Some early founders
In 2009, two of the founding members of the Society, Ruth Reed and Robert Hunnewell, passed away. And in 2011 we learned of the deaths of Dr. Alaric Faulkner and Bingham's Glenn Wing. Geraldine Hunnewell died in 2013. Their love of the Upper Kennebec and dedication to its history continues to inspire us.
The Old Canada Road Historical Society was founded when a group of regional historians came together around the work of archaeologists Barry Rodrigue and Alaric Faulkner, who together began a survey of the Canada Road in 1993.
There was great excitement as this project rekindled local interest in area history and brought together some of our most knowledgeable citizens. Bob Hunnewell authored two books with his daughter Bea—one on Pleasant Ridge and the other on the town of Bingham. Irene Foster compiled much of the genealogical and historical information in Makers of Moscow, the town history committee's sequi-centennial publication. George Pratt has for many years studied and marked the trail that was the Old Canada Road on the west side of the Kennebec. Ruth Reed inherited deep knowledge of local history from her mother, Grace Pearl Newton Sterling, whose text and notes form the History of the Moose River Valley. Glenn Wing, who was instrumental in raising awareness of the Old Road and knew it well, has written up many stories of his life. Barry Rodrigue, now a professor at the University of Southern Maine, is finishing up a comprehensive book about the history of the Old Canada Road.
The historical society took shape in 1999 with these early participants. In 2001, the Society sought and received designation as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Soon, an event series called "Community History Nights" was launched, featuring various speakers and topics. All have been well attended by local history buffs. The collections have expanded to include much of Harold M. Sterling's pictorial and genealogical archive; old ledgers, letters, and photographs donated by people from the region and far beyond; and several private collections that are on loan.
Without a physical location to display its collections, the goup decided in December of 2001 to develop a Web site to share genealogical and historical information about the Upper Kennebec region. The Web site has since been visited by people around the world who have ties to the villages along the Old Canada Road.
In late November of 2009, the Society acquired a house in Bingham to use as its headquarters and began a series of renovation projects. The doors opened in a limited way during the summer of 2010, though there was still much work to do. We have maintained regular open hours on Fridays and Saturdays as we work on the huge job of organizing and cataloguing our holdings.
The Society is in the midst of a busy decade of research and publication. The town of Bingham celebrated its bicentennial in 2012 and Moscow will have its 200th birthday in 2016. A new book on the early history of The Forks was published in August 2017.
We couldn't function without our volunteers, who do everything from watering the ferns to transcribing documents for our searchable databases. If you're interested in helping us out - send us an email.
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