One of the pieces that will be shown in the display at the Poland Historical Society.

POLAND — The Maine Historic Preservation Commission (MHPC) excavated and researched a site in Poland for possible inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The project was conducted in conjunction with the reconstruction of State Route 26.

The Poland Historical Society will host an open house to exhibit information related to the project from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17.

Many Poland residents can recall the stone foundations of an old barn on Route 26, just south of the present-day Top Gun shooting range. The property was also home to a well-known tavern and dance club in the 1950s known as The Wayside Inn. Back in 2005 — when the highway widening project got underway — the historic significance of the ruins came into question.

Locally, there was a popular notion that the property had been the site of an “old Shaker barn,” since many members of the religious sect were known to inhabit the immediate area. Given that the highway reconstruction threatened to engulf the location, it fell to the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to perform test excavations to determine the history of the property.

Although the site was not ultimately determined to be of significance, the research process and the laws that govern it may be of interest to history buffs and other community members. The Poland Historical Society will host an open house to exhibit information related to the project, and display some of the 1,300 artifacts that were collected and catalogued.

In addition, a local historian and relic hunter will be on hand to display some of her own finds and discuss the processes she uses in her research. The event will take place at the School House Museum in the Poland Municipal Complex. Admission is free; light refreshments will be available.


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