Braeside Update

Braeside-painted front

September, 2017

Water service is established at Braeside, although we’re still awaiting completion of plumbing.  Among other benefits, it will certainly make watering our newly-planted trees much easier!  (See below and “Recent Events” page for more about our tree planting efforts during the past several years.)

Meanwhile, we are getting ready to replace first- and second-floor windows and refurbish the building entrances, retaining Braeside’s lovely historic character while using the most durable and efficient materials available.  Watch this space throughout the 2017-18 academic year!


April, 2016

UMaine arboriculture students prepare a planting site for the sugar maple tree.

UMaine arboriculture students prepare a planting site for the sugar maple tree.


Students make sure the maple sapling is correctly aligned.

Students make sure the maple sapling is correctly aligned.


The green treebag zips on like a jacket and is filled with water, which gradually seeps out to keep the tree's roots moist. tish has staked the sapling to keep it stable while its root system becomes established.

The sapling is staked to keep it stable while its root system becomes established.  The green treebag zips on like a jacket and is filled with water, which gradually seeps out to keep the tree’s roots moist.

On April 30, 2016, licensed arborist and University of Maine instructor tish carr and her arboriculture students planted a Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum Marsh) at Braeside. The tree, planted at the northern edge of the bird observation area, will grow to be 50-70 feet tall over a long lifespan.  Its shade and brilliant fall foliage will bring pleasure to human visitors at Braeside. As important as its delight to humans, the sugar maple will provide edible seeds for such bird species as pine grosbeaks, purple finches, pine siskins, and cardinals, while chickadees, nuthatches, brown creepers, wrens, and warblers will hunt insects amongst the tree’s bark and leaves.

The wood of sugar maple was once used for sleighs, sleds, and buggy shafts. As one who held fond memories of her youthful sledding days, Edith Patch would probably be delighted to know that another sugar maple has been added to the woodland trees at Braeside!


UMaine students install a bench on Braeside's Meadow Trail.

UMaine students install a bench on Braeside’s Meadow Trail.

September, 2015
– Insulation is in place, electrical system has been roughed in, and we’re waiting for the plumbers! Discussions about window replacement vs. retro-fitting for energy efficiency are ongoing. Both the project architect and preservation specialist have assured us that the windows are usable and can be retrofitted, although the university’s project manager is urging replacement. As further information becomes available to aid in the decision-making process, we will provide an update here.
– Bee boxes were installed in spring by members of the Stillwater Montessori School’s after school Environmental Club to encourage nesting of native bees on the grounds around the house and along the meadow’s edge. The project, conducted in partnership with the Biodiversity Research Institute, was funded by a grant from the Maine Community Foundation.
– Students enrolled in the Fall 2015 SFR452 Environmental Interpretation class finished installing benches and other elements for the Outdoor Learning Labs.
– Licensed arborist and University Instructor tish carr conducted a tree survey on the grounds, providing detailed advice on removal, replacement, and pruning of various trees, and indicating invasive trees, shrubs, and vines that should be targeted for removal or control.

April, 2014
– The new roof is on, thanks to a generous grant from the Davis Family Foundation. insulation and electrical work will soon be finished!
– On Maine Day, the University of Maine’s annual day of service, alums of the University of Maine’s SFR452 Environmental Interpretation class will return to Braeside to install interpretive signs and benches in the outdoor learning areas.
– Watch for continuing work on interior rehabilitation, UMaine’s GIS students completing their mapping of human impact and habitat use on the property, and the possibility of some grant-funded work on habitat enhancement for native pollinators!

October, 2013
– Watch for the new roof at last!
– Students of the University of Maine’s SFR42 Environmental Interpretation class are continuing their visits to Braeside on a regular basis as they develop outdoor learning areas, along with interpretive materials (signs, brochures, podcasts, etc). Their preliminary plans, including woodland trails, a meadow study site, a pollination station, an invasive species study area, and more, will be available for review and comment at our annual meeting, Saturday, November 2, 1:00, at the Page Farm and Home Museum on the University of Maine campus.
– Grant proposals are in the works to support an updated building condition assessment for the barn, which will eventually become the classroom and bird-banding facility.

September, 2013
– Lead abatement has been underway at Braeside this month. When the process is complete, interior work can resume. Water lines have been inspected and water service reconnected.
– Students in the University of Maine’s SFR452 Environmental Interpretation class have conducted a clean-up of the property as they begin to plan for outdoor learning areas at Braeside.

Spring and Summer, 2013
– We are delighted to be working in a productive partnership with Project Manager Art Bottie of University of Maine Facilities Management and Stewart Harvey, Executive Director of Facilities. As the effort to bring Braeside back to life speeds up, Art and Stewart have enlisted the expert assistance of Malcolm Collins, Historical Architect, and Kirk Mohney, Assistant Director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. Following earlier work done by preservation architects Tobin Tracy (now architect for the White House) and Nancy Barba, Mac has meticulously assessed Braeside’s current condition and updated recommendations for interior work yet to be complete. Kirk has provided additional advice on preserving features that are not only important architecturally, but that shed light on this history of the home before, during, and after Edith Patch’s occupancy. As a result of our meetings with Art, Stewart, Mac, and Kirk as well as subsequent information exchanges and site visits, several of us were able to walk through Braeside with Art Bottie to mark specific features for preservation, so these would not be lost during lead abatement.
The final repairs to the foundation have been completed, the exterior entry to the basement has been rebuilt for safety and ease of access, a new basement entry installed, and additional grounds work completed for moisture mitigation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s