Beginning Saturday morning the Patten Free Library in Bath will host the 16th annual Town History Series. Over the next five Saturdays representatives from five towns within Sagadahoc County will tell historical stories from each town. Times Record file photo

BATH — The Patten Free Library in Bath will kick off its 16th annual Town History Series Saturday morning by diving into the story of Arrowsic’s working waterfront.

The series spans five Saturdays with each session covering a different historical topic related to five towns in Sagadahoc County: Arrowsic, Woolwich, West Bath, Georgetown and Bath.

Topics range from how locations in West Bath got their names to stories of Bath’s many ship-owning families and their public personas.

The first session is this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the library’s Community Room. The presentations also will be shown on local access television.

Matthew Caras of Arrowic, a former history and archeology teacher, will talk about Arrowsic’s working waterfront and its importance to the town’s economy. Throughout history, Arrowsic’s waterfront was used for commercial fishing, which provided food for its residents and fueled local commerce.

“The people who attend are people who want to be there and are interested in the subject matter,” said Caras. “They know the landmarks and the land (in each town). … They’re eager to learn more about what’s in their own backyards.”


Peter Goodwin, assistant in the library’s Sagadahoc History and Genealogy Room, launched the series in 2005 as a way to connect each town with its history.

“In every town, there’s an interest in their town’s history,” said Goodwin. “In terms of the whole community, this is an opportunity for every town that supports the library to learn more about who they are, historically speaking.”

Each town’s historical society chooses a topic and speaker.

During the next session on Jan. 25, Rob Stevens will recount Benedict Arnold’s 350-mile trip up the Kennebec River, across the Canadian border and into Quebec City in 1775. Soldiers from Woolwich participated in that expedition. In 2017 Stevens, followed the trail of the Arnold Expedition, which sought to capture Quebec City from the British by sending 1,100 men up the Kennebec River and into Canada in a surprise attack.

On average, each session has an audience of about 75, which Goodwin said he never expected.

“When I did the first (presentation) I didn’t reserve the library’s Community Room…I thought we could gather in the History Room,” said Goodwin. “I thought we’d get 10 or 15 people, but when 50 to 60 people showed up, I quickly had to move them into the Community Room.”

Goodwin said he plans to retire soon but wants the history series to continue and is willing to help someone organize future sessions.

“It’s an important offering because it keeps local history alive in the library,” said Goodwin.

This year’s schedule:
–Jan. 18, Arrowsic: Matthew Caras, “Arrowsic’s Intertidal Zone: a Historical Perspective”
–Jan. 25, Woolwich: Rob Stevens, “Woolwich Soldiers and the 1775 Benedict Arnold Expedition to Quebec”
–Feb. 1, West Bath: Don Bruce, “What’s in a Name? A Historical Perspective on Place Names in West Bath”
–Feb. 8, Georgetown: “Captain Stin Davis in his own Words”
–Feb. 15, Bath: Chris Timm, “Bath’s Ship-Owning Princes”

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