Local news and information from
Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Sedgwick, and Surry, Maine.
Visiting the area?
Find where to go and what to do in our Seasonal Guide Visitor's Portal.
Check out our newly rebuilt online store
House 1 on the tour was the Parker House on South Street, the oldest house on the tour, built in either 1812 or 1816.
House 8 on the tour was Blueberry Hill on the Morgan Bay Road in East Blue Hill, built in 1932 and 1938. The New England style house has expansive, grassy yards and a waterfront view to Mount Desert.
House 5 on the tour was Sculpin Point on Sculpin Point Road, built in 1948. A few modern amenities, such as the flat screen sitting under an encased model ship, reminded the touring public that time has passed since the house was built.
by Gigi DeJoy
Hill Historical Society was one of nine historical societies on the East Penobscot Bay and Blue Hill Peninsula that took part in the annual Touring Through Time event this past Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29.
The Holt House, where the society is located, was open and offering tours all afternoon. The main attraction was a makeshift blacksmithing station set up behind the house, in front of the Carriage House. There, blacksmith and farrier John Gray gave demonstrations and showed antique horseshoes and blacksmithing tools. All of the participating societies had some special feature such as that, and some people spent the day “touring” through all of them.
The Holt House was built in 1815 by Jeremiah Thorndike Holt, whose grandfather had been one of Blue Hill’s original settlers. The Federal style house was passed down in the family for over a century, and was purchased by BHHS in 1970. Some rooms have been restored to be accurate representations of an early-19th century home, while others contain a mish-mash of historic documents and memorabilia that have been donated by local families. The house still contains several paintings done by an artist of the family, Frederick Holt.
One room has been dubbed “the costume room” by historical society members. It is full of period garb, mainly dresses that range in origin from the late 1800s until the 1940s. The room also has a large antique “rebus rug.” According to Holt House curator Lynne Clark, the daintily embroidered images and symbols in the middle of the braided circles that fill the rug are actually pictographs that tell a story. The mysterious rug has been studied and analyzed on many occasions but has yet to be fully decoded.
The blacksmithing demonstrations drew avid crowds throughout the day. “We thought that would be something that would be fitting for the time; there were a lot of blacksmiths back then,” said Clark. The BHHS had a display of dozens of antique horseshoes beside Gray’s workstation, and as he forged, he used tools that used to belong to the Wescott Forge, currently the 66 Restaurant.
“The business of making real horseshoes was primarily invented by the Romans,” Gray said, adding that the tools and techniques used today have remained almost exactly the same. “I’m going to guess conservatively for the last 500 years.” Farriers at the time the Holt House was built were going through exactly the same motions as Gray was last week.