PARIS – The first edition of a cultural map covering more than two dozen towns and villages in Maine School Districts 17, 39, 44 and 72, in western Maine is now available. The map was prepared by the Western Oxford Foothills Cultural Council, which researched and designed it.

In addition to a driving map of the area, there are also four walking tours of the region’s National Historic Districts: Bethel Hill, Paris Hill, Waterford Flat and Main Street, Norway. Categories include museums, galleries, theatres, historic accommodations, craft outlets and antique shops. For the first time, however, a cultural map also includes niche farms and historic mines as well as historical tidbits.

Toni Seger, founder of the council, said she is grateful for the help she received collecting information. “It wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of people generously donating their time and knowledge.”

She said, “Jim Mann of Mountain Mann Jewelers gave me information about the history of mining in western Maine; Janice Davis of King’s Hill Inn provided information about accommodations and antiques; Steve Catanese of Paris Hill Pewter was invaluable with the details of Paris Hill.”

“The Bethel and Norway historical societies gave me a lot of information about historical sites. Randy Bennett of Bethel Historical Society spotted a lot of errors,” said Seger. “Historical information was also contributed by historians Peter Lenz, Ben Conant and David Sanderson. Mark Hews of Threshold to Maine gave me information about farms and Anne Campbell of Norway Downtown Revitalization helped me choose buildings for the walking tour.”

The map’s outer cover displays Evans Notch. “Our magnificent scenery has long been a magnet for creative people and cultural entrepreneurs. That’s why we have so much history here,” said Seger.

In addition to the in-kind support, a prototype of the map was produced, in part, with funding from the North East State Foresters Association. Printing costs for the first edition were mostly covered by the Maine Arts Commission with help from the Greater Bethel Chamber of Commerce, Denmark Arts Center and Mahoosuc Realty.

Copies of the map will be distributed throughout western Maine through chambers, realtors, cultural retailers and other outlets.

The cultural center will also exhibit and distribute maps at the Oxford Showcase this year, Seger said. Maps are also available at tourism outlets in Fryeburg, Kittery and Yarmouth.

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