Biddeford History is Your History
Posted by Admin, June 3, 2017
History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time. It illuminates reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity.
As a historical society, we want to bring Biddeford history to life. We want it to illuminate the streets you walk on, the parks you visit and the buildings you see. When you travel down Bridge Street towards Biddeford Pool, we want you to see the house that once was a 1700s Indian trading post (it’s still standing) and know the spot where Richard Vines landed in 1616.
We want you to imagine the harsh winters and the compassion that the Native Americans extended to the European settlers.
We want you to feel the passion of Jeremiah Hill and his men who marched down Guinea Road to Boston to fight British rule and know that our community gathered at the Biddeford Meetinghouse in July of 1776 to be a part of the reading of the Declaration of Independence. When you visit our meetinghouse, we want you to envision the familial passion that roared between Jeremiah Hill and his uncle when his uncle tried him for heresy in 1793.
We want you to appreciate the engineering feat that the Laconia and Pepperell mills represent and honor the hundreds of thousands of people who spent 30, 40 and sometimes even 50 years of their lives working in these mills and producing textiles.
And we want you to know about how these mills galvanized people like Israel Shevenell to want for something better. Back in 1845, when he was just 19, he left Canada on foot to find work as a bricklayer here. Travelling hundreds of miles back and forth, he brought his family to our town and catalyzed a migration of French Canadians whose descendants are with us today.
We want you to appreciate the amazing architecture in Biddeford. We want you know the Haley house on Bridge St, a beautiful saltbox constructed in 1718-1719. According to folklore, it served as a garrison during Indian attack. Biddeford women threw pumpkins down the stairs and spoke in deep voices to appear as an army of men. Hearing the voices, the Indians ran away. We want you to know where Samuel Pierson’s house was on Pierson’s Lane and know that our Biddeford greats – Jeremiah Hill and Benjamin Hooper – lived here, in the very house that is now a razed plot of land. We want you to see these buildings juxtaposed against history and perceive their historic value so historic buildings like this are not destroyed before their time.
Biddeford history belongs to all of us. We invite each one of you to become a member and join us on this amazing journey of bringing Biddeford history back to life.