History of Our Building

Our building at 220 East Main Street has had a variety of uses. It has been associated with the organbuilder Alvinza Andrews, who worked in Waterville from the 1830s until 1852, and with William Winchell, a member of the Presbyterian Church who is believed to have been active in the Underground Railroad. It was used as a female academy or girls’ school, connected by a bridge to the Squier House next door (demolished for the present Fire House). In 1894 Mary Genevie Green Brainard (Mrs. Ira Dewayne Brainard), matriarch of a prominent family of hop-growers and merchants and herself a Civil War historian, purchased the property in order to renovate and donate it to the Waterville YMCA. A two-story gymnasium with a basketball court was added to the rear of the building, and a single-lane bowling alley was built in the basement. This rare survival of an early basketball court now serves as our Barton Hall meeting room and gallery. The YMCA vacated the building in 1907, and Mrs. Brainard then donated it to the Waterville Public Library. which occupied it from 1908 until it moved into its new facility on White Street in 2006. In 2009 the Historical Society acquired the building, thanks to the Village Board and Mayor James Younes, and adapted it for use as a museum and archive with the support of a group of generous donors.