The Skinner Settlement is located in the heart of West Corinth on the Kenduskeag-Exeter Mills Road, about three and one half miles west of East Corinth. This historic district has been listed with the National Register of Historic Places since 1973, and is well worth the visit.
The Skinner Settlement is typical of a nineteenth century crossroads village. At that time, life consisted of farming frontiers centered around a loosely defined village just like this one. These rural hamlets effectively met the trading and social needs of the pioneer society and grew in size and complexity apace with the changing needs of the total agricultural society.
The house once belonged to Daniel Skinner, our town's first resident. He arrived in 1793 with his grown sons, Asahel and Elijah and four other children. They began clearing this farm and built a log cabin across the road from the present farmhouse, which was built about 1810-1815.
In 1805, Daniel and Asahel acquired title to two hundred acres of land, including the present fifty-acre homestead and adjacent land. Daniel and Elijah farmed and kept tavern, living first in the log house and later in the farmhouse that is presumed to be one of the first frame houses in the settlement.
On the property also once stood a large 40'X60' barn, raised on June 20, 1873 to replace two smaller barns. The master builder was Royal A. Sweet, a local blacksmith and wagon maker who also built the nearby Robeyville Covered Bridge. The Ell connecting the house and barn was altered during the Civil War period as was the foundation and possibly the roof overhang of the farmhouse. The farmstead buildings are representative of the attached house-ell-barn architecture that prevailed in rural Maine after the Civil War.
The farm remained in the Skinner family from first settlement to the present-day. George Skinner, son of Elijah, brought the farm to its highest degree of cultivation during his tenure from 1850 to the early 1900's. He was responsible for building the barn and altering the foundation and ell. Only minor changes have been made since that period so the farmstead remains a good picture of an inland Maine farm as it had evolved by the second generation after settlement.
With regret, the Skinner home was dismantled in the summer of 2001. A piece of history is forever lost to us.
The Hodsdon General Store was built, according to Town assessment records, about 1830 by Isaac Hodsdon, who was clerk of the Penobscot County Judicial Court and was living in Bangor. Hodsdons brother Nathan probably ran it until Nathan's son, Charles, bought it in 1856.
Charles Hodsdon ran the store until 1908. About 1870 he raised the roof in the ell attached to the store and made a second story 17'X32' social hall over the downstairs feed and grain room. This hall saw intensive community use for birthday parties, oyster suppers, "5-cent sociables", lectures and dialogue plays and as a meeting place for the Good Templars temperance lodge after the Civil War and into the present century.
In 1916 Peter Lyons bought the store and converted the hall into living quarters by putting in two partitions in the hall and building a bedroom closet out onto part of the stage and laying hardwood floors over the original wide board floors.
The District Number 2 Schoolhouse lot was purchased by the district in 1859. The present 24'X32', one room schoolhouse may have been built at that time or moved from an earlier location near the church. Original windows on the south side have been replaced with a set of six windows. Interior changes are slight. A painted blackboard covers most of the north wall, and a schoolhouse wood heater still provides the heat for the building. The District No. 2 school was established at the first Corinth Town Meeting in 1812. The building is presently owned by the West Corinth Community Club and is used for public suppers and other general community activities.
The Skinner farmhouse is a one and a half story Cape Cod with front entry flanked by twin parlors, each with its own chimneys and fireplaces. The chimneys appear to be original, with no evidence of an earlier central chimney. A large dining room behind the entry hall and parlors was the original kitchen with a seven-foot wooden mantel over a fireplace with bake oven. Small bedrooms lead off from the old kitchen, each with fireplaces backing onto the parlor chimneys.
The present kitchen, in the ell abutting the main house, was converted from a rear entry room while the pantry behind it was the former buttery. The front entry stairway leads to an upstairs hall and four bedrooms. All of the bedrooms have a sloping roofline on the eaves side. Fireplaces have been removed from the upstairs bedrooms while downstairs fireplaces have been covered over.
The wide board floors are intact throughout the main house as are the four panel doors and most of the original hardware which family tradition attributes to Mason Skinner, carpenter, blacksmith, son of Daniel.
Prior to its closing, you would have been greeted at the entrance to this little store by someone asking if they could be of help. Now, it seems hard to believe that this was once and important center of the town of West Corinth. The building appears in very poor condition today, and begs for restoration before it "sits down" forever under the weight of another ice storm.
The store is very much in its original condition. The wide floors and two slant front counters remain as do the wrought iron ceiling hooks. Front windows have been enlarged and four side windows covered with shelves extended over the former window openings. A central chimney has been relocated at the rear of the store. Exterior clapboards on the store are butt-lapped by hand. Store dimensions are 17'X27'. Woodwork in the store has been repainted a pale green. The ceilings and floors were undergoing some restoration in the 1970's. The store was in continuous operation from 1830 to the summer of 1972. In 1973 a failed effort to reopen the store was to focus on products sold there in the 1870's. Records and ledgers from the Hodsdon Store of that period remain intact.