Overview of the Society
The Biddeford Historical Society (BHS) is a window into Biddeford’s rich and vibrant history dating back to the early 1600s. Through concerts, lectures and reenactments, the Society shows the community the treasures that are still with us today from the oldest meetinghouse in Maine to early maps and Indian trading posts. The Society draws its wealth of information from thousands of sources such as early diaries, church records, maps, legal records, vital statistics and letters.
Located in the historic meetinghouse on Meetinghouse Road, the Biddeford Historical Society is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization devoted to educating and co-exploring the rich and diverse history of the town. Constructed in 1759, the Biddeford Meetinghouse contains original pews, seating and original ottomans. In July of 1776, the town congregated in the meetinghouse to read the Declaration of Independence and begin the course of America’s independence we enjoy to this day.
Governed by an active board of five members and guided by its 2017 strategic plan, the Society is dedicated to growing its organization and creating community partnerships to educate, explore and enjoy their 400-year history.
History roots us in time. It gives us a vast appreciation for the men and women before us – their ingenuity, their curiosity and their passion. We can look at streets and buildings and know the origins of the names and the architecture. We can imagine the fortitude it required to come to this wild and unchartered land in 1616. We can appreciate the waves of immigration (the French, Irish, Polish, Jewish, Iraqi and more) and know that each wave adds another dimension to our depth. Discovering Biddeford history is a way for us to breathe new life into the city.
Louise Merriman is a marketing professional who has worked in high tech and healthcare. She has an undergraduate degree in history from Bowdoin College and a graduate degree in public health from Boston University School of Public Health.
Paul McDonough is a professional educator who has taught school in the city of Biddeford for the past forty-one years. He has served in both the private and public schools at the junior high and high school levels. For the past seven years he has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of New England and York County Community College. He has also participated in seminars for the National Endowment of the Humanities.
Paul also is an artist which has allowed him to depict many local scenes in the watercolor and photographic mediums. Being an avid sailor and licensed fishing guide has also added to his vision of history and the cultural development of the city of Biddeford. The Biddeford Historical Society has enabled Paul to further his studies and create a number of visual and lecture presentations with their focus on our exciting and valuable historical background. He considers Biddeford to be a museum unto itself containing a treasure of artifacts and cultural attributes.
Paul and his wife Ann Marie have made Biddeford their home since 1975. As a graduate of St. Francis College in 1973 (now UNE) he planted his roots and continues to observe the changes in our community. Ultimately, Paul believes that by studying history we can discover what we will become in the future. The study of the past is lively, often comical, and always enticing.