All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Shakers Planning for the Future

The celibacy requirement has put a serious crimp in Shaker recruitment efforts.

The Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake now has only four members: Brother Arnold Hadd, 48, Brother Wayne Smith, 41, Sister Frances Carr, 78, Sister June Carter, "in her late 60s."
With their mortality weighing on them, the Shakers spent recent months crafting what amounts to a will and testament for their land and village. Under the agreement, the Shakers will sell conservation easements to the trust, allowing the village to ward off development and continue operating as long as there are Shakers to live there.

The agreement does not specify whether the property will become a park, museum or other public space should the Shakers die off. That decision would be made by a nonprofit corporation - the United Society of Shakers, Sabbathday Lake Inc. - whose board members are largely non-Shakers. [Link]
Sabbathday Lake is the last surviving Shaker community, and is located on Route 26 in New Gloucester, near the Poland town line. The Shaker Museum is closed for the season, but the Library is open year round.
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