Pineland Farms Is Where the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded Used to Be
The place you can ice skate, hike, ski, snowshoe and have a great lunch in an igloo, used to be an institution for those with developmental disabilities.
But back in the early 1900s, they weren't very sensitive, or knowledgeable about how to help those that needed it.
It's kind of wild to see how many changes and (incorrect) ideas that were believed back in the day, and mainememory.net has a pretty thorough history of it all.
According to Wikipedia:
From 1907 when the Maine Legislature decided to establish a school for "idiotic and feeble-minded" children until 1996 when that institution closed its doors, doctors, social workers, parents, legislators and community advocates discussed and debated the nature of the problem of developmental disabilities in children and adults and the best way for the state to care for those individuals.
The Maine School for the Feeble-Minded was founded where Pineland Farms now stands. The name changed multiple times, according to mainememory.net, including its last name change in the 70s when it was finally changed to Pineland Center.
There was even a class action class action lawsuit in 1975 "alleging that Pineland did not provide adequate care," the mainememory.net article states.
The center finally closed in 1996.
As I was having lunch in a heated igloo that Pineland is renting, I thought of the past. I had heard that Pineland was a 'mental institution'... but that's all I knew. At the height of the school, they had 1700 patients. Wow.
It's taken a few decades, but Pineland is now associated with such different thoughts: One of nature, and beauty and community and well, love.
The Market has some of the yummiest sandwiches and goodies. We grabbed some lunch and really enjoyed ourselves... but if you are ever wondering what Pineland used to be - well, it's got an interesting past.