OTISFIELD — The Otisfield Historical Society is opening its doors to researchers and other visitors every Wednesday beginning May 7.

Society member Jean Hankins said in a statement this week that the society’s archives will be available to the public in the Old Town House at 53 Bell Hill Road from 2 to 4 p.m. each Wednesday.

The archival room, named after Sybil Knight Lamb, was dedicated last fall after the 1905 building was renovated for use as the society headquarters and as a repository for their archives. Society members say Lamb’s century-plus-old diaries have become an invaluable resource for local historians. Lamb was born in 1850 and died in 1929.

The building was once a hub of town activity, including the site of annual town meetings and voting. Official use of the building declined as the population grew, and in 1992 a town office opened in the former Otisfield elementary school on Route 121.

Last June, after the foundation and basement were completed, town voters approved using $22,606 from the Sybil Lamb Fund to complete the archives room. The fund, which still has more than $100,000 in it from interest accrued over nearly a century, allowed the society to complete construction of the basement room.

The money paid to frame and insulate the basement perimeter, install a sump pump, dehumidify, frame and insulate the 25- by 20-foot room, and install Sheetrock and a climate-control system. The archives had previously been stored in a barn without climate control.


According to society members, Hankins or another “knowledgeable substitute” will be available each Wednesday for anyone who wants to do research or just talk about the history of Otisfield. The archives will be available Wednesday afternoons through the fall.

Included in the archives are photos, historical maps, town records dating back to the 18th century, manuscript letters, deeds and legal papers. The archivist will be available to help patrons solve genealogical problems and to help determine the history of houses in town.

Access to the archive room is through the door at the rear of the building. Visitors are asked to park behind the building and proceed down the stairs to the basement. Visitors are asked to knock and announce themselves before entering.


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