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Author: jon

Statewide Election coming up – June 13

We hope to get Paris Hill residents to vote in the upcoming statewide Elections scheduled for June 13. Paris has two openings for Select Board positions on that ballot. Residents can begin voting absentee starting May 15.   

Residents should attend the Candidate Night on May 18 and voice any concerns they have about town business.   Also voters should plan to attend the Town Meeting on June 20.

Meet the Candidates – May 18 6:30PM

Coming up on Thursday May 18th at 6:30PM is a meet the candidates event for the election next month. Residents are encouraged to come and voice any concerns they have about town business. Also voters should plan to attend the Town Meeting on June 20.

Hamlin Library Book Club

Founded in 2016, by a group of village readers, this group has read nearly 70 books.  Librarian Jenn Lewis has been instrumental in guiding our choices and then getting interlibrary loans for the members.   She keeps track of what we read, and who is hosting each month.  Recently we asked her if she had a record of books that we have read, and within days we all had a list detailing our choices since 2016.  She is going to create a poster for the library to show our selections.  It’s a comprehensive and impressive list. 

We began meeting in the library but quickly outgrew the small accommodations.   We now meet in member homes, but miss the charm of meeting amidst rows of books with Jenn quietly participating from her desk. 

We love all kinds of writers and all kinds of topics:  from science fiction, romance, classics and literary prize winners to fantasy, social commentary and even a bit of politics now and then.     Perhaps our favorite book club meeting (to date) has to be Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun.  We met at Janet Brogan’s for a pot luck lunch where everyone made a recipe from the book.   We drank wine and ate delicious Italian fare for a wonderful couple of hours discussing marriage, family, food and travel.   And Jenn was the guest of honor.  

We meet on the first Thursday of each month, and new members are welcome.  Our core group of 6-8 year round residents grows in the summer as residents and old friends return to Paris Hill.   Sign up with Jenn if you are interested.

Remaining books for 2023

May 4:  Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

June 6:  The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

July 6:  The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Aug 3:  This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

Sept 7:  Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Oct 5:  The Second Mrs Astor: A Heartbreaking Novel of the Titanic by Shana Abe

Nov 2:  The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Dec 7:  If I Live Til Morning by Jean Muenchrat

Community Club Academy Spring 2023 cleanup

Neighbors showed up bright and early on Saturday, May 6 to tidy up The Academy in preparation for summer events and to assess any problems that may be addressed this summer.

Neighbors participating were:  MIke and Janet Brogan,  Jon Thompson, and Jan Thompson, Jeff and Linda Richardson, Peter Roy, John Thurston and new neighbor (in the Old House)  Mark Eckels.  Rosemary Losso and Adrienne Cote came late and spent some time looking at curtain needs for the stage.

Mike and Linda scraped and painted the lower walls upstairs, Janet, Peter and Jeff cleaned up the stage and removed items that were not needed.  Jon and Jan cleaned the kitchen, the bathrooms and washed the downstairs windows.  Jeff, Peter and Jon removed the old stove.  Jeff, Peter, Jon and Mike took the stage Grand Drape downstairs via the back stairs in preparation for the restoration scheduled for June 8.    John Thurston and Mark Eckels were busy doing yard cleanup.  Peter and Jeff made a dump run at the end of the morning.  We were all done by 10 am.    Well done everyone.

In addition, on Tuesday, May  2, MIke Brogan, Jeff Richardson and Peter Roy rebuilt the support for the Grand Drape.    This was no easy task in an old building – but they managed to craft a system that will secure the drape in place.  

Last week’s Mt Mica Rd washout!

Looking back to that mighty rainstorm on May 2, I wanted to let you all know what happened and why Lincoln St. was travelled by heavy trucks all day on Monday, May 3.   Considering the fragile nature of Lincoln Street this was a concern to all of us on that street.

The rain washed out Mr Mica Road above Cooper Spring resulting in a road closure for most of Monday.   The washout was huge and took out a very large section of the road, including new pavement.  Additional pavement had to be cut to keep the washout from getting worse.

I contacted Dawn Noyes, town manager and asked her some questions. 

  1. How was the washout reported?  Jamie was off, so Jesse reported the problem.  He determined that it was over more than half of the width of the road which meant traffic had to be diverted while the road crew worked. Dawn said they are hopeful a more permanent fix will be done this year. 

2.  Were any residents directly affected.  Yes.   Driveway culverts were involved and folks had to turn around.

3.  How long was Cooper Spring closed?  Most of the day on Monday,  It was reopened late afternoon.  The crews were done around 5:30 pm.

4.  How many truckloads were needed to stop the washout and reopen the road?  Not sure, but the cost for the gravel was $7,393.  At one point they were at 20 loads.

5.  Will there be any more temporary work done before the “real” fix.  Crews will monitor the conditions and make sure it doesn’t get worse. 

I also asked Dawn about the  road work schedule for Paris Hill, especially Tremont and Lincoln Streets.  She said she was aware of the deterioration and would try to get a look at conditions and possibly rethink the 2033 current schedule for those roads. 

Dawn also asked that I encourage Paris Hill residents to vote in the upcoming statewide Elections scheduled for June 13. Paris has two openings for Select Board positions on that ballot. Residents can begin voting absentee starting May 15.   

She said residents should attend the Candidate Night on May 18 and voice any concerns they have about town business.   Also voters should plan to attend the Town Meeting on June 20.

Spring clean up at the Academy 5/6

There will be a spring clean up at the Paris Hill Academy building on 5/6 from 8-11am. If you’re available to help volunteer – we’re looking for help cleaning inside and out – and touching up some peeling paint around the building. Thanks!

Paris Hill Baptist Church Restoration Underway!

Hi Everyone,

If you have recently been by the church, you will have noticed that the outside restoration project has started. The cost has been fully covered from a $24,000 grant that we received from the Davis Family Foundation of Yarmouth, ME. The project includes replacement of all decayed wood, reglazing the windows, replacement of missing shutters and painting all outside surfaces. There is quite a long lead time on the custom building of the shutters. Therefore, we may have to live without a full complement of shutters for some number of months. We expect the outside restoration project to be completed before the end of June (weather dependent).

On Monday, May 1st, there will be a very large hydraulic lift that will be delivered to allow Hahnel Bros. Roofing to begin replacing the steeple roof and eliminating the leaks that have damaged part of the domed ceiling inside the church. The cost of this project will be 50% covered by a grant of $36,000 from the Maine Steeple Foundation. The remaining 50% will be covered by our fundraising efforts from the last two years. Even after paying 50% of the cost of this project, we will still have a reasonable cushion of funds for operating expenses and any other unforeseen costs.

We expect both projects to be completed in time for the summer fund raising events which include Founders Day (in conjunction with the library) on July 15th, Hannibal Hamlin Birthday Event on August 26th and the Paris Hill Music Festival hosted at the Paris Hill Country Club on August 4th and 5th.   The Friends of the Church Board of Directors are very pleased that we are able to return this 185-year-old historic building to its original glory in the heart of Paris Hill.

Thanks,

Kevin

2023 ANNUAL COMMEMORATIVE PARIS HILL EGG

How to Purchase

About the Egg, Hannibal Hamlin and the Paris Hill Community Club

Last year’s “Paris Hill Commemorative Egg” fundraiser was a huge success and the 2023 egg will complement the series nicely. Last year’s eggs were sold and delivered all over Maine and as far south as South Carolina and as far west as Colorado to people with unique connections to Paris Hill. The eggs were met with great enthusiasm and excitement. 

Paris Hill resident Linda Richardson has again embraced the task of designing the 2023 egg with the help of local author/illustrator and Paris Hill resident Alexandra Thompson. This year’s beautiful egg will showcase the most recognized home on Paris Hill, Hannibal Hamlin’s birthplace circa 1806. The “golden egg” will symbolize the generosity of the Bahre family, current owners of the estate,  for their continued support of Paris Hill restoration projects. Neighboring Well’s Wood Turning and Finishing of Buckfield, Maine, makers of the official White House Easter eggs, again produced the 2023 very special ‘egg’.

All proceeds from the 2023 egg fundraiser and “All Things Paris Hill” t-shirts will support the The Paris Hill Academy roof restoration project. It appears, by numerous water leaks, the old corrugated metal roof has outlived its lifetime dangerously threatening the integrity of this historic building. 

The Paris Hill Academy building serves as the “Paris Hill Community Club” sponsoring monthly community dinners and is available as a  rental venue open to the public. The building also houses significant items of historical importance, one of which is the ‘Grand Drape’ showcased dressing the theatrical stage on the second floor. The Grand Drape is also undergoing a privately funded  restoration project as it is one of only three existing Grand Drapes, located in New England,  painted by Charles A. Henry of Boston Massachusetts in 1892. 

The Academy building was built in 1856 to educate the children of the fledgling Paris Hill community and also served as the performance venue for the Paris Hill Thespian Club. The Thespian Club was conceived by Dr. Cyrus Hamlin in the very home featured on this years egg.  Thespian performances depicting early dramas of the day continued through the early 1900’s. At a young age Hannibal Hamlin had aspired to become an actor before engaging in his political career and ultimately becoming Vice President of the United States. 

For a donation of $10.00 to the non-profit organization  ‘Paris Hill Community Club’ you will be presented with the 2023 “Paris Hill Egg” the second egg in the collectible series. Handmade cherry egg stands are available for $2.00 to showcase your ‘Golden Egg’.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed to last year’s Egg-ceptional fundraising campaign. Who said only “Aesop’s goose” can lay golden eggs as we continue to preserve our historic legacy ‘ONE EGG AT A TIME’. 

To Purchase: 2023’s Egg’s ($10 donation) and optional stands ($2 donation) are available at Speedway Inc in Oxford as well as via Linda Richardson (cozycider@gmail.com). Cash or check made out to the Paris Hill Community Club. If you need mailed, postage will be added – however most local orders are hand delivered by Linda!

Also, a huge thanks to Linda Richardson for again spearheading this wonderful fundraising effort, benefiting the historic Paris Hill Village community!

– Paris Hill Community Club Board

Hunger Trees Fundraiser

Linda Richardson has put together a great fundraiser to support the MaineHealth food pantry at Stephens Memorial.

Dear Friends, Neighbors and the Paris Hill Community:

As we all come together in the Christmas spirit and celebrate another beautiful year on Paris Hill, we all have wonderful memories for which to be thankful. However, this has been and will continue to be a difficult year and winter for so many families in our area.

There will be so many families wondering how to put food on their tables, buy warm clothes for their children and heat their homes. So in the true meaning of Christmas, perhaps we can all dig a little deeper and offer comfort to those families who ask for so little but need the very basics of a hot meal, warm clothing, and oil for their furnace.

I’ve been busy turning scraps of wood from Jeff’s workshop into what I like to call ‘Hunger Trees’. Leftover barn board pieces from Jeff’s projects have been fashioned into winter tree ‘folk art’ mantel decor. All proceeds from the sale of the ‘Hunger Trees’ will benefit the food pantry sponsored by and located at Stephen’s Memorial Hospital in conjunction with Maine Health and the Good Shepherd Food Pantry. The director of the Stephen’s Food Pantry, Carl Costanzi, assured me that the donations will go directly to purchasing needed items for residents of our local communities. Mr. Costanzi was very grateful for this donation effort on behalf of the Paris Hill community.

The Hunger Trees will be available at Becky and Peter Roy’s Eastern Slope Christmas Tree farm or by emailing Linda Richardson at cozycider@gmail.com. Small trees are $10.00 and larger trees are $20.00. Supplies are limited. If you would like to make a donation and not receive a tree that is also possible. My goal is a $500.00 donation to the Stephen’s Memorial Food Pantry. Make checks payable to: Stephen’s Memorial Hospital and write Food Pantry on the note line. Together a few can feed many. My heart breaks when I think of ‘what could’ be or ‘should be’ and ‘what is’ for so many families trying to provide for their children. Let’s make the true meaning of Christmas shine in our community.

My Christmas Blessings to all:
Linda Richardson

For more information on the Mainehealth Food Pantry at Stephens Memorial click here. Thanks to Linda for this great effort!

Hooper Tomb – Paris Hill

As Halloween approaches, I’m always intrigued by some of the spookiness that surrounds Paris Hill. Overgrown cemeteries with moss and lichen covered stones adorned with creepy etchings depicting death and dating back to the 1700’s, rusty iron gates, a mysterious old cellar garden, houses with boarded up windows, apparitions, orbs, a mysterious murder and “tombs”.

Last year, I visited the infamous Chandler tomb and was pleasantly surprised at how well it has survived the past 200 years. I took Rosemary Losso with me just in case a hand reached up out of the ground and grabbed my ankle. I have a vivid imagination when it comes to the supernatural.

This October, my all things mysterious journey took me down the Hooper Ledge Rd in search of the “Hooper Tomb”. I’d read about this tomb in my “Paris Cemeteries 1793-2004” compiled by the Paris Historical Society.

It was a beautiful October morning when I called my good friend and partner in crime Brian Partridge and asked if he would join me on my latest mysterious trek. Our first stop was Pine Grove Cemetery in Paris. I needed to locate and take pictures of Dr. Littlefield’s tombstone for my article on the “Littlefield murders”. Brian pointed out the valuable legacies represented on the stones in that cemetery. Transplanted bodies of early pioneers and settlers from forgotten private cemeteries, infamous early businessmen, cultural icons, nameless children having succumbed to epidemics, local statesmen and war heroes abound resting under the aging pines. We could have spent the entire afternoon walking among the stones and feeling history come to life under our feet. But alas, we had another major mysterious experience calling us. I took my pictures and we headed towards the Hooper Ledge road.

Approaching the Hooper Ledge road from RT 117, we took a left and proceeded up the hill. In a previous visit, I had scoped out the location of the tomb, so I knew it’s exact location. The tomb rests inside a stone wall overgrown with bittersweet and all kinds of thorny brush and vines. There is a small iron gate topped with beer cans someone has used for target practice in the past. As we scurried up the embankment toward the tomb our feet were grabbed and entangled by the vines almost like an omen not to trespass on this sacred space. Brian stood outside the iron gate (hmmm did he want the insurance of a quick escape if things got scary) as I proceeded to climb over the stonewall and enter this sacred spot. Before me loomed the ‘Hooper Tomb’. Majestic, no, hallowed, no…just a huge mound of dirt fronted by granite slabs, a white engraved limestone door secured by iron strap hinges and an old iron lock. There was little to no maintenance of the lot, however, it wasn’t overgrown or obscured by over a century of leaves, vines or debris. The door showed signs of its age, a rusty shadow under the hinges and a large crack in the limestone but other than that it has fared well since 1884.

Elder James Hooper, born in Berwick, Maine in 1769, settled in Paris in 1794 and in 1795 he was selected and ordained as the first minister of the First Baptist Church of Paris. Prior to the building of the first church on Paris Hill, services were held in barns and private residences. Elder Hooper and his new wife lived on a farm on the Hooper Ledge road, hence the family burial plot located on this property. The property stayed in the Hooper family until 1898. Buried in the tomb were Rev James Hooper, his wife Sally Merrill, and daughters Polly and Eliza both approximately 6 years old having died of ‘canker rash’ just days apart. Also buried in the tomb, James Hooper’s nephew George, George’s wife Abigail and their son William. Other Hooper family members may be buried in the same tomb, William H. and John J. Hooper. As time passed and the property was sold outside of the family, it appears town officials had the tomb sealed to protect it from vandals and animals sometime in the early 1930’s. It isn’t clear who oversees the tomb and lot now.

Having paid our respects to yet another famous figure with ties to the Hill’s historic past, we turned and left the somber site just as we found it…peaceful and quiet under the shade of a beautiful autumn afternoon. As we traversed the embankment, those pesky vines yet once again grabbed onto our ankles now begging us to stop and take one last look at the tomb they have guarded so faithfully all these years.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL

Story and photos submitted by Linda Richardson – thank you!