Black, Orr, Johnson and York are longtime island names, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that girls from these families were among the charter members of the Mingo Club, founded more than 100 years ago. The club’s original purpose was to meet once a week so members could read to each other from donated books and lend out those that weren’t being read. As the club grew, the members developed a dream: to erect a public library on Bailey Island. The closest one was on Orr’s Island, then a ferry ride away.
With the help of summer residents, including two New York architects, Library Hall was designed after the main house of Mount Vernon and built in 1911-1912. Not only a lending library, the building included a kitchen and a stage so social and community events could be held there.
The Mingo Club continues to maintain Library Hall and has enlarged its purpose to help make the dreams of young Harpswell residents come true. Drawing on donations and proceeds from events such as the July Fourth ice cream social, the club now offers a $1,000 grant to a graduating Harpswell senior who wants to pursue postsecondary study, training, certification, or licensure. Applicants must be residents of Harpswell and graduating in 2023, but it isn’t necessary to attend Mt. Ararat. Attendees of other schools, as well as homeschoolers, are eligible to apply.
The deadline to apply is April 28. The application can be found at the Counseling Department of Mt. Ararat High School and at tinyurl.com/mingoclub. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.