THE STORY SO FAR: A little bit of it, anyway. OJ Farwell & Sons store and mill was built in 1873, a feed and grain mill and hardware store to accommodate the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad, providing access to northern agricultural products for the mid-coast region. Thorndike was a railroad hub, and the activity supported several other businesses; lumber and grain mills, a department store, an automobile dealership and an inn. Farwell’s closed in 1961 when the last of the sons retired. The train then ceased to run, and the streets became quiet in the village.
IN THE SUMMER OF 2015, a group of local artisans, writers, builders and historians decided to purchase the remarkably intact buildings to preserve them for future generations to enjoy. We adopted Timelines Community, Inc., the not-for-profit organization founded by poet Rhoda Nashema Waller of Freedom, and we are proceeding with repairs and cleaning. The front (Store) building is in need of a complete foundation, and this will require intensive fund-raising and sleeve-rolling over the next year. We are all pitching in what we can, and we ask our community to help.
OUR PLAN is to create a Storytelling Museum and Store that encompasses the general store, mill, apothecary, and the collections of artifacts we unearth in our work. We are documenting our work as we go, to create films and stories about the process. We are attempting to learn as much as possible about the history of the buildings, former businesses and Farwell family to integrate into our work. We will also create workshops to teach native and European hand skills that are basic to our region and communities. These skills will include woodworking, paper making, letterpress printing, leather work, canoe building, metal smithing, fiber arts, instrument building, music making and pottery. A primary goal is to include local communities in our work as much as possible, to impart the skills and produce items to be sold in our Museum Store.