GARDINER — Nine-year-old Maize Hagerman was devastated when she heard two middle school students had vandalized the city’s Fairy Village at Steamboat Lane Nature Trail.

In May, two juveniles ages 14 and 15 destroyed all the fairy houses, gnome homes and toad abodes in the village, located at the south end of Waterfront Park.

Police Chief James Toman said the boys were charged with criminal mischief. One boy was sentenced to community service for the city of Gardiner. The other case is pending, he said.

“I was really upset when they destroyed the houses,” Maize said. “I love fairies.”

Her mother, Harmonie Hagerman, of Gardiner, said the whole family was upset to find out someone had ruined something so beautiful.

“My girls were crushed,” Hagerman said.

On Thursday, Maize and a group of children replaced the tiny dwellings with ones they had built in a summer craft program held Tuesday mornings at Gardiner Public Library.

The children, their parents and city officials, including Mayor Andy MacLean, were escorted Thursday morning by a police cruiser to a dedication ceremony in front of the archway leading into this itsy-bitsy community.

MacLean thanked everyone involved in rebuilding the village, which is modeled after fairy houses on Maine islands and the botanical gardens in Boothbay.

They included Dorothy Washburne, chairman of Gardiner’s Conservation Committee, who came up with the idea of a fairy village; and Anne Davis, the city’s director of library and information services.

He said the public library is a historical and cultural gem in the community that offers many opportunities for children at no cost.

“It’s really important to give the kids an outlet like this fairy project, which is really wonderful,” MacLean said before the ribbon cutting.

The 20 new houses were brought from the library in a pickup truck driven by a public works employee.

Davis told the children after the ribbon-cutting ceremony to find a place in the village for their tiny structures built out of tree bark, leaves, sticks, stones, pine cones, mulch and shells.

“I want to have my house sort of hidden,” Maize said as she tucked her creation high up on the embankment in a clump of white birch tree roots.

Mary Maschino, of Gardiner, came along to support the children’s effort. Maschino said she liked the idea of a fairy village and was disappointed when the village’s inhabitants were left homeless.

“I just think this is so cool,” Maschino said. “Fairy villages are kind of a Maine thing. I just hope the kids who destroyed it realize it was just a mean thing to do.”

Davis said the fairies and sprites will be pleased with their new homes.

“This is a Renaissance,” Davis said. “We’ll have better housing for our supernaturals now.”

Missy Abbott, of Gardiner, is the instructor for the library’s craft program.

She said it was enchanting to see what the children came up with in the way of dwellings. She hopes vandals stay away. Toman said police are monitoring the area.

“We’ll just keep building them, no matter what,” Abbott said.

Leftover supplies from the craft project will be scattered around the village so others can come in and build more homes, she said.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]


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