The Bangor Historical Society had another interesting year.  While somewhat back to normal there were some new challenges which we endured along with many other downtown businesses.  Our tours returned and were well attended.  We continued with answering research inquiries and cataloguing artifacts with the help of some new volunteers.  The Thomas A. Hill House was open for tours as much as staffing allowed and virtual presentations on a variety of subjects were held along with some in person presentations.  2023 dates are being worked on now for Hill House hours, tours and presentations.  We had two new events which we are looking to continue in 2023 – our movie night at Mt. Hope Cemetery and the Mystery Night are both being discussed and dates will be announced soon.

Hill House is almost 200 years old and needs some help and with rising utility and operating costs general support is needed.  Like everyone else, BHS has been hard hit by increased utility and heating costs along with inflation on all goods and services.  We are projecting increased budget expenses for 2023.  While we plan to be open more and hold more fundraisers to increase revenues by increasing staff hours for our Curator and Operations Manager, Matt Bishop, we still need your support.   BHS has been fortunate to have your support in the past, we hope we can count on you in 2023.

Make a donation today by clicking here.

Restoration Projects
 We also have some major project needs right now – restoration of the fence, repair and restoration of the portico foundation, deck, and the columns. 

Fence Restoration
The first project is the fence restoration project.  We are actively working to get the fence restored next year.  The project involves the rehabilitation of the granite wall on the Union and High Streets perimeters of the property.  The fencing will then be put on top of the wall to replicate as best we can how the fence used to be.  Additionally, there will be black chain link fencing installed along the property lines to the side and back.  The fencing is being restored in order to bring back the property’s historic presence and design, to control traffic flow to the property, and to secure the property.  The Historic Preservation Commission has given its approval and we have been working to secure funding since last summer.

The estimated cost for the project is just under $70,000.  BHS is working with an agency on funding in the range of $50-60,000 that if successful will still leave us with the need for fundraising.  Contributors will be recognized with appropriate signage at Hill House for contributions to this project.

Please give to this project if you can, so we can start construction in the spring.  Dedicated donations for this project should be mailed to Bangor Historical Society, 159 Union Street, Bangor, ME  04401.  Please indicate Fence Project in the memo line.

Portico Restoration
The second project is the portico restoration.  Several years ago, it became very apparent that something was happening with the portico since the granite decking became uneven and some slabs were even separating from the building.   As suspected, an engineering inspection revealed that in 1835 foundation building practices weren’t quite what they are today.  The foundation under the portico has suffered the ravages of Maine winter frost and has deteriorated. To restore the portico, we will need to remove the columns and restore them, remove the granite slabs, excavate, repair the foundation, and then replace everything. The project comes with a big price tag of more than $300,000 (that was the estimate last year).  This project will be done in 3 phases, about $100,000 each, starting with the back portico which is the worst portion.  In 2022, we have been successful in raising some funds for the back portico.  We received a $25,000 challenge grant from the Davis Family Foundation and $5,500 from Bangor Savings Bank.  Thank you to both the Davis Family Foundation and Bangor Savings Bank.  

A capital campaign for this project will be formally announced in 2023. If you wish to support this project now, you can mail a check to BHS at 159 Union St., Bangor, ME 04401.  Please indicate on the memo line that it is for the Portico Project.

Thank you for your support and Happy Holidays from the BHS Staff and Board.