2016-04-29 / Community

A Window on the Past

Museum opens Saturday with Ferry Village focus
By Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society


Captain Benjamin Woodbury’s home in Ferry Village, circa 1870. Woodbury and other sea captains will be featured in this year’s Ferry Village exhibit at the museum in Bug Light Park, which opens Saturday at 10 a.m. (Courtesy photo) Captain Benjamin Woodbury’s home in Ferry Village, circa 1870. Woodbury and other sea captains will be featured in this year’s Ferry Village exhibit at the museum in Bug Light Park, which opens Saturday at 10 a.m. (Courtesy photo) The South Portland Historical Society is opening its Cushing’s Point Museum at Bug Light Park on Saturday, April 30. New exhibits have been added and updated for the 2016 season and we encourage residents to come down for a visit. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ferry Village is one of South Portland’s oldest neighborhoods. Originally referred to as Purpooduck, the Ferry Village name came about due to the ferry service that existed there for centuries – connecting this area to the Portland peninsula. For the purposes of this exhibit, we are defining Ferry Village as the streets and land that lie east of Mill Creek and north of Broadway.

Historically, Ferry Village has been a neighborhood where businesses, industry and residents have resided in relative harmony. With shipyards, sardine factories, manufacturing plants and other commercial and industrial uses all woven into the fabric of the neighborhood, residents and business owners found a way to coexist and thrive through some amazing times in American history. To this day, we still have recreational uses of land traversing the neighborhood, across public and private lands.

Given the many shipyards and the waterfront location of the neighborhood, it was a natural that many sea captains and their families came to live in Ferry Village. Over the past year, I’ve been learning more about these sea captains – where they lived, what ships they sailed and any other details that can be learned from original materials. Some of this research will be on display this year, as well.

The society would like to thank Carol Campbell for her assistance with this year’s exhibit. Carol has long been known as the Ferry Village historian and her grandmother, Etta Gregory Watts, spent a lifetime collecting and preserving a great deal of the neighborhood’s history. We owe Carol and her grandmother a debt of gratitude for the existence of a lot of historic material. The society would also like to thank the following businesses for sponsoring this year’s Ferry Village exhibit: Marc Gup Real Estate Group, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance, O’Hare Associates CTRS and Town & Country Federal Credit Union.

In its main exhibit room, the museum features an exhibit covering 100 years of shipbuilding in South Portland. From the heyday of wooden ship building in the mid- 1800s to the hectic activity of the Liberty shipyards in the 1940s, South Portland has a long history of shipbuilding. The South Portland Shipyards exhibit is being sponsored again this year by Bath Savings Institution.

We extend our thanks to all of these businesses, as well as the many businesses that support the historical society with memberships and event sponsorships. The museum will again be open with free admission this year. Let us not take that for granted; free museum admission is one of the many benefits made possible by the support of businesses and individuals in the South Portland community who appreciate history and the need to preserve it. If you would like to help, please stop by the museum to pick up a membership brochure, visit us at www.sphistory.org where membership information is available, or give us a call at 767-7299 to become a member with a credit card. Thank you and we hope to see you at the museum this year.

Fundraiser

We hope you’ll join us for a fun-filled night

of delicious barbecue and support the South Portland Historical Society on Wednesday, May 4. Elsmere BBQ and Wood Grill at 448 Cottage Road in South Portland will donate 8 percent of all proceeds from sales between 4 and 9 p.m. on.

Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo is executive director of South Portland Historical Society.

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