Classes, Discover Wiscasset, Kids activities, Museums

The Morris Farm: A Story of Wiscasset’s History

Al Morris of Turner, Maine moved his dairy operation to Wiscassett in 1839 to be closer to the Turner Creamery, which was located on the waterfront on what is still locally referred to as Creamery Pier.

The Morris Farm and Morris Farm Store on Route 27 in Wiscasset
Morris Farm and Farm Store

At that time, Wiscasset Harbor was a busy commercial port, as Wiscasset’s scenic protected harbor and location at the crossroads of several frequently traveled land routes made it appealing for the dairy farmer, the merchant and the traveler alike, much as it is today.

He married Wiscasset born Mildred Dunning, and they bought the parcel of land known today as The Morris Farm from the Albee family, which still farms Albee Farm here in Wiscasset today. Together Al and Mildred raised four children who all went on to be a part of the growth of the town. Son Forrest continued to farm the land on Rt. 27/Gardiner Road, and passed it to his children, who allowed the community to preserve it in Trust for future generations through the Maine Land Trust Forever Farm conservation efforts after Forrest passed on.

Cows at pasture at the Morris Farm in Wiscasset

Today the farm is open to the public from dawn till dusk, and locals and visitors are welcome to enjoy a self-guided tour of the barn and gardens, hiking trails, educational programs, a summer farm camp for children and many events open to the community. The farm also features the Morris Farm Store, which carries products from local farmers and craftspeople, local produce, eggs and dairy, and participates in the Farm Fresh Rewards program to help families use food security benefits to buy fresh, healthy from local farmers.

The other Morris children who went on to help shape the Wiscasset we know today were, Stanley, who ran the Wiscasset Oil Company, Dorothea, who became the telephone switchboard operator for the town, and daughter Millie married Red Delano and they established another longtime family business and Wiscasset visitor favorite, Red’s Eats.

One of Morris Farm's heard of cows.

The children weren’t the only offspring of the farm to thrive in the community after the farm became community owned. The herd from the Morris Farm dairy operation were sold to farmer Lee Straw of nearby Newcastle. To this day, Straw’s Farm heifers and sheep graze the pastures of the Morris Farm in summer, and Straw’s Farm fresh raw milk is available at the Morris Farm Store and in the 24-hour egg and milk stand in the lobby of the Education Center, which also features local favorite Willow Hill Farm eggs.


This article is part of a series produced by Friends of Wiscasset to highlight area businesses. This article was written by Elizabeth Palmer. Other stories in this series include:

Classes, Discover Wiscasset, Shopping

Family Business Brings the World to Midcoast Maine

Post and beam structure built by students at the Shelter Institute in Midcoast Maine.
Post and Beam Structure Built by students

The entrance to the Shelter Institute is just outside Wiscasset on Route 1. You’ve probably passed the entrance a thousand times, seen their post and beam sign with the rotating holiday decorations and thought, “I should stop in some time and take a look. And while you might not have been in yet, the Shelter Institute hosts people from all around the world. They come to attend workshops, buy woodworking tools, and order custom designed timber structures. The Shelter Institute has recently had attendees from Germany, Brazil, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Japan, Puerto Rico, South America and France. They’ve designed and built structures all around the US and the Caribbean. 

All types of woodworking tools are for sale in the shop at the Shelter Institute in Maine.
Woodworking Tools for Sale at the Shelter institute

While it has world reach, the Shelter Institute has Maine roots. Pat and Patsy Hennin started the business in 1974 in Bath, Maine. Originally in the space above Reny’s they later bought and renovated the building that now houses Brynes Irish Pub. Patsy remained very active in the business up until her death in 2006 and Pat is still highly involved. Their children, Blueberry Beeton and Gaius Hennin now run the majority of the day to day operations. Everyone in the family live nearby and enjoy all the outdoor opportunities that Maine has to offer, especially boating.

Working on the beams for a custom designed building built at the Shelter Institute
Fabricating a Custom Designed Building at the Shelter Institute

As the courses and structures became more popular they found they needed a larger site that would allow students to practice raising buildings and provide space to house their growing fabrication business.  They knew they wanted to remain close to Bath and their regular customers, and they knew they wanted to be on Route 1 because of the great exposure to all the vehicles traveling back and forth regularly. In 2000 they bought 68 acres of land on Route 1 for their new location. The campus includes a retail store, classroom, and workshop.

Students gather around to learn the use of woodworking tools at the Shelter Institute in Maine
Teaching Students at one of their Courses at the Shelter Institute

All of the class offered by the Shelter Institute are approved for the GI Bill for Veterans and many institutions consider the classes job training opportunities. The Design Build Class is college accredited through the University of Maine Augusta. Shelter was founded on the idea of learning and teaching. Pat and Patsy believed in the importance of the individual having an understanding of the world in which they live; literally their home. As a commemoration to the passion for learning that Patsy Henning infused into the Shelter Institute, the family created a scholarship program for local high school and college students to help them attend trainings and gain skills.  You can find out more information on their classes, tools, and scholarships by visiting their website, Facebook page or Instagram.

Or next time you’re driving by why not stop in and see everything they have to offer.  


This article is part of a series produced by Friends of Wiscasset to highlight area businesses. This article was written by Saundra Neperud. Other stories in this series include: