A Gem of a Find in the Small Town of Willimantic, Maine

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This summer, I had the pleasure of visiting with my friend, Marilyn, who lives in Willimantic, Maine.  Willimantic is a small town of 150 people in Piscataquis County.  I shared about our day of hiking beautiful Borestone Mountain in my last “travel” post “Summer/Fall Memories of 2017.”

I waited to share about Willimantic’s little gem as I wanted to write a separate post on my author’s page to give it the proper attention it deserves.  Over the years, the population declined  and the one-room schoolhouse was closed. Today, children are bused to school in the nearby town.

For awhile, the closed schoolhouse was utilized as a library.  Groups of individuals tried to keep it opened but as time went by, interest in the library waned.  In 1990, the doors were finally closed.  With no heat the books became moldy and over the years, the historical building began to fall into disrepair.

Fortunately, town residents, David and Madeline Thayer, had the foresight to save the building and reopen the library.  They applied and were awarded grant money to put toward the preservation of the building.   The grant money, and some of the Thayer’s personal donations, allowed for the necessary repairs to be made to restore the building, remove the lead paint to make the building safe, install new windows, add a handicap ramp and paint the inside and outside of the building.  Much of the work was done by David and Madeline with the help of occasional volunteers.

They went through the books that were left in the building to see what could be salvaged, which sadly was very little.  An appeal was made for people to donate new or gently used books to build the inventory back up.  Eventually, the work was finished and it has all paid off.  The Norton’s Corner Schoolhouse and Library was open in 2013.

They have integrated the character of the schoolhouse…the chalkboard still adorns the wall, the teacher’s and student desk are still in place and throughout, on the shelves that David built, are the books that can be borrowed.  Also, there are several historical documents and pictures on display.   The library fills a void that was felt in the community.  Along with books and historical documents, Wifi is offered and a variety of programs from reading to arts and crafts are offered.

20545477_1653508381358108_6100458161141342112_oI am pleased to share that I donated my books, Brave Nellie and Lizzie’s Lesson to this wonderful library.   I look forward to visiting and reading my books to the children some Saturday.

Willimantic is in such a beautiful rural area.  The Appalachian Trail passes close by.  There are charming babbling brooks nearby and wonderful hiking trails to enjoy the natural surroundings.  I hope that with my post about Borestone Mountain and this quaint library, it will pique you interest enough to plan a visit to the area and see for yourself this great “little gem” of Willimantic.

Norton’s Corner Schoolhouse and Library is open on Saturday afternoon from noon to 3:00 PM.  I encourage you to “like” their Facebook page – search Norton’s Corner Schoolhouse and Library on Facebook.

Until next time, I wish you blessings…….

 

 

 

 

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