Gov. Mills signs into law Sen. Maxmin bill to help conserve the Frances Perkins Homestead
AUGUSTA — On Thursday, July 8, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill from Sen. Chloe Maxmin,
D-Nobleboro. LD 440, “An Act To Conserve the Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark,” allocates $100,000 in funding to help the Frances Perkins Center repair the structure and ensure safe entry, parking and accessibility to the site.
“The Frances Perkins Center is a unique and valuable resource to Mainers and visitors alike – a living piece of history telling the story of her life and her family’s life in Maine over centuries,” said Sen. Maxmin. “This funding is critical to the Center’s ability to stay open and accessible to those who want to learn. I’m grateful to Gov. Mills for signing this into law, and for my colleagues in the Legislature for their support.”
Frances Perkins served as U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Perkins was the first woman appointed to a cabinet position and was an instrumental figure behind New Deal programs including Social Security, unemployment insurance and a minimum wage. Her homestead sits on 57 acres in Newcastle and was owned by the Perkins family from the 1750s until its transfer to the Frances Perkins Center in 2020. Frances herself owned the homestead from 1927 to 1965. The property abuts the Damariscotta River and includes a Brick House built in 1837. The homestead was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 2014, and serves as an educational site and resource for Mainers and those from around the world.
A prestigious $500,000 grant awarded to the Center by the National Parks Service in August 2020 requires the Center to procure $824,000 in matching funds, including in-kind service. Any allocation from the state will contribute to these matching funds.
LD 440 goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.