The first Freeport Historical Society was established in 1941 by the Hon. Hilbert R. Johnson, Freeport judge and historian, with assistance from numerous other civic-minded individuals. The intervening World War II years, and extensive damage to the building from a fierce 1944 hurricane, resulted in the Society’s demise.
Efforts to reestablish a historical society resumed twenty years later on May 7, 1961, the first official meeting of our present Freeport Historical Society was conducted. The Freeport Historical Society was recreated for the purposes of securing, displaying and preserving artifacts and disseminating the history of Freeport’s rich and varied past.
Located within the bounds of the Raynor Historical Museum building originated as a small bayman’s cottage of the Civil War era. Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Horace Evans, owners of 350 South Main Street for a half-century until its sale to the Society, were responsible for the evolution of this simple adorned, six plus room, four level structure. Uniquely intact, with a poured concrete foundation, the structure contains both low and high ceilings and parts of the original hand-hewn beams are visible in on of its several attics.
The Main, or Reception Room, of the Freeport Historical Museum is reserved for artifacts special to Freeport’s uniqueness, including a 1777 thirteen-star flag, the spinning wheel from “the oldest house in Freeport”, and items pertinent to the Grand Army of the Republic as well as the American Revolution. An extensive map collection, vaudeville era artifacts, waterfront memorabilia, period fashions, kitchen utensils, toys, transportation and communication exhibits, and entertainments aspects of historic Freeport are also on view throughout the museum. Genealogical and historical researched is encouraged through the use of our library acquisitions.
Four decades of Freeport Historical Society sponsored activities have included a wide range of informative and entertaining programs. They include art shows, craft and antique fairs, garden parties and tours. Tours for fourth grade students in the Freeport schools are an important way to pass on our heritage to the younger generation. Twice a year open meetings reflect the interests of the community presentations that feature genealogical studies, local writers, and Freeport’s history. These activities are in addition to securing, displaying and preserving artifacts from Freeport’s more than three hundred year history.