Senate funds, enacts Sen. Maxmin bill to help conserve the Frances Perkins Homestead

Posted: July 02, 2021 | Senator Maxmin

AUGUSTA — On Friday, July 2, the Senate enacted a bill from Sen. Chloe Maxmin, D-Nobleboro, to allocate funding to help conserve the Frances Perkins Homestead in Newcastle. LD 440, “An Act To Conserve the Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark,” would allocate $100,000 in funding to help the Frances Perkins Center repair the structure and ensure safe entry, parking and accessibility to the site.

“We should be incredibly proud to have the Frances Perkins homestead in our community,” said Sen. Maxmin. “By funding this effort, we recognize her legacy. Not only that, but we preserve a key piece of history for future generations – the story of what life in our Maine community looked like throughout generations. I’m excited to see what the Frances Perkins Center is able to do with this opportunity.”

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 now goes to Gov. Janet Mills, who has 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it or allow it to become law without her signature.