HEBRON — The Historical Society has moved into its new home in the village.
After several years of fundraising and volunteer efforts, the society will showcase its new digs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at 358 Paris Road, across from the Hebron Town Hall.
The society was close to dissolving not too many years ago but when there was an offer to purchase the home of late society member and avid history buff Richard Bedford, the members jumped at the chance. Members quickly pulled together an aggressive plan to purchase the house, make extensive interior and exterior renovations, and bring back its scattered archives under one roof.
With donations of materials, money and countless hours of volunteer time, the society has upgraded the first floor with new electrical wiring, plumbing and insulation, society President Bruce Conant said. The building is a former one-room schoolhouse believed to date to the 1800s.
Conant said the society has been holding fundraising events over the last two years, including monthly public suppers with accompanying raffles and auctions at the West Minot Grange Hall during the summer and fall, bake sales at the town office on election days and supplying a meal to voters at the annual town meeting. Additionally, the society held two large yard sales a year and sent fundraising letters to town taxpayers and society members.
“A capital campaign seeking support of local banks is on the agenda,” Conant said. “Our stated goal has been to raise $50,000 to pay off our mortgage, for our remodeling, and for necessary equipment. We have only one more year before our mortgage is to be paid.”
The fundraising efforts have garnered about two-thirds of the amount necessary to reach the goal, Conant said. “With likely most of our larger member donations already in, we are working hard to increase our exposure, gain new members and raise at least the balance of our goal as soon as possible, to give us the base to allow ongoing service to the community.”
Conant said there is still a lot of work to be done but the archives, which were housed in places as far away as Yarmouth and include the collections formerly housed in the back of the Brighton Hill School have been gathered. They date back to the beginning of the town. Computer cataloging of the collection is also under way, he said.
The collection also includes some of Bedford's archives his daughter Maralee Knight wanted the society to have. Knight also sold her late father's house to the society.
Conant said society members will be on hand to greet visitors and answer questions at the open house. Light refreshments will be served.