DCNA Wins Maine Humanities Grant

MHC_logoNEG_RGB_pdf_300The DCNA would like to express its gratitude to the Maine Humanities Council for its award of a Major Grant for an Educational Archeological Survey of the Francis O.J. Smith residence in Baxter Woods.

In a partnership with the City of Portland, and McAuley High School, the DCNA will work with local field archeologist Norm Buttrick to unearth any physical remains of the elaborate Greek Revival residence of one of Maine’s most colorful political and business leaders, Francis Ormond Jonathan “FOG” Smith (1806-1876).

Francis O. J. Smith. (1806-1876)

Francis O. J. Smith. (1806-1876)

We all know and love Baxter Woods as the bucolic woodsy retreat from city life, but did you know that in the mid 1800’s this was the site of an elaborate Greek Rival mansion and library that belonged to one of Maine’s most prominent (if cantankerous) political and business leaders?  Francis Ormand Jonathan “FOG” Smith served in Congress, supported Andrew Jackson for President, and was a business partner of Samuel F.B.  Morse.  In 1835 he purchased this tract of land and hired preeminent architect Asher Benjamin to construct Smith’s beloved “Forest Home”.

Follow us as we learn more about this slice of Deering Center History with the McAuley Students. The dig will take place throughout the fall of 2014, and Norm will present his findings at a public lecture at the Annual Meeting of the DCNA in November.

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