Harry Hopcroft will explore the history of tide mills in Georgetown next month as part of Patten Free Library’s Town History Series. The in-person events begin Saturday. Contributed / Mary Kate Kwasnik

The Patten Free Library on Saturday will begin hosting its Town History Series in person for the first time since 2020.

“It’s very cool to see the towns all come together for this one series and find people who are excited to be sharing their historical research,” said Mary Kate Kwasnik, manager of the library’s Sagadahoc History and Genealogy Room. 

For new residents, she said, “this is a great way to get your foot in the door and learn more about the history of the town.” For those who have been in the area for a long time, the series provides a new perspective and stories that many aren’t aware of. 

Girls play volleyball at Merrymeeting Camp in Woolwich in 1928. The camp and others in the area will be discussed Feb. 18 as part of the Town History Series. Contributed / Allison Hepler

“I’m excited to see familiar faces but also looking forward to seeing some new faces,” Kwasnik said. 

The library has held the annual series since 2005. The kick-off presentation Jan. 28 will be a historic overview of the Sabino neighborhood in West Bath by Jay E. Paris. Continuing next month, Joe Minot will discuss the history of Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath on Feb. 4. Harry Hopcroft will speak on the tide mills of Georgetown on Feb. 11, and Allison Hepler will discuss summer camps in Woolwich on Feb. 18.

Hepler, who taught history at the University of Maine in Farmington for 28 years, has been a presenter in the series for 15 years. Her topics have included Route 1, local architecture and ferries in Arrowsic, and this year’s is a deep dive into old summer camps.


One thing she was surprised to learn from her research was that women were heavily involved in athletics as a part of summer camps, participating in archery, hiking and swimming, for example, as far back as the 1920s. 

Hepler said she’s glad the Town History Series will be presented in person this year. She likes to engage in conversation with participants and to hear their own stories. On a few occasions, she’s gotten to meet people who lived through the periods and histories she’s presenting on and they’ve provided firsthand accounts.

“There’s a different energy having people in the room,” she said. 

For more information and to see the series schedule, go to patten.lib.me.us/ths23.

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