BETHEL — The following April events are planned by the Bethel Historical Society.

In conjunction with the upcoming exhibit, “In the Field & On the Homefront: Bethel During the Civil War,” which opens at the Robinson House in late May, the Bethel Historical Society’s Annual History Symposium on Saturday, April 13, will explore how the Civil War is taught in secondary schools, with an emphasis on methods and resources.

The keynote speaker will be Thomas A. Desjardin, historian for the Maine Division of Parks & Public Lands, and author of “Stand Firm Ye Boys From Maine: The 20th Maine and the Gettysburg Campaign,” “These Honored Dead: How the Story of Gettysburg Shaped American Memory,” “Through A Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold’s March to Quebec, 1775,” “Joshua L. Chamberlain: A Handbook,” and “Joshua L. Chamberlain: A Life in Letters.”

Following Desjardin’s presentation and a short break, commentary on teaching the Civil War at the high school level will be provided by several area history teachers, and questions will be invited from those in the audience. The program will take place in the Mason House exhibit hall, 14 Broad St., from 2 to 4:30 p.m., and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

On Tuesday, April 16, the Bethel Historical Society will open a mini-exhibit titled “The Bethel Inn: A Century of Hospitality.” On view through Dec. 27, this display celebrates the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Bethel Inn on July 12, 1913.

Designed in the Colonial Revival style by the Boston architectural firm of Coolidge and Carlson, the Bethel Inn’s construction was financed primarily by William Bingham II and built under the close supervision of a six-man corporation led by Dr. John George Gehring, whose clinic for the treatment of those with nervous disorders brought numerous prominent people to Bethel and the inn during its early years of operation.

Built on the site of the Prospect Hotel (begun in 1861), which was largely destroyed by fire in 1911, the Bethel Inn met with immediate success. By the time the inn celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1988, its facilities had grown to include several once-private dwellings near the Bethel Hill common. The Society’s modest display will include vintage Bethel Inn brochures, menus, maps, photographs and building plans.


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