SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The Southwest Harbor Historical Society will host a reception, tours of its new headquarters in the Manset Meetinghouse and a performance by Dennis Damon Sunday, July 14, beginning at 3 p.m.
The society has come a long way in the last year. Last summer, the group occupied a small section of the Chamber of Commerce Office in Harbor House.
When members learned the nearby Manset Meetinghouse was for sale, the Historical Society’s leaders didn’t want the oldest church on MDI to be sold to investors. They acted quickly and raised the money to purchase it.
The organization has launched a campaign to raise $300,000 to renovate the Meetinghouse, fix the leaning steeple, open a museum and build a larger membership base to support the organization.
As part of Flamingo Festival activities this weekend, the historical society will hold a campaign kick-off party Sunday at the Meetinghouse, on 192 Seawall Road.
“We are excited to open our new home to the public and share our plans for how this historical building will be used going forward,” said Aimee Williams, co-chair of the historical society’s campaign committee. “It will be a fun event for all ages and we hope to see a good turnout.”
The event is free and open to the public. It will begin at 3 p.m. with a story by former Hancock County state senator Dennis Damon and conclude with a reception, refreshments and tours of the Meetinghouse, which was built circa 1819.
Damon will regale the audience with “Cutting the Spar,” which is based on a tale first told by Jones Tracy. The setting is Mount Desert Island and the time is around the beginning of the 20th century.
“Eben knew there was a blow coming,” a portion of the story goes. “The glass had dropped like someone had cut her spring and the air was freshening. This situation warn’t particularly foreign to Eben. He’d been in blows before. So he did what any good captain would do. He took in some canvas. It was a constant balancing act, man and boat versus the sea. Luck and skill without tiny portions of either. This was Eben’s heritage, part of his gene pool. It was his life. He loved it and he respected it.”