Freedom Town News
Save Keen Hall
1 Main Street, Freedom Village
at the intersection of Belfast Road (Rt. 137) and Main Street
Known locally as “The Principal’s House” or the last resident, Mark Philbrick’s residence, or the former office of Farmstead Press, the yellow house now surrounded by bamboos at the corner of Rt 137 and Main Street, has been acquired by the town for unpaid back taxes and is up for public bid, with a deadline of Friday, July 28th at 6pm.
The Historical Society has recently filed application with the IRS to become a 501c3 non-profit, and by law, as of July 19, 2014, can accept tax-deductible contributions from people interested in preserving an important part of Freedom’s history as an investment in our town’s future.
With much dedicated help from volunteers, town financial support, and grants, restoration of the Old Town Meeting House on North Palermo Road is nearing completion. With great impetus from the Grassi’s restoration of the Mill at Freedom Falls as a second historic preservation, energy and attention can now be focused on future development of the next project:
Restoration of Keen Hall, the former residence of Carter B. Keen.
Historical Significance: a Candidate for the National Register
Built in the mid-Nineteenth Century, as Freedom Village was growing around the early stream-based industries and businesses, the unique Dutch Gambrel was built along the main thorofare of village business by the Keen family, who are all buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Carter B. Keen graduated from Freedom Academy and went on to become a lawyer, practicing in Washington, D.C. Around 1919, he was appointed the first Director of the U.S. Postal Service by President Cleveland.
He was a major benefactor of his alma mater, Freedom Academy, and later made it possible for the Academy to acquire his family home as a residence for the Principal’s family. Later, it housed the business offices of Farmstead Press and then was used as a private residence. Recently it has fallen into disrepair and needs major restoration work, including demolition of the garage and second ell addition, jacking, a new foundation and sewage system.
A Vision for the future
Keen Hall is located at a strategic location for visibility for travelers on Rt. 137 in both directions. To have a building in that triangle of land, beautifully restored, greeting traffic coming through the village will offer an attractive welcome and an invitation to visit. The property does not seem appropriate for family life, but could suit a variety of public uses. The lot is actually a double lot, including what years ago was the “Weed or O’Leary” lot. Grading could provide minimal parking. Some initial suggestions for use include: an expanded community library; Historical Society office, archive storage and exhibit and sales space; small group meeting and program space; a Freedom Academy archive room; a wind and water energy collection; local arts and crafts exhibit and sales; a studio apartment for rental income; office rental space.
Contributions are needed from as many people as possible to establish a fund to acquire and begin the restoration process. Donors during this initial phase of the project might be listed on a plaque displayed in the building and known as “Friends of Freedom.” As progress is made, and non-profit status is granted by the IRS, application for grants can be submitted to foundations and organizations for continued development. The town has a $10,000. Grant from the Gibson Foundation received last year for use toward a community library center.
A vision for this historic preservation at one end of Main Street will inspire other growth for the benefit and improvement of our community.
Checks should be made to: Freedom Historical Society
Memo: Keen Hall Fund
71 Pleasant Street
Freedom, Maine 04941
The Freedom Selectboard and the Board of Assessors are preparing to mail your 2014 property and personal property tax bills. As dictated by State Law they are required to tax all real estate and personal property in our town. The guidelines used to evaluate personal property in Freedom over the past several years are as follows:
- Machinery used in agriculture, forestry and construction.
- Equipment used in a business enterprise, such as display shelves, computer equipment, games, freezers, etc.
- If the equipment is owned by a leasing company they need their contact information which should include name, address, phone, fax number and email. All the equipment whether owned or leased should be identified and listed in the following manner.
1. Type of machine
2. Brand name
4. Serial number
5. Year of manufacture
6. Present value
All equipment that can be excised, such as farm tractors, should be identified and please indicate if they are excised.
This information is very timely and critical. We appreciate your immediate attention. Their goal is to have this compiled by July 30. This information can be mailed to the Town Office, 71 Pleasant Street, Freedom, Maine 04941 or given to Cindy Abbott during regular office hours.
All personal property newer than 1995 may be eligible for a state refund through two state programs. There are applications forms available and our assessor Jackie Robbins can assist anyone who wishes to apply. This can be done over the telephone. Jackie’s telephone number is 852-1840 (telephone number corrected)
The next scheduled Selectmen’s Meeting will be held on Monday, July 28 at the Town Office starting at 6:00 P.M. It is open to the public as usual
“Remember to put out your recyclables the last Friday of the month which is July 25. The managers at the Unity Area Regional Recycling Center, Jeff and Stan, gave Freedom a “Gold Star” for their recycling efforts last month. They said that Justin, the driver for Sullivan’s who does our curbside picks up, reported that he picked up at 10 to 15 new residences and had a full load upon arrival at the recycling center! This is a wonderful trend! Jeff and Stan were impressed and felt we need to be complimented. This increase likely was due to Freedom responding to the flyer asking townspeople to find ways to begin or increase recycling. We targeted three items: cardboard, plastics and mixed paper. The recycling center takes many more items. Give Jeff or Stan a call at 568-3117. Hilary at 382-6467 or Meredith at 382-6123 will try and help answer questions as well. Good Job Freedom! Let’s get another Gold Star!”
On Saturday, August 2, there will be a public supper at the Freedom Congregational Church Hall located on Pleasant Street in Freedom.
The Menu will consist of:
Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Peas, Tossed Salad, Baked Beans, Gravy, Dinner rolls, Punch, Coffee and Assorted Pies.
The cost is $7.00 per adult, $3.00 for children 12 and under, and children 3 and under eat free!
The hall is handicap accessible via the back door.
All proceeds benefit church projects.
Voice of Freedom:
I am happy to report that the Lobster Bowl Football game was won by the East and the Spaulding twins had the privilege of playing in the game and spent a week at the football camp. Chris and Clint are the sons of Christine and Clint Spaulding, two of eight children. Congratulations boys, the memory of this event will be remembered by you both forever! How proud of you your parents, family and friends are. Nice work boys and Congratulations! By the way, their daughter Samantha is a cheerleader and supports her brothers and team all the way!
I’m somewhat behind here but I do want to send my Congratulations to Bonnie and Steve Shaw who became grandparents for the second time 8 months ago to a beautiful baby boy named Maddox! I wished for their sake that they lived closer to their family so they could see almost every day the boys growing up. I am a very fortunate Grandmother that I have been with my grandsons since the day they were born and never missed anything they were involved in. It’s such a wonderful feeling. Bonnie and Steve, enjoy every moment you can with them for they grow up too quickly.
Also speaking of growing up, I would like to announce that their son Jon, is now a police officer here in Waldo County! What a fantastic feeling to know that we have a law enforcement officer in our town. Makes me feel a lot safer.
Get Well and a Speedy Recovery:
As I sit here and write, my grandson Kyle is at the Bangor Hospital getting ready to undergo surgery on his broken collar bone. He was riding his bicycle to work up at Orono and the next thing he knew he was on the ground. He has no clue as to what had happened. They called the ambulance and took him to the hospital and he was diagnosed with a concussion and broken collar bone. He has no recollection of what happened. He woke up on the ground badly bruised and can't remember.. He is now scheduled for surgery at 12:30. Unfortunately, he will not be able to return back to work and will be home for the rest of the summer. He will be able to do some work from home since it is all about writing, (He is journalism major) but the hours will be a lot less. Heal quickly Kyle and rest and follow the doctor’s orders!
Until next week, everyone have a great week and call or e mail me with something you would like to share with my readers.