After almost 15 years of planning and fundraising and many thousands of hours work, The Francestown Improvement and Historical Society (FIHS) finally has a permanent home. The Beehive, an 1846 building built as a dormitory for the Francestown Academy and purchased by FIHS in 2004, opened on Labor Day of 2017. It's a museum for our extensive collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs and as headquarters for the Society’s work. The FIHS Collection includes items from the Francestown Soapstone Quarry, famous in the late 1800’s, and from the important agricultural era – including Hob and Nob Farm on Crotched Mountain. The Beehive joins the Thulander Vehicular Museum as one of two Heritage Museums located on the historic Francestown Town Common – a National Register Site.
The Beehive will be open to the public on a regular schedule this summer. Items uncovered for the first time in many years are on display. “The Beehive is spectacular and FIHS is very enthused to finally have a permanent home for our members and our collection,” said FIHS President Charlie Pyle. “Sarah, the volunteers, workers, everyone has done a spectacular job in order to have the building open with our collection on display.”
The Beehive was a recipient of an LCHIP Grant in 2015, so is being rehabbed according to the Secretary’s Standards for Historic Rehabilitation. “We are really grateful to LCHIP” said Pyle, “for their part in our funding and for their guidance in this work.” Historical Architect Mike Petrovick advised FIHS on all parts of this project. “We see the Beehive as not just a home for the Historical Collection,” said Pyle, “but as an important part of the Collection – the building itself tells a story.” The Academy and its dormitory, “The Beehive,” are an important part of Francestown’s history. Visitors will be able to see examples of the old lathe and plaster as well as framing for floors and the roof.
“Our contractors Bub Rokes and Bill MacNeill, both from Francestown, have done an incredible job bringing this building back to life,” Pyle said, “they are artists – and we couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”
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