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Historical Society hopes to establish Freeport Heritage Trail

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Historical Society hopes to establish Freeport Heritage Trail

FREEPORT — As a way to educate visitors and residents about Freeport's 300-year history, the Historical Society is working to establish a Heritage Trail.

Executive Director Christina White said when the idea arose nearly a year ago, there was a positive response and much encouragement from supporters.

"It's an exciting way to bring way history to the streets," White said. "By establishing interpretive signage, people will be able to engage with the area they visit, and will deepen their relationship with the town."

The Historical Society applied for a grant through the Maine Humanities Council to help pay for the signs. The grant will help cover 50 percent of the cost of establishing a sign program, and the Historical Society is looking to the community for help funding the other 50 percent.

White said the first phase of the "Signs On" campaign, would update historical trail markers in public places that would best represent the town's history. Memorial Park on Bow Street, Mast Landing, Flying Point and Mallett Enterprises on Depot Street are examples of public property where the signs would be placed, she said.

Eventually, the project could range from the downtown village area, Route 1, and the Harraseeket district to South Freeport and West Freeport.

Ideally, White said, people would travel from sign to sign, learning about the historical significance of the area. The markers would dovetail with guided walking tours offered by the Historical Society, she said. The tours begin May 22 at 10 a.m. at the Harrington House.

White said they will find out about the grant by late June or early July.

Freeport has been reinvented four times, she said. It has been an agricultural and maritime community, one that focused on shoemaking, and now retail.

"We've helped to preserve the town's heritage for the past 41 years  by preserving stories, clothing, books and photos," she said. "We are excited to continue sharing the past 300 years."

To contribute to the "Signs On" campaign, visit the Freeport Historical Society's website or call 865-3170.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net