MACHIAS – History reenactors take to the Machias area for Margaretta Days, but some want a more permanent way to look into Washington County’s past.
“People will be able to appreciate the role that little Washington County, Maine played in the American Revolution,” said Betsy Fitzgerald, the president of the Machias Historical Society.
History lovers around Machias are looking to keep the area’s past alive by planning a historic village. Members of the Machias Historical Society and reenactors are envisioning a museum and youth educational center, and replicas of colonial homes, a blacksmith shop, and a wood shop.
“I think it’s going to bring a sense of pride to people that live here…but it’s also going to attract visitors,” said Joe McBrine, a reenactor. “Maybe those that are already coming might spend an extra day or two.”
Local history lovers said the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War took place in Machias, and the area around the Fort O’Brien State Historic Site is heralded as the birthplace of the U.S. Navy.
Now locals hope a colonial village can tell the story of the HMS Margaretta and the role Machias Bay played in shaping the early days of the country.
“Where the battles here in Machias occurred on the water, there really aren’t any Revolutionary War properties that were set aside to memorialize those battles, so we’re going to have to find a piece of property,” said McBrine.
Those behind the project said they’ll start a capital campaign after they finalize a spot to build such a village, and hope they can show people an area they said doesn’t appear in history books.
“I mean it’s kind of cool when you look out there and it looks so nice and benign, and you realize that there was this battle that happened,” said Fitzgerald.