January 19, 2011

New life at Old Corner Church in Waterboro

A local group is working to preserve the structure, which dates back to 1804.

By Deborah Sayer dsayer@pressherald.com
News Assistant

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This photo shows The Old Corner Church in Waterboro as it appeared in early 1900s, with the church at right, the Old Corner Schoolhouse on the left and its old the horse sheds in the center.

Photos courtesy Friends of the Old Corner Church

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The church still looks good, despite the work needed.

Additional Photos Below

Smith spoke of church suppers, ice cream socials and the congregation's annual Fourth of July picnic, when people would hitch up the horse and buggies and tote freshly made pies and lemonade to Ossipee Lake for a day of swimming and fun.

Those musings likely will be included in the book, along with Smith's recollections of growing up on the 150-acre farm and attending a one-room schoolhouse on a property adjacent to the church.

Now legally blind, Smith relies on Hanscom to help her put her stories in order. But it is no chore for the women, whose families were an integral part of the church's history; Hanscom's mother was a Sunday school teacher there, and Smith's father, Ivory Smith, was a deacon.

Esther likely inherited her passion for recording history from Ivory, who always kept the book, chronicling the church's history, on his desk.

"My father always told me 'If this house ever catches on fire, and you can carry anything out with you, make sure it's this book,'" said Esther of the church diary. The book now rests in the hands of the Maine Historical Society.

Soon Christopher Closs, Maine Historical Society field service preservation adviser, will visit the Old Corner Church to assess the building's condition and help the Friends group create a viable preservation plan. One item high on his recommend list will be to encourage the group to secure the deed to the property.

Closs finds the group's dedication and service to the building remarkable, considering that they have not financially benefited from the work.

I guess you'd call that a labor of love.


Staff Writer Deborah Sayer can be contacted at 791-6308 or at: dsayer@pressherald.com


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