LIVERMORE — The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore opens for the season on Tuesday, July 5. 

Costumed interpreters, who use third and first person interpretation techniques to portray real people who lived in the Norlands’ neighborhood in the 1800s, are ready to greet visitors to each historic building. Visitors may  meet “Aunt Clara” cooking in the farmer’s cottage, a Washburn granddaughter, “Anna Maud Washburn,” in the elegant 1867 mansion, or the schoolmaster, “John Hayes,” in the District #7 one-room schoolhouse. 

 The impressive library was built of Hallowell granite in 1883, and has portraits of and artifacts belonging to the Washburn family. The Norlands is the ancestral home of Maine’s Civil War Gov. Israel Washburn, Jr.  Three of his brothers also played significant roles during the war.  

 The oldest building on the site is the 1828 Universalist Meeting House, the first church in Livermore to have a steeple.  Israel Washburn Sr. and neighbor, Otis Pray, donated the land and raised money by selling pews. It is home to beautiful trompe l’oeil (painting to fool the eye) by 19th-century Portland artist Valentine Keiler.

 Between 1813 and 1833, Israel and Martha Washburn gave birth to 11 children. Among them were: two state governors, four Congressmen, one U.S. Senator, two foreign ministers, one Civil War general, one Navy captain, one Secretary of State, the founder of Washburn-Crosby Gold Medal Flour, the inventor of a typewriter, president of the Soo Railroad, and three noted authors. Three of the brothers served in Congress, at the same time, representing three different states. All of them called the Norlands home. 

A short walk from the Norlands is the Waters Hill Cemetery, where several Civil War veterans and Washburn descendants are laid to rest.  The Pools of Simeon, reflecting pools designed by William Drew Washburn in 1903, are easily accessible by foot on a historic carriage trail.  Maps are available in the gift shop.  Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful 445 acres of fields, forests, and working farmland.    

 Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for age 12 and under. The family ratge is $25. Norlands’ members enjoy a 20 percent discount on admission rates. 

Throughout July and August, the Norlands is open every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for “Living History Tours”.    It’s best to arrive by 3 enjoy the full site.  The Norlands is located at 290 Norlands Road in Livermore.  FMI: Visit or call 207-897-4366.


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