Bethel Historical Society
Society’s Regional History Center
Four historians will
speak on the topic, “The Good Old Days: They Were Terrible” at a symposium, sponsored by the Bethel Historical Society, to be held on Saturday, April 24, in the Dr. Moses Mason House Exhibit Hall at 14 Broad Street from 2 to 4 p.m. Jean Hankins of the Otisfield Historical Society, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut, will address rural life especially the treatment of the poor and mentally ill among other topics. Marvin Ouwinga, retired Gould Academy faculty mem-ber, who holds a Ph.D. from Indiana University, will speak on educational issues. Brad Clarke, who teaches American history at Gould Academy and received his Ph.D from Brandeis University, will focus on urban and industrial conditions. Stan Howe, Bethel Historical Society Associate Director, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maine, will discuss medicine, doctors and hospitals. Soci-ety Executive Director Randall Bennett will serve as moderator.
It is a popular belief that the years between the end of Civil War and the early years of the 20th century were “the good old days.” They were good for only a privileged few. Farmers, laborers, and the ordinary breadwinner lived a life of unrelenting hardship. In addition, these were years of un-controlled air and water pollution, dangerous factories, unhealthy housing, grueling toil, extensive political corruption, unsafe food and drugs, frequent epidemics, inferior schools, and much more. This event is free (donations accepted) and open to anyone interested in learning more about this time in the American experience.
Founded in 1966, the Bethel Historical Society fosters a sense of place — centered in western Maine and the White Mountain region — by collecting, preserving, displaying and interpreting his-torically significant artifacts and documents for residents, visitors, students, and scholars. Through its exhibits, programs, events, and publications, the society makes the region’s history meaningful, accessible, and enjoyable. In 1974, the society acquired the former Broad Street resi-dence of Dr. Moses Mason, which now contains a period house museum, exhibit hall and research library. In 1999, the society opened the O’Neil Robinson House (next door at 10 Broad Street) to the public for an expanded exhibit program, museum shop space, and administrative offices.
To learn more about the society’s programs, exhibits, educational activities, and publications, please visit our website at www.bethelhistorical.org. Information also may be obtained by calling 824-2908 or (800) 824-2910, by sending an e-mail to email@example.com, or by mailing us at P.O. Box 12, Bethel, ME 04217.