About The Waterville Historical Society
Founded in 1903, the purpose and goal of the Waterville Historical Society is to collect and preserve Waterville's historically significant collections. To promote Waterville's unique history and rich cultural heritage by offering events and educational programming to the general public. To be responsible stewards of the Redington Museum and other physical spaces by maintaining and operating the facility so that it can be fully appreciated by future generations.
June 10, 2022
Greetings from the Waterville Historical Society! We’ve been working hard behind the scenes at the museum and are excited to share with you some recent changes, reports of current activities, and news of exciting changes on the horizon.
First and foremost, we want to inform you that Bryan and Bonnie have moved on to pursue other opportunities and have taken up residence in the Augusta area. We’re sad to see them go after so many years of dedicated support of our mission, and I’m sure you all join me in thanking them for their many years of service to the WHS. Their duties have been taken on by some new volunteers and board members.
We’ve been busy during the pandemic closure and here are some of the highlights:
Renovation of interior spaces (painting, floor restoration, exit/egress improvements) – thanks to H.T. Winters, Fred Clark, Julie Miller, Chase Hill and Pat Burdick for lending their expertise!
Streamlining and improving our online systems, communications and website/social media – thanks (again) to Chase for designing and implementing these changes.
Preparing to reorganize and conserve our collections - both Kate Pestana and Pat Burdick deserve recognition for these efforts.
Developing a phased plan to upgrade outdoor spaces for event and educational purposes – and we offer our deep appreciation to the Central Maine Garden Club for their beautification projects.
Stay tuned for more announcements regarding our grand re-opening and we look forward to seeing you at our mid-autumn membership events that are currently being planned.
We’re also planning to hold our annual business meeting in early September and will be sending out an email closer to the meeting date.
As a reminder, annual membership begins June 1 and ends on May 31, and if you haven’t yet renewed your membership we heartily encourage you to do so. If you're on our mailing list we're sending out via regular mail a membership postcard and a return envelope for your convenience.
We are also sending our newsletter/membership reminder to those who have provided email addresses and we hope that you will become a new member or renew your membership on-line. We strongly encourage you to provide your current email address so we can most easily send you our updates.
There is no other organization like ours in Waterville, and we need your financial support to continue celebrating the rich history and culture of our community at the Redington Museum. Thank you in advance for all that you do to support our mission, and we look forward to seeing you in the Fall!
Jay Violette, President
About The Redington Museum
The museum is housed in a handsome two story home built in 1814 by pioneer Waterville settler Asa Redington, a veteran of three enlistments in the Revolutionary War and a member of George Washington's elite Honor Guard. After the revolution he developed the water rights at Ticonic Falls and with his sons Samuel and William established a thriving flour mill on the banks of the Kennebec River. The father of six sons and three daughters, Asa built this substantial home for his son William. Fashioned of great hewn timbers, all hand pegged, it still features the original spiral staircase, fireplaces with period woodwork, and floors of wide pumpkin pine. The newel post in the entrance exhibits the "contractor's peace stone," a small smooth polished stone signifying in Colonial times that the project had been completed to both the owner's and builder's satisfaction. Today five rooms are furnished with antiques of the late 18th and early 19th centuries from the Redington family, the family of pioneer attorney Timothy Boutelle, and from other early local families. The house has been open to the public as a museum since 1927 and was entered in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Society's library contains many original materials useful for local historical research. There are numerous volumes of state and local history, a special collection of books on the Civil War, and an important collection of early school texts, many of them published in Hallowell.
There are several important series of diaries, including those of James Stackpole, which cover the years 1785 to 1820. Other series include the diaries of George Flood, covering 1860 to 1900; those of Miss Harriet Parmenter, covering 1888 to 1940; those of Miss Clara Costley, from 1912 to 1950; and the Keith diaries. Other manuscripts include a large number of account books from early businesses, records of early local physicians and a file of early letters and documents from and about local citizens.
The Society has a good collection of early local newspapers, including a fairly complete run of the weekly Waterville Mail from 1847 to 1906 (microfilmed in 1975-76 with the help of a grant from the Maine State Commission of the Arts and Humanities. Microfilms available for viewing at Colby College). Numerous early local maps, some of which are on display, and the extensive collection of early photographs of Waterville allow researchers to piece together an excellent visual history of the area.