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How Willowbrook Got Its Start
Don King single-handedly envisioned and created 19th Century Willowbrook Village. Although assisted by numerous people over the years, he was the sole driving force.
In the early 1960s, after falling through the ice on the lake near his hunting cabin in northern Maine, Don began to search for a property in southern Maine so he could be closer to his Massachusetts residence in Topsfield. After considering several possibilities, he ultimately purchased the Durgin property in Newfield from Marguerite Moore in May 1965.
The purchases of the properties that now make up 19th Century Willowbrook Village happened as follows:
May 1965—7.0 acres comprising the Durgin property (purchased from Marguerite Moore whose family had owned the property since 1905) including the house, country store/ballroom structure, large barn, and mill. The land included a 2,500 sf parcel up the hill on Dundee Road where the water well for the Durgin house was located.
January 1968—2.3 acre Trafton property (purchased from Carl and Hilda Perry) across the street from the Durgin property which included a house and barn.
June 1972—1/2 acre (purchased from Clayton and Sylvia Chute) now the site of the bandstand and 4 exhibit buildings.
August 1997—5.8 acre parcel (purchased from Daniel and Susan Charron) that extended south of the Post Office along Elm Street and behind the Red Barn Activity Center and storage building. In 2004, part of this property was leased to the Historical Society of Newfield for construction of a new building to display their collections and hold events.
After his death in 1985 at the age of 71, his wife Marguerite (known as “Pan”) expanded her involvement in the operation of Willowbrook.
Pan directed the restoration of several important pieces in the collection including the stagecoach and carousel as well as the construction of the carousel building and the bandstand. She remained active at the museum on a daily basis, until she moved to Portland, Maine, at age 85. She died in Portland in 2003, at the age of 89.
19th Century Willowbrook Village is a nonprofit 501(c)3 charitable organization
listed on the National Register of Historic Places
19th Century Willowbrook Village • P.O. Box 28, Newfield, Maine 04056 207-793-2784