– JUSTIN ELLIS

Staff Writer

A doctor who served Freeport residents nearly a century ago continues to help the sick today.

The Dr. Arthur Gould Trust has become a source of relief for elderly residents and others who need medical assistance.

Established in the 1960s, the fund now spends $7,000 to $10,000 a year to provide help with medical bills and other health care expenses. It’s a lasting gift from Gould, a doctor whose hospital on Main Street was a fixture in downtown Freeport for decades.

“It’s an amazing gift that one man gave to the community,” said Town Council Chairman Bill Muldoon.

The fund was created in 1968 with more than $116,000 from Gould’s estate, said Johanna Hanselman, the general assistance administrator for Freeport. It now has more than $300,000, and the yearly interest is used to help residents.

The Gould Trust is similar to general assistance in that residents must apply to the town and show financial need. Unlike general assistance, the money can be used only for medical expenses, Hanselman said.

Besides the applications from residents, the town gets referrals from doctors and community aid agencies. While the general assistance office determines who receives money, the Town Council approves spending from the account.

At a meeting this month, the council awarded more than $3,600 to help 22 residents.

“It’s fairly well known and well utilized on an annual basis,” said Hanselman.

She said other towns have similar funds, with money donated by residents being set aside to help the community.

According to the Freeport Historical Society, Gould was born in Ellsworth in 1883 and died in 1953, and spent most of his life in Freeport as a community doctor. Working with another doctor, Gould established Freeport Hospital, which was part of a family home on Main Street, said Christina White, executive director of the historical society.

The hospital, in the building that is now the Burberry outlet store on Main Street, operated from 1926 until the mid-1940s, White said.

Gould made house calls, riding on horseback once to deliver a baby and building what he called a “snowcat,” a Ford Model T fitted with skis and tracks over the wheels, to travel during snowstorms, White said.

In his will, Gould gave money to the town to be used to help others, she said.

Muldoon, the council chairman, said Gould left a legacy that helps Freeport to this day. Because of the gift, the town can help many residents who would otherwise be in financial trouble because of medical bills, he said.

The town typically doesn’t give out large amounts, Muldoon said, opting instead to give small amounts to help more people.

“We can’t address all the needs out there, but sometimes these little bits that help are what people need,” Muldoon said.

Justin Ellis can be contacted at 791-6380 or at:

[email protected]