The Edith Marion Patch House

College Avenue, Orono, Maine

(c. 1840-1860)

The Rescue

In the spring of 1997, the University of Maine announced that a small wooden home on College Avenue known as the “Patch House” would be destroyed in a controlled burn as part of a firefighter’s exercise. Most readers of the Bangor Daily News were probably unaware of any particular significance of this announcement. Others recognized the “Patch House” as Braeside, the former home of Dr. Edith Marion Patch, entomologist, environmentalist and natural history writer for young people. The reactions of the public, both on and off the University of Maine campus, caused the University to reverse its decision to destroy the house. In 1997, Maine Preservation listed the “Patch House” as one of the ten Most Endangered Historic Properties in Maine. Two University of Maine committees were convened to discuss the future of the house, and early in the summer of 2000, a small group was given permission by President Hoff to explore possible uses for the property, and to raise funds to restore the house in recognition of the life and legacy of Dr. Patch.  The home was named to the National Register of Historic Places. (adapted, in part, from: Gibbs, K. E, 2000, The Maine Entomologist, 4:2-5)

For the past several years , the Friends of Dr. Edith Marion Patch has worked to complete a sensitive rehabilitation of Braeside, and to establish there the Dr. Edith Marion Patch Center for Entomology, the Environment, and Education.  The Patch Center will serve as the core of operations for scientific and educational programs which have already been underway, on an outreach basis, for the past five years.  The center will include a teachers' resource collection, a museum dedicated to Dr. Patch, wildlife gardens and trails, and housing for visiting faculty.