WHRL’s new home at 87 Main Street

I want to tell you a story about 87 Main Street. For all the headaches, I have grown to love WHRL’s new house. It is a piece of Milbridge history.  And I feel good that we have been given the opportunity to restore this home and give it new life and purpose.  Won’t it be wonderful to one day throw open the doors and welcome folks back in for yoga class, to start Bone Builders again and Tai Chi?  And actually host an in-person Weight Watchers meeting? How about some paint-and-sip art classes again? Someday!

When we bought this old house, it came with a historic home plaque near the front door. It revealed the origins of the structure, which was built in 1850.  The house was built by Captain Thomas Smith for his wife. Captain Smith was lured out west by the gold rush, but his wife insisted that her house go with them.  So the home was dismantled and sent to California.  But once they arrived on the west coast, the Smiths discovered the gold rush was over.  They returned to Milbridge.  With the house.  The house was rebuilt at its original site, where it sits today.

I did some digging.  Who was this woman who not only refused to leave her home but inspired (or perhaps coerced) her husband to go to such extraordinary lengths to keep the home she loved?  Why wasn’t her name on that historic home plaque?  Wasn’t she the real hero of the story? I didn’t want this to be the Captain Thomas Smith House. It seemed to me the house should bear her name. I found old records, birth notices, marriage certificates, obituaries.  I found the name of the lady of the house, the matriarch of the family, the first woman to bring life to this home.  Wouldn’t she be proud to see what has become of her beloved home, to see it serving the women and families of her community?  She might even be thankful.  Actually, she was Thankful.  That was her name. Her name was Thankful Smith.

And now, I too am thankful. You may have heard—a kind donor has offered a $25,000 matching challenge grant to help WHRL with the costs of repairing our leaky roof and sealing our leaky basement.  I am thankful that there are good people in the world.  And today I am asking you to join them.  You too can be part of the history of this beautiful home. Please donate to Thankful’s house.

To donate visit https://whrl.org/giving/donate/

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