FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Freedom — July 27, 2004 — Local history will be the focus when Ossipee Lake Alliance presents “Mysteries of Shawtown: Freedom’s Lost Neighborhood” at Calumet Conference Center on Saturday, August 7th at 8 PM as part of Freedom’s 106th annual Old Home Week celebration.
In the mid-1800s, Freedom’s Shawtown district was a vibrant and growing area of families and farms. By the turn of the century, however, it had vanished, its remaining homes, barns, and cemeteries abandoned to time and the elements. For years, the remains of the community were hidden by the encroaching forest and were known only to hikers.
The mystery of what happened to Shawtown and why it was abandoned when all of Freedom’s other neighborhood districts remained intact will be unraveled by local historian Carol Foord on August 7th. Foord, former president of the Freedom Historical Society and author of books on local history, is a popular speaker known for her entertaining walking tours of Freedom. She is currently working on a new book about Shawtown.
“Shawtown is a rare example of an entire school district that is still intact despite being abandoned more than a century ago,” she says. Evidence of the community that has been preserved by forest succession includes farmstead cellars, walls, wells, a schoolhouse foundation, a cemetery, and a granite bridge. “What’s left of Shawtown is a treasure trove of information about who we were in the 1800s, and it helps us solve the puzzle of what happened there.”
“Mysteries of Shawtown” is the latest in a series of presentations by the Alliance under the heading Tales of Ossipee Lake. Last year’s “Ghost of Ossipee Lake” event for Old Home Week attracted more than 300 people.
Signed copies of Ms. Foord’s books will be available to win and to purchase at the event. Admission is free. Directions to Calumet Conference Center in Freedom may be found at www.calumet.org. Information about the Alliance is at www.ossipeelake.org.