Skowhegan Falls History Walk in Celebration of Skowhegan’s Bicentennial
Date: Thursday, August 24, 2023
Time: 10:00 am
Location: Benedict Arnold Park behind the Federated Church, Island Avenue, Skowhegan, Me.
In celebration of Skowhegan’s Bicentennial Melvin Burnham, local historian, will lead a history walk at Skowhegan Falls Thursday, August 24th 10:00 am, beginning at the Benedict Arnold Park behind the Federated Church, Island Avenue, Skowhegan.
This history walk offers participants in-depth information with vintage images that illustrate what role Skowhegan Island and Skowhegan Falls played in the development of industry and culture on the Kennebec River during the 19th century. Participants will learn what it was like to live and work in this era; how the power of moving water can shape the destiny of a community. This island once could only be accessed by rowboat, canoe, or bateaux. Native Americans used it for fishing, resting, growing crops, and gathering mineral resources for their weapons. Now thousands of vehicles cross this 12-acre island every day.
The old Spinning Mill, built in 1922, is currently being repurposed as housing units, a hotel, and a brewery. If the conditions are right tour participants will be offered a chance to look inside this project to see how an historic structure can be reconstructed and continue to serve the community.
Many of the photos shared in this walk originated from the H. A. Wyman Collection assembled by Roland Taylor Patten (1864 - 1913), an early editor/owner of the Independent- Reporter and avid cyclist. Prior to his involvement in the Independent-Reporter photos used in the paper were discarded after use. Mr. Patten, realizing their value, decided to save them and over the years collected numerous photos depicting early Skowhegan history. Upon selling his interest in the newspaper and moving away, Mr. Patten secured funds from H. A. Wyman to assemble his image collection in binders and labeled each with valuable information. The Wyman Collection is now housed at the Skowhegan History House Museum & Research Center.
The ninety-minute walk will be tailored to participants’ needs and interests. Participants are welcome to bring and use lightweight folding chairs for their comfort and use their cameras along the way.
Join the tour and take a step back in time to see why Skowhegan Falls was and continues to be an important historic district in this community.