performance during the season, from late May through late September.

75 Theater Rd., Madison
207-474-7176 (theater) or 207-858-4403 (restaurant)
FMI: Lakewood Theater

Somerset Abbey

Built in 1892, this beautiful church in historic Madison features vintage stained glass and the original pews. Events at the abbey include concerts, comedy shows, paint nights, and more, and all events offer locally made food along with a range of Maine-brewed beer and handcrafted spirits. Don’t miss a chance to enjoy a fun event in this unique ambiance steeped in history!

98 Main St., Madison
207-696-5800
FMI: Somerset Abbey

Visual Arts

Central Maine Artists Gallery

This gallery and frame shop offers a fine selection from local artists. Peruse the paintings and other works to get a feel for the region’s art scene.

72 W. Front St., Skowhegan
207-858-0797
FMI: Central Maine Artists Gallery / A to Z Picture Framing

Langlais Art Trail

Bernard Langlais was a prolific Maine artist known for his impressionistic folk-art style and oversized sculptures crafted from wood and found objects. Since 1969 downtown Skowhegan has been watched over by the world’s tallest Native American, a 62-foot wooden sculpture crafted by Langlais and “dedicated to the Maine Indians, the first people to use these lands in peaceful ways.” Stroll along Skowhegan’s portion of the Langlais Art Trail, featuring this famous statue plus 25 additional artworks in both indoor and outdoor venues.

FMI: Langlais Art Trail

Public Art

In addition to the Langlais Art Trail, Skowhegan has several noteworthy pieces of public art. In the Municipal Parking Lot, a larger-than-life aluminum shoe sculpture by Barry Norling pays tribute to the men and women who have worked in the shoe industry in Skowhegan, which retains its historic New Balance factory; the shoe is painted with a mural depicting the Skowhegan community, completed in 2009 by Milton Christianson. In 2016 local artist Rama Brown painted a beautiful river mural that is on the back of the River Roads building downtown, overlooking the riverfront parking lot. Fundraising is ongoing for a new Barry Norling hand sculpture that will be installed in Pocket Park on the corner of Commercial Street and Madison Avenue.

South Solon Meeting House

Built in 1842, the South Solon Meeting House is a Gothic Revival church featuring the original podium, pews, choir loft, windows, and steeple. In the early 1950s the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture was instrumental in organizing three national juried competitions that selected artists to paint fresco murals on the meeting house walls and ceiling, resulting in a treasury of art.

At the junction of South Solon Rd., Parkman Hill Rd., Rices Corner Rd.,
and Meeting House Rd., Solon
207-643-2541
FMI:  South Solon Meeting House