We need your support!

In 2020, the Old Bristol Historical Society took a giant leap of faith in the pursuit of fulfilling our mission and became the new owners of the former Poole Brothers/Hammond Lumber property along the Pemaquid River, which includes the old Mill at Pemaquid Falls. We are asking for your support in our fundraising campaign to help us begin to address three areas of need: the Mill, the History Center, and the Grounds. You can read more about these threes areas below.

In order to begin these exciting projects, OBHS has set a fundraising goal of $250,000 for our 2020/21 fiscal year. Please help us take these next steps toward realizing the full potential of the Pemaquid Mill property!

You may donate online here using PayPal, credit, or debit cards: DONATE


You can download our Donation Form and mail to the Old Bristol Historical Society: OBHS, PO Box 87, Bristol ME 04539.

The OBHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible, within the limits of the law.


The Mill

The Old Bristol Historical Society (OBHS) is asking for your support and financial assistance to help us in our efforts to restore and preserve the Mill at Pemaquid Falls. Although the mill is in relatively good shape for an approximately 200-year-old building, work is still needed in order to stabilize the structure. In addition to structural work on the foundation, underpinnings, and sills, there are deferred maintenance issues that need to be addressed including new windows, siding and roofing. All work will be guided by the structural analysis report that we received from Gartley & Dorsky Engineering.

            To date, many volunteers from the Bristol area with expertise as architects, historians, carpenters, public safety, and exhibit designers have come forward. However, we are now entering the heavy work phase that needs to be done by professionals.

            Once work on the exterior of the building is complete, plans are to create exhibit galleries within the large interior space, with exhibits focusing on the history of the mill and Bristol’s industries of the past and present. There will also be additional space for revolving seasonal exhibits. Please help us advance this work and preserve Pemaquid’s historic mill.


The Bristol History Center

            The Old Bristol Historical Society was organized in 2003 as an educational nonprofit organization with the mission “to collect, preserve and share the artifacts and the oral, documentary, personal and physical histories of the communities formerly comprising the old township of Bristol, Maine.” Since its founding, in addition to offering public programming and working with our school children, the OBHS has gathered a significant collection of archival materials and has come to serve as the primary local repository for historically valuable documents, images, and organization records relating to Bristol history.

            Unfortunately, much of our collection has been inaccessible to the public because of storage issues. Now, with the recent acquisition of the Pemaquid Mill property, the OBHS has the opportunity to develop the former retail building into a proper Bristol History Center, featuring a library, reading room, exhibit gallery, society offices, and most importantly, a climate-controlled archival vault, where our collections can be properly stored. We look forward to providing the public with greater access to our collections, working with interested researchers, and creating special exhibits focusing on Bristol’s unique history.


Heron fishing on the Pemaquid River

         Our First-Year Grounds Plan works to provide a safe, secure, and inviting learning experience on the site.  To that end, we have worked in close collaboration with Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust and have gathered information from relevant government agencies and national entities such as OSHA, ANSI, Red Cross, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon, and others. 

         Our First-Year Plan is comprised of two parts: The Site and Our Safety and Security.  Roughly two-thirds of the First-Year Plan’s budget is directed at The Site:  making the space inviting and complementing the learning that will take place in the Mill and History Center with native and historically accurate ground covers, educational signage next to observation areas, a rain garden to retain and cleanse runoff water, and more.  The other third of the budget is focused on the safety of visitors and volunteers with guiding signs, well-equipped first aid resources, structurally sound and properly bounded observation platforms, and day and night-time security devices to protect OBHS’ valuable collections.

         The Grounds Committee is proud to be a partner with members, friends and volunteers who are telling the story of the Pemaquid Mill and of Bristol while conserving the property.