September 23, 2022

Windham Historical Society to provide first Village Green concert

By Lorraine Glowczak

When Europeans immigrated and settled in North America, the nation formed into pockets of rural communities. Most people lived on farms or in small towns and villages. Windham was no exception. So, how did the Windham residents spend their time at the turn of the 20th century when they were not working at their jobs or in the fields?

The public can tour a completely restored Old Grocery Store
during a free open house and concert on the grounds of the 
Windham Historical Society's Village Green off Windham
Center Road from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. 
The Windham Historical Society will give a glimpse into those years gone by, by hosting an open house and concert on their Village Green from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24. 

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the recently renovated Village Green, 234 Windham Center Road. Attendees will enjoy music provided by the Generations Barbershop Quartet as they perform old-fashion harmonies on the gazebo in the ‘town center.’

“We invite everyone to bring their lawn chairs, relax and enjoy the musical entertainment as well as the baked goods that will be available in the Old Grocery Store,” Haley Pal, a local historian and volunteer member of the historical society, said.

Pal said that this will be the first concert on the green, giving people the experience of Windham’s early years.

“Attendees can explore what life was like years ago while being introduced to the historical society’s newest buildings; the gazebo, the grocery store and the blacksmith shop,” Pal said. “We’re hoping to give people a feel of what life was like back when gazebos were used for a variety of reasons that included being a gathering and entertainment spot for the community."

Pal said the historical society is looking forward to introducing a refurbished Windham grocery store to the public.

“People can experience the Old Grocery Store as it would have looked when it served as the town’s mercantile and learn a bit about the trade of blacksmithing from the Society’s resident blacksmith, Sam Simonson. The store now reflects the way it looked at the turn of the 20th century. Every nook and cranny is utilized. Items sold would have included toys, vegetables, fruits, and candies. They also sold jewelry, china, sewing notions, school supplies and personal products. There were bags of flour, crocks of pickles, canning supplies, tools, you name it, it was sold in the store. It was sort of like the Walmart of its day.”

To celebrate the building’s even earlier times, there is a cobbler and a tailor shop display. There is also a telephone exhibit complete with a switchboard that is exactly like the one that served Windham at one time.

According to the Windham Historical Society website, Windham was originally settled primarily by farmers who came here in the middle of the 1700s.

“The agricultural lifestyle continued through most of the town’s history until the industrial age,” the website continues. “Several wars and many societal changes have created the town we know today, which is primarily residential and includes a large commercial center.”

Windham Historical Society was organized in 1967 for the purpose of preserving the town’s rich historical past and providing opportunities for members of the public to learn about their heritage.

Besides the grocery store, the blacksmith shop and gazebo, the Windham Historical Society’s Village Green includes a one-room schoolhouse, the former Windham Circulating Library, and the Old Town House Museum, which was not only the original Town Hall but also served as one of the many schoolhouses in Windham.

Additionally, the South Windham Library, which was moved from the Little Falls section of Gorham will soon become a museum featuring information about South Windham and the railroad that was an essential part of public transportation during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Lastly, the historical society also owns a house that they currently rent.

“The Village Green will take you to the past, providing both entertainment and a lesson in American small-town life from long ago,” Pal said. "We hope the community will join us this Saturday. If not, please visit us soon. We’re open on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon or by appointment.”

For more information, peruse the historical society’s website at or call 207-892-1433. <

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