For Immediate Release
August 1, 2017
OTIS Federal Credit Union Donates $5,000 to Canton Historical Society
JAY, MAINE – OTIS Federal Credit Union is pleased to announce a donation of $5,000 to the Canton Historical Society. These funds will be used for the Historical Society’s relocation to the former Canton Grange/Masonic building, a process which will involve the demolition of the current Canton Historical Society building, the excavation of the current Historical Society site, the laying of a new foundation, and the relocation of the Grange/Masonic building onto the existing Historical Society lot.
Due to the passing of time, the building in which the Canton Historical Society has been housed to date has become structurally unsound, having deteriorated past the point of repair. Despite the Society’s best efforts to restore the structure, the damage remains largely irreversible. Subsequent exposure to the elements has left Canton’s collections of historical documents and objects at risk for damage or destruction, and the building lacks electricity, water, and heat.
Initially, it appeared that Canton might lose not one, but two of its very few historical buildings still left standing. The neighboring Canton Grange/Masonic building, though well-maintained, had been slated for demolition due to the CN Brown Company having purchased the land to expand the Big Apple Food Store and parking area. The CN Brown Company has since offered to gift the Grange/Masonic building to the Canton Historical Society, along with a cash donation of $5,000, if the building can be moved off-site by the end of September.
The Canton Historical Society’s acquisition of the Grange/Masonic building will address a multitude of needs for the town of Canton. The building will provide a dedicated, safe storage and exhibit space for the Canton Historical Society’s collections of documents and photographs, and will provide its research library with proper shelving. The Society’s relocation will ensure that current and future generations of residents, students, researchers, and genealogists can continue to access the town’s endangered historical collections.
Beyond housing Canton’s historical collections, the new site, with its expansive 2,240 sq. foot second-floor hall, will offer ample public space for community events, activities, and gatherings of all kinds, including 4-H Club meetings, Scout meetings, book clubs, senior citizen functions, and adult education programs. Members of the Historical Society hope that the availability of the space might foster the establishment of new arts and culture festivals, theatre productions, craft classes, and dances within the town. The hall will also be available for rent for private parties, meetings, and weddings, further establishing it as a community hub and creating a revenue stream which will help to maintain the building in the future.
With Canton’s 2021 bicentennial anniversary approaching, the Historical Society has experienced a recent uptick in membership demonstrating a renewed interest in and enthusiasm for preserving the town’s history and tight-knit sense of community. The hall of the new Historical Society building will serve as an ideal venue for the Bicentennial Celebration’s Inaugural Gala Dance, historical displays and demonstrations, the old-time fiddle concert, and various other musical performances to be held during the celebration weekend.
In addition, the Historical Society has plans to open a gift shop within the new building offering Canton- and Maine-related gifts, books, items, and artwork by local artists and artisans.
If you would like to contribute to the Canton Historical Society, you may send donations to:
Canton Historical Society
PO Box 605
Canton, ME 04221
Please direct all media inquiries to Sarah Hayes at (207) 320-4985 or email SarahH@otisfcu.coop
About the Canton Historical Society
The Canton Historical Society, established in 1952, is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization devoted to the preservation and celebration of Canton’s heritage and history. The Society pursues this goal through the collection, maintenance, and exhibition of historical records and objects related to Canton history, and by making this material available and accessible to genealogists and other researchers interested in the history of the area. The Society also seeks to establish an active community meeting place within its walls, increasing interest in the history of the town and revitalizing the town’s civic life.
Current officers are as follows: Gary Dougherty, President; Betty York, Vice President; Kathy Walker, Secretary; and Elise Despres, Treasurer. The 2017 Directors are Paul Despres, Sam Howes, Liz Rothrock, Gerry Rothrock, and Robert Stevens. The Project Manager is Phyllis Ouellette.
About OTIS Federal Credit Union
OTIS Federal Credit Union was founded in April of 1954 by eleven local mill workers. Pooling their respective deposits of $5 each, they associated themselves as charter members of OTIS under the provision of the Federal Credit Union Act. At a time in America when obtaining a loan was difficult for the average family, the founders of OTIS sought to form a cooperative, independent financial institution operated and controlled solely by its local membership.
Since its inception, OTIS has been committed not only to providing quality financial products and services to its shareholders, but to giving back to the community. Today, OTIS serves more than 10,715 members and holds over $159 million in assets, employing 25 people from the local communities. The Credit Union is located at 170 Main Street in Jay, Maine. For more information, please visit www.otisfcu.coop or call (207) 897-0900.