The first Readfield History Walk of the fall, known as walk No. 36, will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 23, and three aspects of town history, near Readfield Corner, will be included.

Participants can learn about the history and visit the original water source for several older homes at Readfield Corner, the spring in John O. Craig’s pasture. Craig’s spring fed at least eight homes on the west side of Church Road and on Main Street in the town’s early history, according to a news release from the historical society. Remnants of the spring are still evident on private land.

From there, walkers will venture to the Readfield Corner Water Association on Bill Bourret Drive to hear from Ed Dodge, current president of the association, and Bill Bourret, of Augusta, one of the founders and the association’s first president. The seed for the association was a 1986 petition to the state by several Readfield Corner residents after their wells were rendered unusable by gasoline contamination, according to the release.

Networking with neighbors had led the group to knowing the source, an old underground fuel tank in the center of town that was seeping gasoline. Through research, the petitioners learned they could draw upon legislation designed to combat ocean spills as a vehicle to present their case, which they did to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Bourret, who was the first one living at Readfield Corner to discover the problem in his own home, and a neighbor, Marie Brown, testified before the Maine State Legislature Finance Committee and also encouraged members of the committee to visit the site and see the damage first hand. The end result was funding for the acquisition of land for a town well, site preparation, well drilling and casing, pressurized holding tanks and pumps, water lines, meters and the building to house the equipment. It was all paid for by the state of Maine from the Coastal Oil Surveyance Super Fund, according to the release. Dodge and Bourret will be on hand to share more about when damage from the gas leak was first discovered and the process that ensued to correct the problem.

From the water association, walkers will cross Church Road onto the site of the old Kennebec County Agricultural Fair to see recent improvements and additions made there by the Readfield Trails and Conservation committees, and to hear about the days when the largest fair in Maine was held right here in Readfield. Participants should park by 10 a.m. in the parking lot at the Readfield Fairgrounds on Church Road. Those who wish can bring a sandwich and share lunch at the home of Bill and Flo Drake after the walk.

According to the release, Readfield History Walks were started in October 2012 as a cooperative effort by members of the Readfield Historical Society and the Readfield Trails Committee. The objectives of the walks are for participants to learn more about the surrounding area, both current and historical. According to where they are held, various organizations, town committees, schools, churches, businesses and homeowners are included in the planning and in leading the tours. In most cases, background information and research is provided through written material. For more information, visit http://readfieldhistorywalks.com or email [email protected].


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