DEXTER - Work on the new Abbott Museum building is progressing well. The Dexter Historical Society is in the process of restoring the exterior to its appearance in 1898, which featured a double door on Church Street and several twelve over eight-paned windows. In 1955 the offices inside were modernized. The style of the windows and the placement of the door were also changed at that time.
On July 12, 2001 Guilford of Maine (Interface Fabrics) donated the former Abbott Mill Office building, valued at $52,000, to the Dexter Historical Society, culminating ten months of negotiations. The historic building was constructed in 1836 for use as the town hall as well as for grammar and high school classes. It was purchased in 1856 by the Abbott brothers and used as offices and warehouse for their woolen mill until it closed in 1975.
DHS is also reconstructing the interior to prepare the building for its new life as the Abbott Museum. The Church Street level will house the museum gift shop, a tourist information center, a conference room and handicap accessible bathroom. There will also be a research library, reading room and staff workspace. The lower Grove Street level will house several museum galleries dedicated to permanent exhibits featuring the woolen industry, town businesses, a sports hall of fame, a veterans of all wars memorial and works of photographer Bert Call.
Before restoration work began many hours of volunteer labor were necessary to remove unneeded items stored there as well as ceiling and floor tiles. A separate electrical service was begun and the sprinkler system was revamped. The slate roof was patched by T.C. Roofing of Levant.
Exterior work was begun by Robert Miller in the fall of 2002. The Tri-County Technical Center students, under the sponsorship of the Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis and supervision of John Guay, have worked all winter. They have created the new bathroom, with plumbing by Galen Chapman, and installed the new windows which were painted by society volunteers. New pre-stained clapboards are currently beginning to replace old ones. Quotations for the heating system and foundation work are being presented for consideration.
Fundraising for the project has been successful in achieving about half the projected cost to date. Nine rooms have been purchased by donors for $5,000 each. Individual donations at the $100, $250, $500 and $1,000 level are sought and will be honored on donor boards. Donations may be sent to; Dexter Historical Society, P.O. Box 481, Dexter, Me 04930. For further information call 294-5721 or email.
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