Brunswick resident Elizabeth Sokoloff unveils her winning design for the new Historic Village of Brunswick marker on Nov. 28.by Annee Tara
Coastal Journal contributor
BRUNSWICK — Around 100 people crowded into the Little Dog Coffee Shop on Maine Street in Brunswick last week to celebrate the unveiling of the new Historic Village of Brunswick marker. Designed by artist, art teacher and Downtown Brunswick resident Elizabeth Sokoloff, the marker features the “Swinging Bridge” which connects the Towns of Topsham and Brunswick.
“I think it’s a beautiful structure and its history is so compelling,” said Sokoloff, referring to both the historic purpose of the Bridge – to enable workers to cross the River to come to work at the Cabot Mill – and the ongoing community efforts to restore and rehabilitate the Bridge over the years.
The project was the brainchild of Laura Lienert, of the NorthWest Brunswick Neighborhood Association.
“I’ve seen the benefits of marker programs in other towns,” said Lienert. “They offer visual unification and identity to the historically significant heritage of village areas. With such a foundation, this type of branding can have far reaching impact on a community, starting with civic pride and eventually providing the basis for walking tours and a guidebook that would engage visitors and residents alike.”
The NorthWest Brunswick Neighborhood Association collaborated with the Village Improvement Association, the Brunswick Downtown Association and the Town’s Village Review Board, to hold a design competition this Fall and Sokoloff’s artwork was “unanimously” selected from over a dozen entries. “It really just captures what we believe is the spirit of this Village,” said Lienert.
Mary Beth Burbank, President of the NorthWest Brunswick Neighborhood Association, set the stage for the unveiling:
“Part of [the Association’s] reason for existing was to honor and revive and celebrate this old part of Brunswick,” said Burbank.
After listing several of the Association’s accomplishments over its 10-year existence, she said, “The next step seemed to be to honor the residences that are there, the businesses, the buildings that exist in what we know as the Village of Brunswick.”
Burbank was careful to point out that for this purpose, “the Village doesn’t have boundaries; our sense of the Village is, ‘If you think you live in the Village, you do.’ If you have that sense that you are a part of this wonderful center of Brunswick, then you are part of the Village. And your pride in living here can now be marked on your residence with a plaque.”
The Marker will be cast in bronze (an oval about six by eight inches) and made available for purchase to put on any property – commercial or residential – in the Village area. The property itself doesn’t have to be historically significant; it just needs to be in the area. An order form can be found on the NorthWest Brunswick Neighborhood Association’s website, historicnorthwest.wordpress.com.