County Ag Report - A Look Inside the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 5:22 PM EST
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“There was a group of people that met at Joe’s Diner. Probably twenty or twenty-five people with a mission of trying to find a building or build a building that would house artifacts that we were losing going out of the state.”

It was that desire to preserve some of Aroostook County’s agricultural history that led to the purchase of the former Littleton Elementary School in 2001, and the opening of the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum soon after. Volunteers, Barry Campbell and Francis Fitzpatrick have been with the museum from the beginning. Fitzpatrick, who is a past president of the museum, says that people began donating items after they put the word out they were looking for donations.

“We kind of put the word out that we were looking for artifacts. Items that pertain to the area. It might be kitchen, it might be home, it might be farm, logging. We have not purchased anything. Whatever is here was donated. We’re picking the best of the best, and that’s kind of the job for the next twenty years.”

As the space inside the building was filling up with artifacts, buildings began to appear outside, including a one room schoolhouse relocated to the museum grounds in 2006, the Carl & Helen Hagan Barn and the Cole Barn, dedicated to the memory of Allie Cole and his son, Galen. Allie, who was the first to mount snowplows on trucks to clear the road from Lincoln to Houlton in 1931, and Galen, who operated Cole’s Transportation.

“Mostly snow equipment but we can put other artifacts in there too. We’re working on our fourth snowplow right now”

When asked to describe the wide range of items on display at the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum, Fitzpatrick and Campbell said what’s really on display is the ingenuity of the people who one used those items and how they strived to make life easier.

“It’s like our seed  cutters. They started out cutting seed with a knife and a board and then somebody found an easier way and a faster way of doing it.”

“I think this is a very good display of the people for the last 150 years, of their ingenuity and their needs. They couldn’t just go buy it off the shelf so the built it they sewed it, they hammered it out.”

Jonathon Eigenmann, NEWSSOURCE 8.