Boothbay celebrates 250th birthday

BOOTHBAY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- If you want to join a big party, head to Boothbay this weekend. The town is celebrating its 250th birthday.

The town green on Route 27 will be the center of activities, and people were busy on Friday setting up tents and making final preparations for the weekend. The events include a big parade on Saturday, which will close Route 27 late in the morning. There will be music from several bands, along with activities on the green. There will be a fireworks show Sunday night in East Boothbay, on the river, with music from the Navy Band.

Dawn Gilbert, who says her family has Boothbay roots going back before the Revolutionary War, is the chair of the whole event. Gilbert says the entire peninsula used to be the town of Boothbay, until Boothbay Harbor split off in 1889. Gilbert says that split was the result of some sort of disagreement over the town water supply.

Boothbay Harbor grew into a busy tourist town, while Boothbay developed as a more rural community, with a small harbor and shipyard area in East Boothbay and farm and open land in other places.

Today, Boothbay does have a busy commercial strip along Route 27, which includes the Boothbay Railway Village. And that museum holds some of the most important pieces of the town's history. The 1847 Boothbay Town Hall is now "the centerpiece of the village", according to Assistant Director Margaret Hoffman. She says the Hall is still used by the town for annual town meetings, just as it was all those years ago when the vote was cast for Boothbay Harbor to split away.

The Village also is now home to the old Tompkins Garage, a small gas station that stood for decades in East Boothbay.

And there may be another building headed for village. The Kenniston Hill Inn, which we're told dates to 1797, is scheduled to be torn down this fall, to make room for a new access road to the local golf course.

Susan Brackett is now leading the effort to raise money to move the oldest section of that building to the museum, where it could become another display of old Boothbay. Brackett says they need to raise "a bunch of money" to accomplish the goal, and only have until October to get it done. Brackett says "It's a really important historic landmark. It just represents this town."


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