News and Events


Because The Pierce House is located in downtown Farmington, it is often the focus of major events that involve residents and the community. The Friends of The Pierce House, the Activities Director, and the Trustees are committed to keeping the residents connected to the community through activities and invitations to luncheons and other events.

Some of the events that have occurred are:

* Celebration that changed the name of the facility from Eighty Main Street to The Pierce House: September 30, 2001. The original name of the facility was
The Farmington Home for Aged People and is incorporated under that name.

* Centennial Celebration: 2005. The Farmington Home for Aged People was Incorporated in 1905, and a community celebration was held on July 4, 2005.
The event was described as a “Norman Rockwell” setting. The Centennial Band from Portland, dressed in period clothing, performed familiar music of the early 1900’s. There were tents and seating for guests, candy cotton, cookie decorating, strawberry shortcakes, and balloons. Residents and others were dressed in period costumes.

*Fourth of July Celebrations. The first celebration in 2005 was so successful that it has been continued in recent years. The Old South Congregational Church
offers strawberry shortcakes, and the Baptist Church donates hotdogs with fixings. The Pierce House provides tents, chairs, the Centennial Band, cookie decorating and lemonade. The spacious lawns have become a gathering place for those watching the parade.

*Volunteer Appreciation Dinner: November 9, 2007 at the Granary Banquet Room. The welcome to the dinner was expressed as follows: The Officers and Trustees of the Farmington Home for Aged People, Inc., The Pierce House, wishes to express appreciation to our volunteers, donors, and staff who do so much to enrich the daily lives of the residents of The Pierce House by engaging them in a variety of activities, which benefit their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

* Christmas Holiday Open House – a yearly event that recognizes staff and residents and celebrates the season in a beautifully decorated home.
* Family Fun day – a yearly event that includes family and friends of residents.
* Visits to lakeside homes at Clearwater Lake.
* Poolside parties, with refreshments and swimming for guests.
* Fall Foliage Tea – a yearly event that celebrates the beautiful fall season in Western Maine. It is sponsored by the Friends and held in the home of one of the Friends.

* Festival of the Trees is sponsored by the Rotary Club. The residents prepare a tree each year to be auctioned as part of the Chester Greenwood Celebration.
* Party boat rides on Clearwater Lake. In August volunteers provide party boats and the residents enjoy a ride around the lake. Some of the residents have memories of visits at cottages and some have owned homes on the lake..
* Lakewood Theater play and dinner. Residents enjoy a summer trip to visit the popular summer theater in Madison.

* Monthly teas are held on the third Saturday each month. Special programs are planned.
* Residents’ birthdays are celebrated and each resident chooses their favorite dinner and invites family and friends.
* During Residential Care Week special events are planned and the staff are honored.
* Residents enjoy attending the Harvest Supper held annually at the Old South Congregational Church.

* Residents attend the annual Elks Lodge Thanksgiving dinner.
* An open house is planned on Halloween and residents, wearing appropriate costumes, greet “trick and treaters” with candy and other goodies..

* Residents over the years have enjoyed visits from Eleanor Roosevelt, Senator Olympia Snowe, Senator Susan Collins, Governor John McKernan, State Senator Walter Gooley, and Congressman Michael Michaud.

The Pierce House
in the News

Pierce House holds 5th annual Love Luncheon for Valentine’s Day 

from The Daily Bulldog

Members of "Friends of the Pierce" who always host all such fun occasions. Here celebrating with Leona Cross, 103, the oldest resident and former restaurant owner. (Photo by Jane Knox)

Jill Perry, center, and Judy Bjorn, right, are members of "Friends of the Pierce House." Friends host all such occasions.
Here Perry and Bjorn are celebrating with Leona Cross, 103, the oldest resident and former restaurant owner.
(Photo by Jane Knox) February 14, 2013 • The Daily Bulldog

Looking back on a century full of special birthdays

BY LARRY GRARD, Staff Writer
December 14, 2008 Local News, page :1

FARMINGTON -- On Christmas Eve a century ago in Rockland, Josephine Wasgatt gave birth to the second of her four children.
Theodore Roosevelt was president and Henry Ford produced the Model T the year Martha Wasgatt came into the world.

This Christmas Eve, as Wasgatt observes her 100th birthday, she will recall with clarity those Christmases from long ago."I never had a birthday party until I was 16," said Wasgatt, whose hearing is remarkable and who gets around just fine, thank you, with the help of a cane."I couldn't understand that, always. When I was little, you got one Christmas present or two, maybe."

The more things have changed for Wasgatt, the more they have remained the same. Instead of celebrating her milestone birthday on Dec. 24, her friends at Pierce House will mark the occasion with a cake on Dec. 21.Christmas Eve, after all, is still Christmas Eve. People will be away. And Wasgatt isn't complaining."I had 16 family members from Philadelphia, Boston, Colorado and California here last summer for a birthday party," she said. "We had lobster on the porch."The porch overlooks Main Street, which is decorated for the holiday.

The Pierce House, a residential-care facility in a former home built in 1850, is next to the University of Maine at Farmington. Wasgatt taught there from 1953 until she retired in 1972.

One of her favorite Christmas memories is the story of the safety pins.It seems that her mother was always losing her safety pins. On Christmas Eve, her father, Dr. Roland Wasgatt, was in the habit of letting his children take turns going Christmas shopping with him at the Fuller-Cobb-Davis department store in Rockland."Usually, we'd show him what we wanted," Wasgatt recalled."This time, he asked me to go to the sewing area and buy every safety pin they had available."Wasgatt, 7 or 8 years old at the time, said the safety pins were sold on cards."Father told us to fasten them altogether," Wasgatt said. "There were a lot of cards. We sat on the floor and did that."Then came Christmas morning."We got up to see the stockings they had hung," she said. "We all thought we'd seen Santa Claus come down the chimney. I can still see his foot go up that chimney."Following breakfast, it was on to the stockings and the tree."There must have been 200 safety pins draped across that tree," Wasgatt said."I could see nothing but safety pins in front of all the decorations. He said, 'Now, Josephine, there's your Christmas present.'"Her mother's reaction?"She laughed. She thought it was the best joke. She took them off very carefully and put them away.
"The Wasgatts' tree would come down that night. It was decorated with real -- as in burning -- candles."Some people had real candles on the tree, with metal holders that clipped onto the tree," Wasgatt said. "Some people decorated with popcorn and cranberries. Our tree was decorated with very beautiful balls that came from Germany.

"Wasgatt did get the dinner and cake of her choice -- usually chocolate -- on her birthday."We had candles in every window on Christmas Eve," she said. "It was our job to check them constantly."Before the Christmas dinner, the family attended services at the Congregational Church."Each family had its own pew," she said.

Wasgatt, who stayed single, graduated in 1931 from the University of Maine, with a degree in home economics. After earning a master's degree at Columbia University, she taught home economics for 16 years in Pennsylvania and finally took a position at the former Farmington State Teachers College.

Wasgatt has not attended a Christmas service for two years, but makes the best of what is available to her."Fortunately, you can get a program on TV," she said. "And our nice minister, Cathy Wallace, comes over once a month and gives communion."

Larry Grard --

Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel
December 3, 2008
Local News, page 3

Festival of Trees event set for Saturday


FARMINGTON -- Since last summer, more than 30 area quilters have been busy at quilting bees, sewing ornaments to adorn a Christmas tree. The finished tour de force will have as many as 150 handmade, quilted ornaments and garlands, with a red, green, gold and cream color scheme. Many embellishments were made using old-fashioned quilting designs, and the whole thing will be lit by tiny white lights and topped by a special, hand-sewn creation."Many hands worked on this. We shared ideas and patterns, talked about it and put a lot of thought into it," said Sally Rowe, a member of Maine Mountain Quilters. "These are heirloom quality ornaments."For the first year, the quilting group is decorating one of the 20 trees in the annual Farmington Rotary Club's Festival of Trees being held Saturday at the Granary Restaurant on Pleasant Street in Farmington. The doors open at 9 a.m.A reception with entertainment by the Franklin County Fiddlers starts at 5 p.m.; the trees will be auctioned at 6 p.m. by Adrian and Jeff Harris, and Roger Lambert. There is a cash bar and complimentary appetizers for the evening. There will be a W.A. Mitchell chair given out as a door prize at the evening gala, said organizer Rotarian Carolyn Eaton.

Some of the tree themes this year: "Woodland Magic" by residents at The Pierce House; "Maine Winter Sports" by Franklin Orthopedics; "Mittens, Mittens" by the Industry Fire Department Auxiliary; "Red Sox" by Mt. Blue High School Interact Club; "Meet me at the Ocean" by the University of Maine at Farmington Rotaract Club; "A Day at the Beach" by Susan Cutino and Judy Brown; and "ARRRT" by UpCountry Artists.
The trees are donated by Conifers Unlimited, owned by Walter and Joanne Gooley.

Betty Jespersen --


Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel
November 30, 2008 Local News, page 0



FARMINGTON -- When Marge Bragg of New Sharon retired after 34 years as a secretary at the University of Maine at Farmington, a typewriter was the only machine she had to use. "I've had no desire to use a computer," said Bragg, who now lives at The Pierce House on Main Street in Farmington.
Now at the age of 84, she is starting to learn a new skill: She is exploring how to use this new-fangled device and has learned about the marvels of electronic communication.

The project that won her over was her ability to scan a collection of old family photographs on the facility's new computer system designed for easier use and visibility.She has been able to send copies of each treasured photo to her two daughters, one of whom is assembling the family's genealogy. On the back, she wrote down the information passed on to her from her mother that identified the people and places."In my mother's things, I had found photographs of family members and both my two girls asked to have them.
But I wanted them to go to the Waldoboro Historical Society, because that is where my family is from," Bragg said. She worked on the project with The Pierce House's activity director, Nancy Brooks.

The Pierce House at 204 Main Street, in the center of downtown Farmington, is a licensed, private, non-profit assisted-living facility. It was incorporated as the Farmington Home for Aged people in 1905 and began providing care to residents in 1926.The well-maintained home, next to the Farmington Post Office, has landscaped gardens and a large enclosed porch.

Inside, the décor harkens back to older times and residents dine on linen tablecloths with real china.Of the 16 residents, none have their own computer and only half had ever used one, said director Darlene Mooar.Their families, however, all are wired at home.
Now, with the help of staff and University of Maine at Farmington rehabilitation and psychology practicum students, the doors of modern communication are opening up for the residents, Mooar said.

The 14 women and two men at the home can now receive e-mails and photos that staff members can print out. The residents are starting to research topics, read the news, play games, watch slide shows and join interactive education presentations.Recently, one session on macular degeneration had residents e-mailing questions in to the speaker who answered them live, Mooar said."It does enhance their lives," she said. "They get excited, almost gleeful, to sit down at the computer and read a letter from a close relative or a grandchild who wants to tell grandma how he did in school."

One 96-year-old resident has sisters in Colorado, Florida and New Hampshire, where the sibling is 100 years old."All four of them have a computer now and they write to each other every week. Nancy sits with her and helps her write a letter and prints out the ones she receives," Mooar said."It is interaction. It gets her going back in time and sparks some wonderful conversations," she said."And if one sister has an ailment or a health question, we can offer advice because we have great access to information," she said."It is all about compassionate caring," Mooar said.

The computer was put to good use prior to the Nov. 4 elections to get information about the presidential and local candidates and issues.During computer research activity time, residents sit in rockers, wing-back chairs and the settee while staff or a UMF student looks up requested topics. When a speaker recently gave a presentation on his trip to Ireland, the computer was used to locate pictures of the castles and Irish countryside he referred to."We have moved into an information culture that depends on the computer but our folks come from a time when news was shared by letters or phone calls," she said.But some are now hard of hearing and writing letters is difficult, she said."Twenty years ago when I started here, there were all kinds of letters being exchanged but people don't write letters anymore," Mooar said.

To highlight the cultural contrast, while current residents, many of whom are in their 90s, might not be familiar with computers, most of the applicants on the waiting list who are younger and into their 80s, are not only familiar with the technology but many have their own systems, Mooar said.The human-interaction angle that the computer provides to the residents is another benefit because it gives staff and the volunteers something to start conversations around.Mooar said in one instance, a resident was remembering how delicious her mother's favorite bread pudding was. Together, they researched it on-line, found one that fit the bill and the kitchen staff prepared the dish and served it at a meal.The psycho-social needs of the elderly tend to be overlooked when so much attention has to be paid to their medical and daily needs, she said."It is often the last thing to be considered important. But the return to wholeness and wellness depends on keeping them connected to life," Mooar said.

Betty Jespersen -