January 2, 2024 - March 30, 2024
Starting in January and going through March, the Blue Hill Public Library will host an
exhibit in the Roland Howard Room exhibit cases, Child’s Play. Featuring antique toys
from the collection of the Blue Hill Historical Society, this exhibit is designed and
executed by Collections Manager Ann Durgin.
Toys allow children to imagine their future, prepare for their life as adults, and learn
about the world in which they live. Children’s toys of years gone by provide a window
through which we can view that world, too. Over time, and through their play, Blue Hill
Peninsula children have kept house, played school, fought wars, and enjoyed outdoor
The centerpiece of this exhibit is a fully functional, 40-inch pond boat, “Minnie May,”
made in the 1890s by Everett L. Grindle for his nephew, Charles Bacon. Charles was
born in 1886 and in later life was a building contractor in Blue Hill. Charles sailed his
boat in a pond made by a dam on a small brook near his house in East Blue Hill. Everett
spent many hours fashioning the hull of the “Minnie May” out of a single piece of wood,
carving the deck housing, a dingy, an anchor, and other wonderful details. The toy was
restored by Colby and Peggy Pert and donated to the historical society by Gerry Butler.
Other toys in this exhibit include a fully-articulated, wooden doll, made by artist and
master craftsman Elliot Sweet (1906-2000) of South Blue Hill, and clothed by his wife
Ethola. Still in its original box, a white china tea set was purchased at Partridge’s Drug
Store in 1895 for 25 cents. Home-made ice skates, which use a worn-out file for the
blade, look ready to skim across the freshly frozen pond. Toy soldiers, some on foot,
some on horseback, represent a half-century of military history. There are various
housekeeping and school-keeping toys, dominos, card games and much more.
Since its founding in 1902, the Blue Hill Historical Society has been the repository for
many treasured items belonging to, or made by, local residents, and the group invites the
public to view this exhibit and take a step back in time. Some folks will probably say. “I
had one of those!” It will be available for viewing starting January 2, subject to the
library’s Howard Room meeting schedule. For more information, call 374-5515.