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More historical items on display at museum inside Lewiston's Red Brick

by jmaloni
Sat, Nov 25th 2017 07:00 am
Part of Tour of Homes, Christmas Walk weekend in village
About 18 months ago, when Russell H. Piper Jr. opened a room jam-packed with historical Lewiston paintings, prints, engravings, newspaper articles and furnishings inside the Red Brick Municipal Building, he said it was just the beginning. True enough, when guests visit during the upcoming Tour of Homes/Christmas Walk weekend, they will find more than 3,000 items in the second-floor repository.
Among the new items on display, "There's pieces from the Oak Hill estate, which was the Starkweather mansion. They were in a private collection, then I got them from the estate. This will be the first time they'll be shown to the public. They've been in my private collection."
Oak Hill pieces include a one-drawer stand, candle stands, oil lamps and chairs.
Guests also will find a tablescape courtesy of Toddy St. Laurent of The Country Doctor antique store.
"New this viewing are the pieces from the Scovell estate (Oak Hill mansion) pre-Nina Starkweather-era, and the wedding china and crystal wine glasses from the estate of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Porter the fifth in a featured tablescape," Piper said. "I have placed a few more family pieces as well as pieces from the Phippen estate."
Following the holiday weekend, Piper said he expects a docent to be available to provide tours of the local history room.
"Once we get settled, we're going to try to have some regular hours, where somebody is here at least a couple of hours a day, and try to do some through the weekends," he said.
Piper, too, will lead visits when he's off work and in town.
Peter Barton Hutt, whose ancestors were among Lewiston's first families, recently took a tour with his wife and sister.
"His comment was to the mayor that he was very taken aback at the size and scope of the collection," Piper said.
That comment is typical for those who've seen Piper's collection of items, which he donated to the village.
"Those that have come in said they were overwhelmed at the scope - at how much there was - things that they have never seen before," he said. "I have pieces that other institutions don't have."
Those interested in a tour can leave a message in the mayor's office or, better yet, email Piper at [email protected].
Piper, a former antique dealer, has family ties to Lewiston that go back seven generations.
The Red Brick Municipal Building is located at 145 N. Fourth St.
Tour of Homes/Christmas Walk weekend is Dec. 2-3.
Russell H. Piper Jr. stands next to the historic table Toddy St. Laurent will decorate for Christmas Walk/Tour of Homes weekend. His repository now has more than 3,000 items on display.

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