Ten antique cars inside a renovated historic building gave 300 history lovers plenty to talk about at Maine Preservation’s annual gala Sept. 8.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year by far and our biggest friend-raiser,” said Susan Burns, board president and gala co-chair. “We thought it would be fun to celebrate the built environment with built automobiles – things humans can build and preserve.”

From a shiny gray 1928 Rolls Royce belonging to David Glaser of Cape Elizabeth to a 1960 Bentley belonging to James Schwartz, also of Cape Elizabeth, fully restored classic cars were the centerpiece of the event, called Historically Driven, celebrating Maine’s transportation history at Brick South at Thompson’s Point. Classic tunes, local food and drink, and live and silent auctions rounded out the evening, which raised $50,000 for Maine Preservation.

“I’ve been getting great reviews from everyone saying this was so much fun,” said executive director Greg Paxton.

The crowd included volunteers, industry professionals and corporate sponsors from all over the state, all with an interest in preserving Maine’s historic structures.

“There’s a craftsmanship to those old buildings that you don’t often see today,” said Anne Niles, a board member from South Freeport.

“I love Maine, and I think we have an incredible heritage to protect,” said Sarah Hansen of Gray, a real estate manager for Maine Preservation. “We find economically viable solutions for saving these places.”

Maine Preservation is unique, explained summer fellow Charlie Hartfelder, because it’s statewide and it’s not only about advocacy but about hands-on practical advice. “They have a field service program, a team of people who go out and provide real advice to people interested in preservation,” he said.

“Every county has landmarks that are dear to individuals who grew up there and live there,” said Karen Hakala of sponsor Norway Savings Bank. “We all have an emotional connection to our landmarks that we want to see preserved and kept in good hands for many generations to come.”

“The buildings that were built over 100 years ago were built with character and great architectural details that we want to preserve,” said Bob Jacobs of sponsor Jacobs Glass.

“That’s our history,” said advisory trustee Judy Barrington of Bath. “We’re just the stewards for these houses and properties and want to be sure they go on to the next generation.”

“To not preserve beautiful buildings should be a crime,” said Fred Field of Cumberland. “It’s a shame to have our heritage bulldozed.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer from Scarborough. She can be reached at:

[email protected]

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