Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 3, 2017
Holt House honors collector-benefactor in exhibit
Touring Through Time
by Anne Berleant
A Blue Hill resident born as the 19th century turned into the 20th, Roland M. Howard is being recognized by the Blue Hill Historical Society for his work in preserving local artifacts of historical significance.
“He made it his life’s work to collect Blue Hill stuff,” Society board member Leslie Smallidge said on Saturday, July 29, when the Holt House opened its door to visitors “touring through time.”
Statewide, historical societies opened for the public to wander in and learn a little local history during the annual Touring Through Time weekend event.
Howard left his Blue Hill collections to the Holt House and Blue Hill Historical Society when he died, Smallidge said, and he is also credited with saving the Jonathan Fisher House, run by its own nonprofit association.
Jeremiah Holt built what is now known as the Holt House in 1815. His son, John, built the Pendleton House next door 15 years later. The Society bought the Holt House from Piper Horton in 1970, turning it into a mirror into the 19th and 20th centuries.
Inhabited by two different families, each for three generations, the house is “pretty well preserved,” Smallidge noted as she guided visitors up and down stairs.
“It’s a classic Federal-style house, very symmetrical, with four rooms upstairs and four downstairs,” she noted.
In the downstairs kitchen, the Society’s traditional “tasting through time” offered old-fashioned baked goods, with the recipes and history behind them—even the Osgood Pie, which bears no relation to the Blue Hill founding family, the Osgoods, but was sent by a visitor from Texas who saw Theodore Stevens and Dorcas Osgood’s portraits in the front hall.