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The curtains are here and safely stored in the Town Hall. Karen and Ken Davis and Lee and Joe Miller journeyed to West Paris, ME to transport them back to Wardsboro. Our team- guided by Chris Hadsel, director of Curtains Without Borders, removed tacks that held the curtains to wooden top frames and bottom rollers. The curtains were then rolled sideways onto empty carpet tubes and carefully wrapped in Tyvek for their trip to Wardsboro. Since two of the curtains are 16'6" wide and the third one is 19'8" wide, rolling them sideway ended up with a bundle that is only 10'6" - much more manageable. We also brought back to Wardsboro two interior scene curtains - all part of the same original set. These two interior scene curtains have a serious amount of water damage; they will be cleaned and more carefully wrapped for longer term storage.
West Paris's official website describes West Paris as “a friendly community located on Route 26 in the foothills of western Maine.” It is a small community of about 1800 people that was once home to many mills, including factories making wooden clothespins and wooden folding chairs. (See one of the folding chairs in the photo gallery.)
Right after our visit, our curtain project was profiled in the West Paris local paper, the Oxford Hills Sun Journal. The article gave some general background information about the stage curtains in northern New England. In Maine alone, Curtains Without Borders has documented more than 150 pieces. Ms. Hadsel recalled that in her more than 15 years working with historic theater curtains, she could remember only two or three times that they were moved from their original site.
The three curtain set that will be installed in Wardsboro's Town Hall consists of a country scene, a street scene, and a "grand drape" landscape scene. The grand drape is the largest, and is called a grand drape because the artist painted drapery on the curtains framing the landscape scene. Our grand drape is titled "November Twilight". Our set also includes two ‘ears’ matching the country scene. Ears are 3' wide side pieces, fixed to frames, that hang at a slight angle on each side of the main curtain. Also included is a ‘teaser’ - what many would call a valance. It is about eighteen inches tall and will be installed in front of the curtains’ ceiling framing.
See the photo gallery for some photos of the West Paris Grange and the team working on the curtains.