Historical society turns 70

BAR HARBOR —The Bar Harbor Historical Society will celebrate its 70th anniversary on Sunday, Aug. 14.

The historical society began in 1945 with a small exhibit in honor of one of the founders of Acadia National Park, George B. Dorr, who died in 1944. The historical society was founded by Mary Peltz on Aug. 19, 1946, after the George B. Dorr exhibit “was so well received,” according to Deborah Dyer, the current curator.

The first headquarters was located in the old children’s room at the Jesup Memorial Library in the basement.

The previous curator, Gladys O’Neil, worked with Peltz until her death in 1995. Dyer, who joined in 1989, knew that they could no longer be constrained to one room and “knew it was time to expand the history of Bar Harbor.” In November 1997, the group moved to its current building at 33 Ledgelawn Ave., a 1916 building that once housed St. Edwards Convent. The structure is now a National Historic Landmark.

Currently, the historical society is still growing. The “Bar Harbor Historical Society Newsletter” regularly lists the recent donations and new members. The walls of the society are filled with memorabilia from the town’s history, and the collection continues to grow. According to Dyer, that is due to a “great board” and generous gifts. “It all helps to keep the history of Bar Harbor alive,” she said.

The historical society’s mission is to preserve Bar Harbor’s artifacts and history for the public to enjoy.

On Sunday, Aug. 14, at 2 p.m., there will be a 70th anniversary cake and a book signing with Earl Brechlin, author of “Forever Yours, Postcards of Bar Harbor,” and authors Anne Kozak and Sue Leiter, with their book “Wild Gardens of Acadia.” As always, admission is free.


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