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Humans on the Land

A Program Series by Harpswell Heritage Land Trust

From March to August 2017 we welcome the public to learn about how humans interact with and change the land, and how the land changes them.  This program series delves into the interesting history of Harpswell, from Native Americans to farmers to vacationers.  We hope you’ll join us to learn!

All events are free and open to the public.  More information will be posted about these events and others as we get closer to summer.  For more information, contact Julia McLeod at outreach@hhltmaine.org or 207-837-9613.

Stone Walls: History and Technique
Tues., March 28, 7-8:30 p.m. * Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, 153 Harpswell Neck Road

Learn about stone walls, their history and building techniques, from Matt Carter of Green Island Stonework in Topsham. Matt will cover the history of stone walls locally and throughout New England and how a stone wall should be constructed, and he will show some amazing artistic uses of dry stone walling techniques and principles.

Reading the Landscape
Sun., April 30, 1-4 p.m.  *  Curtis Farm Preserve, 1554 Harpswell Neck Road

Join forester and naturalist Rob Bryan for an illuminating walk through Curtis Farm Preserve. Drawing from lessons learned in Tom Wessels book, Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape, Rob will show participants how to decipher past uses of the land by looking at the patterns left behind in rocks, soils and trees. Participants should be prepared to walk up to a mile over uneven ground.  Advance registration is required as space is limited. Click here to register.  Please note that the location has changed to Curtis Farm Preserve

Curt Chipman photo

History of the Dunning Farm
Sat., May 20, 3-4:30 p.m.  *  Two Coves Farm, 90 Neils Point Road

The Dunning Farm is currently the site for Two Coves Farm.  Learn about this farm’s long and interesting history from Harpswell Historical Society’s Dave Hackett, Sam Alexander (a descendant of the original farmers) and Laura Grady, one of the current farmers.  End the program with a tour of the farm’s operations. Advance registration is required as space is limited. Registration is now closed.

How Thomas Alva Edison’s daughter Vacationed at What is Now Houghton Graves Park on Orr’s Island
Sat., June 17, 2-3 p.m.  *  Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, 153 Harpswell Neck Road

Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was quite well known that Thomas Alva Edison’s eldest daughter Marion Edison Oser spent some of her final retirement years camping in the summer months at what is now Houghton Graves Park on Orr’s Island.  She and her chauffeur regularly came up from Connecticut.  From her summer “home base” on Orr’s Island, she distributed copies of her 1950s autobiographical memoirs that detailed her experiences growing up in Menlo Park, New Jersey when her father became globally famous for inventing the light bulb and the phonograph.  Historian John Goff will present his first public showing of his research on the Edison connection
to Orr’s Island.

A stone axe (photo courtesy of Arthur Spiess)

Dr. Arthur Spiess

Annual Meeting: Native American Archaeology on the Maine Coast
Tues., July 11, Doors open at 6 p.m., Program starts at 7 p.m.  *  Cundy’s Harbor Community Hall, 837 Cundy’s Harbor Road, Harpswell

Our speaker is Dr. Arthur Spiess, Senior Archaeologist for Maine Historic Preservation.  Hear from Dr. Spiess about how Native Americans have lived along the Maine coast for thousands of years, as well as the effects of coastal erosion on archaeological sites and what local land trusts can do to help.

Please join us for a social hour from 6-7 p.m., followed by a report on Harpswell Heritage Land Trust activities over the past year and a brief business meeting.  Dr. Spiess will speak after the business meeting.  All are welcome to attend this free event.

Tarr-Eaton house (Deane Van Dusen photo)

The Tarr-Eaton House – A Journey in Harpswell History (1783 – Present)
Mon., Aug. 21, 7-8 p.m.  *  Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, 153 Harpswell Neck Road

The Tarr-Eaton House in Harpswell Center is one of the oldest surviving residential structures in the town.  Come learn about its amazing history, the past owners, the 1980’s restoration and its proposed future as a public museum from Deane Van Dusen, the current owner of the house and a New England historian and collector.