BHS Fundraising Efforts

The Beals Historical Society's Executive Board is both excited and proud to present its newly erected Heritage Center building. Although it appears to be small, the interior has an amazing amount of room and will be excellent for exhibit areas. The Board is entertaining the idea of having individual collectors create their own exhibit areas. Local history as well as genealogy would be included in these exhibits.

A native style of structure to Beals Island, the building is a 28 x 32 cape style design. Thus far contributions have been sufficient to meet the needs of construction. The exterior is nearly completed with only the ends to be shingled. This process will cost $2500. A sum which BHS is hoping to raise by Spring. The interior is unfinished. The walls for the Archival room, mechanical room and bathroom are in place with completion date depending on fundraising and contributions.

A brick patio will be installed running along the length of the front side of the building .The bricks will be part of a memorial fundraiser whereby people can purchase one or more bricks with memorial inscriptions.

For additional details, please visit our personalized bricks page.

The Building Fund

In an effort to fulfill its mission, the executive board met and established a plan to begin work on raising funds for two buildings

The building project has begun with an unfinished 28x32 native cape style building. Once completed this structure will house the Tall Barney Beal exhibit in which we hope to depict the lifestyle of Barney and his era. Barnabus Coffin Beal lived on Beals Island from his birth in 1835 to his death in 1899. This Downeast fisherman, according to legend, stood approximately seven feet tall and possessed enormous strength. The tales of Tall Barney's exploits are celebrated in innumerable books and magazine and newspaper articles. Richard Dorson of Indiana University, in his book Buying the Wind: Regional Folklore in the United States, likens Tall Barney to Beowulf, Hercules and Samson. These folktales from Downeast are a part of the folklore curriculum in colleges and universities across the country. Also displayed will be the basketball, fisheries, boat-building and individual collection exhibits. Basketball has always played an important role in our small community. In the 1950s, Beals High School, with a total enrollment averaging 30 students, won three state small school basketball championships. It has been the social highlight during the long, cold winters and has created a sense of pride, in our schools. Because of this students have been inspired to succeed and to do well academically. Also included will be BHS photo collection, library, genealogy and a small gift shop to exhibit and sell local handcrafted model boats, books about local history and genealogy and locally homemade preserves and delicacies.

The second phase of the building project will be to erect a building that will house our two boats and any fishing gear that can be stored safely without heat. Boat building has a long tradition in the Moosabec area, dating from the earliest settlement in the late 1700s. The design of the Beals Island-model lobster boat originated here and its impact on today's Maine lobster fleet is recognized the length of the coast. Currently, the Society has in its archives a 1902 Maurice Dow boat and a 1939 Harold Gower boat. Both were Beals Island boat builders.

Moosabec Reach was a busy seaport where men and women worked hard to survive by creating a self-sustaining life for themselves and their families. With the new exhibit building and the lobster boat exhibit it is the vision of the Society to create an environment in which this generation and future generations can step into the past and catch a glimpse of the way life used to be when Beals Island was an industrious fishing village.

Residents recognize the value of their history, culture, folklore, archives and books, but public access to these resources is limited. The Heritage Center will provide access to historical preservation, for the residents of Beals, as well as, neighboring communities and the hundreds of visitors, to the area, who are passing through or visiting Great Wass Island, which is attached to Beals by a small causeway. The Nature Conservancy, on Great Wass, owns 1,524 acres and attracts hundreds of visitors each year. Besides enjoying the scenic views and natural beauty of the area, the Heritage Center will allow visitors an opportunity to learn about its culture and history. It is imperative for communities to collect, preserve, educate and prepare for residents and visitors who want to learn and experience the heritage of our coastal communities. Beals Island represents the quintessential coastal Maine experience. The Center will provide open access to a dedicated archive of books, pictures, records, videos and oral history projects that catalogue this heritage.

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Beals Historical Society, PO Box 280, Beals ME 04611,