Is a Farm Enough?

For twenty-five now, the Curran Homestead has labored to bring a small taste of early nineteenth century rural farm life to the greater Bangor community. Our all-volunteer effort originally focused on restoring and revitalizing the remains of the old Curran Farm on Field’s Pond Road in Orrington and presenting it to the public the way it would have been in the early 1900’s.
As the physical structures stabilized and our artifact collection grew, our attention turned to capturing, and passing on, the skills and work ethics of that earlier time, and we found a ready audience in the youth of today.
Wood-working, metal casting, blacksmithing and the operation of antique farm equipment all proved irresistible to the boys and young men who stopped by, and the ladies have been fascinated by glimpses into yesterday’s housekeeping and family life. We have provided an outlet for those who wanted to undertake teaching, gardening, maintenance and restoration projects on our behalf, and have worked hard to fit into the community’s cultural and entertainment calendar.
But all of that is about to change. As of January 1, 2017, the ‘Curran Homestead Living History Museum and Farm’ will be no more. Instead, the farm will assume its place as an integral part of “Curran Homestead Village at Field’s Pond” which will occupy the seventy-two acre Curran Homestead holdings which extend for half a mile along the Field’s Pond Road opposite the Maine Audubon Society’s campus in Orrington and Holden.
The grand leap from a simple farm to an entire village was not part of the Homestead’s operational plan, but the closing of 19th Century Willowbrook Village in Newfield, ME, and the faith and generosity of its board of directors has opened this exciting new path. The Willowbrook Board with Dr. Robert Schmick, Willowbrook’s Museum Director, has worked tirelessly to craft a plan that would keep Willowbrook’s extensive collections, and its nearly half-century legacy, alive in the State of Maine, and eastern Maine’s citizens will be the principle benefactors of that plan. However, during the transition, the Curran Homestead will consider organizing some events/classes/workshops and a field trip season for area schools on the Willowbrook campus that will become known as “Curran Homestead Village at Newfield”.
So… pardon us while we build a village in Orrington and Holden. Will it have carnival rides and a big hotel? A gigantic sound stage with laser lights? Perhaps a casino and its own exit from I-395? Definitely not! Think simple country store, one-room schoolhouse and perhaps a ride on a restored 1894 carousel. Imagine an antique wagon ride on a lazy summer day or the taste of fresh apple cider on a crisp fall afternoon. Think about the fascination your kids will find in discovering the handcrafting skills your great-grandparents took for granted in the hush of an electronic-free sojourn back to yesterday.
Better yet; join us! We anticipate breaking our self-imposed ‘volunteers only’ rule with the hiring of Dr. Schmick as our new Museum Director, but we will always need help and there will always be room for volunteers.  And don’t forget; If you can remember 1930, we need you – if you can’t, you need us.

Richard Stockford

About Richard Stockford

The Curran Homestead Living History Farm and Museum is an all-volunteer project dedicated to preserving and presenting the culture, heritage, and skills of early nineteenth century rural Maine.