Sagadahoc Preservation Inc.’s online tour will guide viewers through several historic buildings in Bath. Previous tours have featured buildings like the Cosmopolitan Club on Washington Street, shown here. Photo courtesy of Judy Barrington

Sagadahoc Preservation Inc., a Bath nonprofit dedicated to preserving local historic architecture, is celebrating its 50th anniversary by moving an annual fundraiser online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the nonprofit is restarting an annual fundraiser that was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Every year the nonprofit organizes tours through historic homes and gardens in Bath, which normally raises about $10,000. The organization uses the money raised to fund initiatives ranging from educational programs to paying the Winter Street Church’s insurance.

This year, tickets to a virtual tour of several historic Bath homes are available for $25 on the organization’s website. Participants will be sent a link to watch the online tours on April 8. The virtual tour will be available to watch any time between 8 a.m. on Friday, April 9, through 10 p.m. on Sunday, April 11.

Sagadahoc Preservation’s mission is to “preserve and maintain the Bath area’s fine architectural heritage through the promotion of stewardship, education and community outreach,” according to its website.

Trustee Ann Parker said much of the organization’s time and funding is dedicated to a program the nonprofit offers to local fourth grade classes in Bath, Woolwich and Georgetown. Students are taught the history behind buildings in their own neighborhoods.

Parker said much of the organization’s future depends on these educational programs because “we have no future without a past.”


“Ongoing education efforts is the way Sagadahoc Preservation is continuing to make its mark on Bath,” said Parker. “We’re dedicated to identifying, maintaining and preserving the past in order for the future to continue.”

The nonprofit was founded in 1971 when the Winter Street Church, across the street from Library Park in Bath, was at risk of being torn down and replaced with an apartment building. A group of Bath residents banded together and prevented the 178-year-old church from being torn down. From there, the group grew and continued to ensure Bath’s architecture, from homes to churches, remained intact and appreciated.

“Without (Sagadahoc Preservation), I don’t think the Winter Street Church would exist,” said Parker. “I think the skyline of Bath would be entirely different and the historical aspect of Bath, which is so important to this town, would’ve been changed forever.”

The organization still owns the Winter Street Church. Although the main building is no longer a church, the adjoining parish hall serves as a community space that can be rented for wedding receptions, corporate events and other large gatherings.

Maine Preservation Executive Director Greg Paxton said organizations like Sagadahoc Preservation are rare in Maine, but serve an important role in preserving the beauty of their communities, which comes with economic benefits.

Maine Preservation is a Yarmouth-based organization dedicated to promoting and preserving historic places, buildings, downtowns and neighborhoods throughout the state.


“Most people think of historic preservation as being about museums, but in practice, that’s a very small part,” said Paxton. “Historic preservation has proven to be an important contemporary tool for communities.”

Paxton said maintaining the historic charm of a community draws in visitors and new residents, which boosts the local economy. For example, in Bath’s downtown, buildings are well maintained, sit shoulder-to-shoulder and “are an attraction for tourism in themselves, and those tourists are critical to Maine’s economy.”

“Maine doesn’t have a lot of communities that understand the benefits of preservation as well as Bath does,” said Paxton. “Setting out to preserve an entire community is a huge undertaking, and I think Sagadahoc Preservation has succeeded for 50 years.”

Main Street Bath Executive Director Amanda McDaniel applauded Sagadahoc Preservation for the work it has done for five decades to preserve the appearance of Bath, “which locals can easily take for granted in their daily drive.”

“Sagadahoc Preservation has done an incredible job holding up our architectural heritage as the treasure it is,” said McDaniel. “Through programs such as their Walking Tour, House & Garden Tour, and their work with the iconic Winter Street Church, they remind us of the historic uniqueness of Bath.”

‘Being reminded of the beauty around us and what transpired before our time is vital to motivating the direction we go today,” McDaniel continued. “Bath’s culture would not be as charming and deeply attentive had it not been for the work of Sagadahoc Preservation.”

Main Street Bath is the local chapter of a national network that seeks to revitalize downtowns and promote economic development.

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