BRISTOL, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- One of Maine's best known historic sites is starting a whole new way to tell people about some of the state's earliest settlers.
The Colonial Pemaquid Historic Site in Bristol is finishing its first reproduction of an early home, similar to the ones they believe were built here in the early 1600's. This one even includes a real thatched roof. For decades there has been archaeological work on the site that revealed many old cellars of the village that once stood here. So the state, which owns the site, and the non-profit Friends of Colonial Pemaquid are now working together to build several more buildings, and create a real living history experience.
Site Manager Barry Masterson says it's the best way to increase the number of visitors and better tell the Pemaquid story. "and this is going to be the hands-on, let's go in the building and see," says Masterson. " People can look at foundations all day long but never really get a feel for what it might have been like."
The Friends of Colonial Pemaquid helped pay for the thatched roof, and has committed to help pay for additional buildings. The state will raise the rest of the money for the project. The Friends say they also plan to train more interns and other volunteers to portray colonial-era settlers, doing the work that went on here.
To that end, the second building will be a blacksmith shop. Don Loprieno of the Friends says having people actually doing blacksmith work there is crucial. "Everybody likes to watch someone do a little work, and an empty building is not very inspiring especially when it's a building in which work was actually performed in the 17th century here," said Loprenio.
So he says they will work with local blacksmiths and train volunteers to at least do basic tasks in the shop. They have similar plans for the third building, which is planned as a reproduction of the tavern that once was part of the settlement, and then another house.
The Friends group is working now to raise money. Meanwhile, the final work is being done on the first house, and site manager Barry Masterson says having the building with the completed thatch roof is already attracting more people. He says about 85,000 people visit Colonial Pemaquid each year.
FRIENDS OF COLONIAL PEMAQUID: http://www.friendsofcolonialpemaquid.org