historical societies

Ellsworth History Book Sale

Through words and pictures, this book presents an overview of Ellsworth, Maine past and present. The book provides a glimpse into our community’s past, an examination of its properties on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as a profile of four community individuals. This is a visit to the Ellsworth of Yesterday and Today through 144 pages of intriguing and exciting text and 200 wonderful photographs. It will provide you with a look of the how and why Ellsworth began.

All proceeds from the sale of the books will benefit the Ellsworth Historical Society’s restoration of our building as well as the continued work of the historical society. We hope that you will purchase a book and show your support for the society and its work. Thank you.

This book sold originally for 39.95 now on sale for just 10.00 ! To purchase your copy please send a check or money order for $15.00 ($10.00 for the book and $5.00 shipping and handling) to:

The Ellsworth Historical Society
Pictorial History Book
PO Box 355
Ellsworth, ME 04605

or call Linda at 667-5716 or Terri at 667-8235 to pick up your copy at the museum for just 10.00 or be sure and pick one ( or more) up when you visit us!

This is a great deal and a wonderful way to show your support to the Historical Society! We are currently preparing to repair our brick facade, roof, gutters, windows and more this summer and can really use your support! As always donations are welcome and please visit us this summer, we are open Thursdays and Saturdays 10-3 or by appointment at the museum at 40 State Street , Ellsworth – The Old Hancock County Jail and Museum. Visit our website for more information http://ellsworthme.org/ellshistory/.

Thank you for helping to preserve our history!!!

From all the members and friends of the Ellsworth Historical Society.

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Frank Knight, Yarmouth Tree Hugger Passes

Frank Knight, man who cared for famed elm tree, dies at 103
PORTLAND — Frank Knight’s decades-long battle to save New England’s tallest elm served as an inspiring tale of devotion, so it is fitting that he will be laid to rest in a coffin made from the tree he made famous. Knight, who died Monday at 103, had affectionately referred to the 217…

Yarmouth man to be buried in casket made from tree he revered

Frank Knight, who cared for New England’s oldest known American elm for 52 years, dies at 103…

Restoring life to aging clocks a rare profession

AUBURN — There’s something about a grandfather clock’s low “tock … tock” that speaks to Patrick Rohman. “It’s kind of like a heartbeat,” the 57-year-old clock repairman said. Clear out the dead spiders. Clean the gears and springs. Restore the oil. Life returns…

Brunswick discontinues war hero’s imaginary street

BRUNSWICK — In an intriguing example of the sometimes-tenuous relationship between people and reality, the Town Council on Monday unanimously voted to do away with a 105-year-old street that existed only in the imagination of a long-dead war hero…

Ancient tradition of harvesting alewives still going strong in Woolwich

WOOLWICH, Maine — Steve Dodge, who has been helping with springtime alewife harvests in Woolwich for 54 years, held up a stick with 10 smoked fish Sunday and told a reporter to “write us up big.” “Tell ’em they’re smoked golden brown and incredibly delicious,” said Dodge. “Even if they’re…

More Events, Exhibits and Presentations

Maine Agriculture: Views from the Past: Historic photo exhibit. Donation requested. At Page Farm and Home Museum, University of Maine-Orono. Through Nov. 10.

Knox Country Through Eastern’s Eye: Exhibit of historic photos from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co. Collection. At Thomaston Public Library. Through June 29.

The Coastal Photography of Elmer Montgomery: Exhibit of works by the renowned Midcoast Maine photographer. At the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, 9 Water St., Rockland. Through June 30.

Greetings from Vassalboro: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show and discuss old photos of Vassalboro and surrounding towns. At Vassalboro Hist. Soc., 360 Main St., East Vassalboro. Free. May 17, 7 p.m.

Greetings from Brooks: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show and discuss old photos of Brooks and surrounding towns. At Harvest Home Grange Hall, Moosehead Trail H’wy (Rte.7), Brooks. Donation requested. More information: 207-722-3633. May 18, 6:30 p.m.

Greetings from St. George: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show and discuss old photos of St. George, Port Clyde, Tenants Harbor, Martinsville and Long Cove. At St. George Grange Hall, Wiley’s Corner Rd., St. George. Free; donation accepted. More information: 207-372-8893. May 31: potluck at 6:30; slide show at 7:30 p.m.

Greetings from Nobleboro: PMM photo archivist Kevin Johnson will show old photos of Nobleboro and surrounding towns. At Nobleboro Hist. Soc., 198 Center St. (Old Rte.1). Free. June 15, 7 p.m.

May Programs

18 Tavern Dinner. Join us for this month’s ever popular historic dinner. Relax and kindle new friendships as colonial ladies prepare a fabulous meal at the hearth. This month’s menu will include: Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup, Spring Greens with Goat Cheese and Nuts, Chicken with Dried Plums and Olives, Wild Rice Pilaf, Steamed Green Beans, and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. Sign up soon –these dinners fill fast! $35 ($30 members) at the Parsons Education Center, 6 p.m.

20 Blue Grass Jam with Kevin Dyer and Friends. 1-4 p.m. at The Parsons Center. $4 donation appreciated.

28 Buck-a-Building Memorial Day and Paddle-to-the-Sea. Come see the Museum properties, including the the Old Gaol, Emerson-Wilcox House, Elizabeth Perkins House, Jefferds Tavern, the School House, and our Exhibit, “The country heer is plentiful” Trade, Religion and Warfare in York and Southern Maine, open for $1 tours. At 2 p.m. families are invited participate in Paddle-to-the-Sea, a kid-focused program based on Holling Clancy Hollings children’s book by the same name. After hearing the story, build a little boat, label it with your family’s name and launch it down the river. Follow your boat’s journey to the ocean on our blog. $5 per mini boat at the John Hancock Warehouse. 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

June Programs

2 Museum Opening Day! Come to the Museums of Old York for our opening day, enjoy the historic tours and beautiful ambience of our buildings and grounds. Also stop by the George Marshall Store for the opening of a new exhibit: Michael Stasiuk.
18 Great Bay Sailors Performance at the Wharf Join us for a Seafaring concert complete with shanty tunes at the Hancock Wharf featuring the musical stylings of Portsmouth’s own Great Bay Sailors. The concert starts at 4p.m. a $5 donation is appreciated. Please bring your own chairs or blankets, rain site is inside the warehouse. For more information, pleae contact Zoe or call her at 207-363-4974 x12

News and Updates

For the First Time EVER! The Museums of Old York will hold our Decorator’s Show House and our Antiques show at the SAME time Come to our 23rd Annual Decorator’s Show House and our 5th Annual Antiques Show this summer. The Decorator’s Show House will take place at 19 Harmon Park Road from July 14th through August 11th. The Antiques Show will take place in our Parson’s Center on July 21st and 22nd. During that time, if you purchase a ticket to the Decorator’s Show House, you get free admission to the Antiques Show. Plus, a ticket to either show will entitle you to $5 off admission to all of the Museums of Old York during the 2012 season. For more information, please visit our website or if you would like to volunteer please contact us at 207-363-4974.

Celebration of the Working and Playing Waterfront. A team of staff and trustees are looking ahead to summer and have been working to create an array of programs for 2012 all under the theme York’s rivers and ocean dominate its history. Celebrating our heritage on the water will take many forms. A series of fun and educational programs will be offered throughout June-July-August-September including a river regatta and barbeque, workshops, lectures and demonstrations on the history of lobstering, fishing, boat building, waterfront stories, riverscape painting, the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and more! A brochure will be coming out soon detailing all the offerings over the summer. See our website for a preliminary schedule of events — stay tuned for updated information.

Categories: articles, events, headlines, historical societies, Museums of Old York, Penobscot Marine Museum, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

1812 Cannon Gets New Home

A fresh take on the Longfellow Children’s Gate
Portland Daily Sun
The gate was designed by the architect Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow “to honor his uncle Henry’s famous affection for children,” according to Maine Historical Society’s official history. But the gate, installed soon after the original MHS library…

Cannon from War of 1812 to go on display in Maine museum after years of being …
Nicholas Noyes, head librarian at the Maine Historical Society, said the cannon was likely purchased at that auction and later wound up as an ornament on a man’s lawn in Cape Elizabeth. “It was transferred to the society in the late 1800s and we…

Historic cannon gets new home in Maine
Appleton Post Crescent
The cannon dates to the early 1800s and it is believed it was on the HMS Boxer when the British ship battled with the USS Enterprise off Maine’s coast in 1813. The Maine Historical Society packed up the 1200-pound cannon and its 400-pound carriage on…

Historic battle cannon heads to Bath
Press Herald
On Thursday, the Maine Historical Society packed up the 1200-pound cannon — plus a 400-pound carriage — and sent it off to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, where it will be part of a bicentennial exhibit on the War of 1812. The historical society…

Cannon from War of 1812 headed to Bath
Press Herald
The 1200-pound cannon was donated to the Maine Historical Society in 1894 and immediately loaned to the city of Portland, probably because the society — housed at the time in a couple of rooms of the Portland Public Library — had no place to display…

Old Berwick Historical Society set to announce ‘major gift’ at annual meeting
Foster’s Daily Democrat
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — A history enthusiast whose ancestor ran a shop in downtown South Berwick in the early 1800s has made a “major gift” to the Old Berwick Historical Society, according to society President Patricia Laska. At the society’s annual…

North Berwick Historical Society Book Club seeks new members from area
Foster’s Daily Democrat
NORTH BERWICK, Maine — All area residents who are interested in classical literature are urged to attend a discussion roundtable with the North Berwick Historical Society Book Club. New members are being welcomed now through May 31…

Maine Historical Society names new executive director
Kennebec Journal
By Bob Keyes bkeyes@mainetoday.com PORTLAND — Stephen Bromage will become the new executive director of the Maine Historical Society beginning June 1. He succeeds Richard D’Abate, who is retiring. “He’s the very best choice,” Katherine Pope…

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The Poland Spring Inn

Poland Spring, Maine has been a fixture for over two hundred years now (215,actually), having been opened in 1797 by Jabez Ricker, after settling at that location in 1794. I came across an article in the June 1922 issue of the Bankers Magazine. I thought I would share with those interested in the history of the Poland Spring Inn. The advertisement shown here is from a 1922 issue of the national Magazine.

THE Poland Spring House is situated on the old homestead estate of Wentworth Ricker in the heart of one of the loveliest regions of Maine and New England. In 1794 Jabez Ricker with his four sons and six daughters arrived and settled in a small house on the land south of the present Mansion House. In 1795 the building comprising the northwest corner of the present Mansion House was commenced. This building was first occupied in 1796, and during the following year was finished as an inn; a signpost was erected at the northwest corner with a sign bearing the words: “WENTWORTH RICKER, 1797.” It is recorded that the morning following their arrival, and when there was no regular highway in these parts, two men who were passing through the country called for meals. Since that day, for a period touching three centuries, these doors have never been closed to the coming guest. It is also worthy of note that the “Wentworth Ricker Inn” was one of the first to offer “entertainment for man and beast” on the post highway from Portland to Montreal.

The original Mansion House was opened by Wentworth Ricker, the grandfather of the present proprietors, Hiram Ricker & Sons, as Jabez Ricker had previously settled all his sons on properties, practically all of which have since been taken into the present estate, originally containing about 300 acres; and now over 5000 acres in the entire Poland Spring property.

Nearly 120 years of hotel-keeping have evolved the Mansion House, the Poland Spring House, and developed the estate; and the Riccar Inn at Poland Spring, which was first opened in 1913, derives its name from George and Maturin Riccar, the founders of the Ricker family in America. Side by side with the growth of Poland Spring as a Famous summer and winter resort, has developed also the history of the Poland Spring itself, and Poland Water has become famous throughout the civilized world.

Poland Spring is about 800 feet above sea level, twenty six miles north of Portland, Maine, and about five miles via the Poland Spring Automobile Stage Line from Danville Junction station of the Maine Central Railroad. The facilities for reaching Poland Spring from new York, Boston and other centers are unexcelled. The Poland Spring property of 5000 acres is of diversified character, and a small army of workers is employed in its upkeep. The scientific drainage, the electric lighting system, the water supply and fire protection have attained the perfection possible only through unrestricted study and expense. The well planned system of water towers, hydrants and sprinklers, and the system of fire brick walls afford the utmost protection.

Of the many lakes and ponds about Poland Spring, the nearest of importance is the Range Lakes encircling the western foot of Ricker Hill, less than a mile from either hotel. These are well stocked with bass, togue and other game fish. Within a few miles are other noted waters: Lake Auburn, Thompson’s Pond, Sabbath day Lake, etc., and if a guest should desire to visit the Rangely’s, which are within easy distance, arrangements may be made to occupy the Poland Spring Camp on Mooselukmeguntic for short periods.

The long sand beach at Middle Range Lake is a constant delight to children. There is every opportunity for boating and swimming, and a modern bathing pavilion, with instructors and boatmen, will be found at Middle Lake.

The tennis facilities have kept pace with the increasing popularity of the game; the three clay courts are the best that can be built, and are maintained in first-class condition. Riding is a feature that has had much attention, and an excellent string of saddle horses, and a riding master from the staff of the Durland Academy of New York, are available during the season. The links —an eighteen-hole course—rank with the best in the country.

The Mansion House and Riccar Inn are open the entire year and offer every modern comfort and convenience to the guest with long-distance telephone and steam heat in every room. Particularly during the winter season which is at its height from the first of December until the last of March, the Mansion House is the most modern of the winter resorts in New England.

A notable feature of Poland Spring is the “Maine State Building”—the official building of the State of Maine at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, when Poland Water received the Grand Prize. At the close of the Exposition this building was purchased, and re-erected at Poland Spring. This building houses the annual exhibit of representative American artists, in addition to the growing permanent exhibition of the owners, and the library of over 6000 volumes of modern, classical and historical literature; the reading room is provided with the more important periodicals, under the charge of a competent librarian.

All Soul’s Chapel—erected through the cooperation during many years of proprietors and guests, by direct contributions, and the proceeds of an annual fair for the purpose—is adjacent to the Poland Spring House, and on Sundays is the scene of services of various religious denominations for all who desire to attend.


Times have certainly changed, and the Poland Spring resort, while still a grand destination is but a shadow of what it was in Maine’s bygone days. The Ricker’s began to market the world famous Poland Spring water in the late 1840s, originally bottling it in green bottles with green labels to emphasize the natural properties of the water. You can learn more about this destination and its history by visiting the Poland Spring Preservation Society’s webpage.

Categories: historic buildings, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine, Maine things to do, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Historic Group Buys Sullivan House

Here are a few more headlines from around Maine to pique your interest. Seasonal projects are starting to fire up again around the state of Maine, hope you all have good fortune, and if you would like to share feel free to drop a line to me. Use the message box below or email if you have a longer piece. The photo to the right is of a couple of lobster boats moored at Harpswell landing.

Keeper of Yarmouth’s past finds fresh future

Linda Grant, left, chairwoman of the Yarmouth Historical Society, Program Director Amy Thompson and Executive Director Michael Chaney are among those looking forward to the construction of a new Yarmouth History Center to enhance the…

Historic group buys Sullivan house

A local property with a house that dates to the early 1800s is being acquired by the local historical society. The Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society indicated in a prepared statement sent out Sunday that…

Hope gravestone photos available on society website

Other topics well worth a look include History and Homes. The site also has a copy of the column I wrote about Hope Historical Society in 2009. If you know of Maine and New England cemetery listings online, let me know the Web address by sending it to…

Group in Lincolnville wants to move 130-year-old schoolhouse …

The Lincolnville Historical Society is working to move the 1880s school across the … By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — There are several…

New website offers searchable info on one of oldest cemeteries in northern Maine

… in February at the Campus Center, celebrating the project that was conducted by staff at UMPI’s GIS laboratory and a team of UMPI researchers working in partnership with the Fairmount Cemetery Association and the Presque Isle Historical Society.

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Fort Andross Winter Antique Show

Steeple repairs to make history

The 186-year-old structure atop First Parish Church is being refurbished to match the original, even the wood

Community Calendar Feb. 1-12
Portland History Docents classes, Thursdays 9 am-12 pm, Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress St. #2, Portland, registration required, 774-5561 ext. 120. City of Portland Republican Caucus, 9:30 am, Riverton Elementary, 1600 Forest Ave., Portland.

Fort Kent Historical Society, archives unveil massive genealogical collection
Thanks to his efforts and with the support of the Fort Kent Historical Society and the Acadian Archives at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, the massive collection of books, photographs, notes, maps and related genealogical ephemera is now indexed…

Eastport’s 1814 history deserves commemoration
Members of the Eastport Border Historical Society have done a great job in opening the pages of our history to so many people. It is time, however, for the entire community delegation, Maine state government, members of Congress and all of Maine to get…

Maine to Ohio … Farmall collection finds new home

Alden Peabody, of Augusta, Maine, restored the tractors with his father, Harold. … and did not understand the history or the significance of the models…






February events at Museums of Old York:

For a complete and up-to-date calendar please see our website.


2nd Maine’s Museums: Art, Oddities & Artifacts. Janet Mendelsohn, author of Maine’s Museums: Art, Oddities & Artifacts (Countryman Press, 2011) will present “On the road to Maine’s Museums,” a talk, slide show and book signing at York Public Library. Explore Maine through its art, history, maritime, children’s and quirky museums. Mendelsohn, a freelance writer for the Boston Globe travel section and other publications, will offer ideas for day trips, mini-vacations and armchair traveling. Books will be available for purchase. The event, part of the York Public Library’s Brown Bag Lunch series, is co-sponsored by Museums of Old York. Free and open to the public. 12–1 p.m at York Public Library, 15 Long Sands Road in York. For information about the author, visit www.janetmendelsohn.com.

3rd George Marshall Store Gallery Opening Reception. Please join us for an opening reception for the gallery’s winter installation. Mary has installed the gallery with a selection of work; some will be familiar and others will be new to you. It is nice to have a reason to come together during these quieter winter days.
RECEPTION Friday, February 3, 2012 5-7 pm at George Marshall Store Gallery, 140 Lindsay Road, York, Maine, 207-351-1083
EXHIBITION DATES Through April 8, 2012
GALLERY HOURS By chance and appointment

8th & 12th “Let’s Talk About York History” at the Parsons Center. First sessions for 1631 Partners as well as our current and former Trustees. Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. and Feb. 12 at 3 p .m. Please email Laura at development@oldyork.org for more information and to RSVP. (General membership sessions will be held on the 26th and 29th of February – see below.)

17th Tavern Dinner. Traditional hearth cooked meal in a cozy, colonial tavern environment. Menu to be announced. 6-8 p.m. at Jefferds Tavern, 3 Lindsay Road, York. Cost: $30 members / $35 non-members. Reservations are required. Please email Eileen early to reserve your space.

19th Blue Grass Jam with Kevin Dyer and Friends. 1-4 p.m. at The Parsons Center at Museums of Old York, 3 Lindsay Road, York. $4 donation appreciated. FMI, email or call 207-363-4974 ext 13.

26th & 29th “Let’s Talk About York History” Discussion Groups Convene for our Members at the Parsons Center. Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. and Feb. 29 at 5 p.m. Please email Laura at development@oldyork.org for more information and to RSVP. (We have invited our 1631 Partners and current and former Trustees to discussion sessions earlier in February – see above.)

Categories: antiques, articles, breaking news, headlines, historical societies, Maine, Maine things to do, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

130 Antique Stage Curtains Found in Maine

Here is another roundup of Maine history news headlines! Even though the temps are plunging there is still a lot of activity in the world of Maine history. It appears as though things may be changing in that for moat local societies the winters are becoming less and less of a shuttered organization during the winter months, fortunately.

Bass Harbor lighthouse, Acadia to appear on new quarter

BASS HARBOR, Maine — For the second time in a decade, an iconic Maine lighthouse will soon start appearing in the pockets and pocketbooks of people across the country. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island will be featured on the back of a U.S. quarter to be issued…

Appraisers’ Roadmap: Navigating the World of Marks
Many might wonder, when watching appraisers on the “Antiques Roadshow,” just how they can determine so much information by simply flipping a porcelain cup, silver platter or glass vase upside down? They are looking for a mark—the appraiser’s seemingly arcane language that is a mystery to the budding collector. Worthologist Mike Wilcox says that once understood, marks can save hours of time and frustration trying to figure out exactly what you are holding in your hands. Need a primer? Mike just happens to have one that gives an overview of what you can find painted or impressed on the underside of most pottery, glass or metal items that can be used to decipher vintage, authenticity and origins of your antiques and collectibles…

Curtains Without Borders finds 130 antique stage curtains in Maine

NORWAY — A stage curtain in Norway Grange 45 on Whitman Street is being documented as part of a regionwide effort by the Vermont organization Curtains Without Borders to conserve and protect stage curtains throughout New England and beyond. Curtains Without Borders Director Christine…

The Virtues of Virtual

As the world becomes more virtual (but not necessarily more virtuous), many museums and historical societies are moving their collections online. The Maine Memory Network, launched by the Maine Historical Society in 2001…

Picturing Portland in the digital age
Oldham, a volunteer with the Maine Historical Society, takes a photo in Portland Friday. The historic block of buildings along Fore Street at Boothby Square, with 340 Fore St. at the far right in the 1924 archival image. The three-year project…

Troy church among most recent additions to National Register of …

The Troy Union Meeting House, built in 1840, has made it to the National Register of Historic Places. The Maine Historic Preservation Commission singled it…

Hines speaks on art restoration

Camden — The historic Conway House’s Maine Living series will host a talk by art restorer Blaikie Hines Sunday, Jan. 8 at 2 pm at the Conway House complex…

Historic photographs at Camden library

Research for the exhibit was conducted by individuals and historical societies … The exhibit was funded by a grant from the Maine Community Foundation and…

Libraries collaborate on Civil War book group

The discussions will be facilitated by Candace Kanes, a historian at the Maine Historical Society, who is provided by the Maine Humanities Council. …

Categories: antiques, articles, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ellsworth Historical Society Remembers When

The Ellsworth Historical Society will meet on January 9th at 7:00 pm at the Dining Hall of the Meadowview Retirement Complex, 25 Tweedie Lane, Ellsworth. There will be a brief business meeting to discuss the societies goals for 2012 and after the meeting a time of swap and share stories of Ellsworth’s Past. Members and guests are encouraged to bring a memory or photos to share with the group- this is always fun and a great way to “Remember When” in our hometown.

If you have any questions or additional information you may contact Terri Weed Cormier at 667-8235 or Linda Grindle at 667-5716. Membership to the Ellsworth Historical Society is welcome to all and we are always in need of new members, please consider joining today and help support the preservation of Ellsworth’s History. Yearly membership is 20.00 and may be sent to: Ellsworth Historical Society PO Box 355 Ellsworth, Me 04605.

Civil Wars 150th stirs trove of memories

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A diary with a lifesaving bullet hole from Gettysburg. An intricate valentine crafted by a Confederate soldier for the wife he would never see again. A slave’s desperate escape to freedom. From New England to the South, state archivists are using the sesquicente…

Maine Maritime Museum to shore up oldest building with help of grant

BATH, Maine — The century-old Paint and Treenail Building at Maine Maritime Museum has been through a lot since it was built 104 years ago. It survived a fire in 1913, a move across the former Percy and Small Shipyard and being sold on a real estate market hungry for…

A Forgotten Maine Industry
Working Waterfront
Jørgen supplemented his research with other materials, including those found at the Maine Historical Society. Today the remnants of the brickmaking industry can still be seen along the river—indeed the bricks themselves can be found along the…

Monument dedicated to “All Maine Fishermen who lost their lives to the sea”

Located at Lands End, Bailey Island, Maine

To see this monument, travel East on State Route 24 until you run out of road!

Categories: articles, civil war, historical societies, history, Maine, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Rusticating in Bygone Maine

Maine has a long history as being a place to get away to, and in some cases, we have surpassed the success of many better known vacation spots. During the latter 1800’s into the early 1900’s rusticating in Maine was in vogue. People came from all over the world to relax in our rustic environment, and as a result, several world class tourist spots were developed.

One of them, the Poland Spring Inn, as shown in this postcard of mine boasted of its miraculous spring water. The water was so popular it was bottled for distribution in the old familiar green bottles with the green labeling.

Most of the older mega hotels, if you want to call them that have disappeared, but you can still find remnants of many by way of old advertising, postcards and various publications describing their offerings. Things have changed over the course of the years, so we now see a differing sort of entertainment to keep visitors happy.

It used to be common to find people boating, or taking hikes through the woods or along a shoreline, enjoying the sights to be found in the world of nature. Those same sights are still there, however, and can be found again by those of an adventurous nature.

Another world famous resort was the Kineo House, which could be found on Moosehead Lake in the Greenville area. This ca. 1850 picture to the right shows the hotel before its latter additions. The Kineo House was a grand destination for those sportsmen who wanted to get back into the big woods for fishing and hunting, and there are many stories of the successful hunts that could be had with the right guide. Fishermen were able to catch overflowing strings of various species that could be found not only in Moosehead Lake itself, but from the many streams and brooks running into the lake.

Along the coastline, dozens of old hotels lined the beaches, and southern Maine offered miles of sandy beaches for the travelers enjoyment. At one time, Old Orchard Beach recorded more visitors than the famed beaches of Atlantic City in New Jersey, and surpassed by far the then newly marketed California shoreline.

Bar Harbor has become a locale enticing the rich and famous from around the world, and many of the one time visitors have become seasonal residents here in Maine, all due to our climate and abundant resources. In those days, coming to Maine for a vacation was referred to as ‘rusticating’. It was a combination of roughing it in the woods while living elegantly, so to speak.

It amazes me today to read of the accoutrements carried into the woods by folks in those days, setting up a rough camp with all the comforts of home. It makes me wonder at times where all the people came from to tote all of the equipment into the woods. Hotels were generally advertised as having all of the amenities one could wish for on their vacation, some even boasting of hot baths.

Classy restaurants could be found in most of the better hotels, with some of them gaining quite a reputation for their culinary flare and style. No matter how you slice the pie, Maine was the place to go when you wanted to get away. In spite of the changing times, you can still get away in Maine today, whether you want to get out into the deep woods, or relax by the seaside in a comfortable resort. And while you’re visiting, there are many museums and historical societies you see to enhance your vacation if you are indeed a history buff.

We are coming into a new year, and with every new year comes a new set of hoops to jump through. It is no different for these organizations, and every one of them, from the Maine State Historical Society down to the smallest village historical society you can find, needs your help to survive. Please visit them, and see if you can help them out by either a donation of cash, or maybe even volunteering some time in this new year. You might be surprised at what you can learn about our past!

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The Bell Tolls in Farmington

Here are a few more headlines for your reading enjoyment…

Bell rings at Farmington’s Old South Church again

FARMINGTON — A 3,000-pound bronze bell is back in the tower of Old South Congregational Church on Main Street. The bell was removed in August and shipped to Ohio for repairs. Steeplejacks put the bell back Tuesday, and after making adjustments, tested it Wednesday afternoon…

Greenbush man finds Declaration of Independence copies in roadside garbage

GREENBUSH, Maine — Roger Sanborn likes to make treasure of trash. More than 20 years ago, he pulled over on a Maine road and saved a couple of old picture frames from a junk pile with the intent of making a gift for his cousin. Inside the tossed-away picture frames were a painting of a sailboat and a photo of a military aircraft. When Sanborn removed the old images, he uncovered two copies of the Declaration of Independence…

Harrison considers moving tower clock

HARRISON — The town’s tower clock, installed nearly 90 years ago, could run another 700 years, plus or minus. But that likely won’t happen if it’s left where it is, Rick and Linda Balzer told town officials Wednesday. Seven hundred years for a clock to stay running is no exaggeration, according to Rick Balzer…


knox.VillageSoup.com. The untold story of Maine Maritime Academy’s historic schooner Bowdoin will be … The Castine Historical Society has joined with faculty from Maine…

Memorial Bridge contract approved, but without cables

Foster’s Daily Democrat/ New Hampshire and Maine, which jointly own the Memorial Bridge, will share the cost of … Officials said the historical nature of the bridge was taken into…

Penobscot Marine Museum’s new virtual museum places collections online

Bangor Daily News/ one way of marking the nonprofit institution’s 75th year and getting more eyes to see the second-largest collection of historical photographs in Maine…

Fort Kent historian looking for everyone’s story, not just tales …

Bangor Daily News/ “Les Belles Histoires de Fort Kent, Maine” will be published as a 300-page, hardcover book by the Fort Kent Historical Society. “I’m looking for stories on…

As you may have noticed, this site is undergoing some changes. In the New Year, I will be changing the way we operate somewhat by offering more articles as opposed to just headlines news and announcements. I hope to be able to put more time into this project and be able to travel around and do some interviews and attend more functions than I have been able to do in the past. Unfortunately, to find the time to do this means that I will have to give up some of my income producing time, so let’s all hope this works.

One of the things I will be adding is a Maine history book page or pages where I will be posting book reviews on new and old books dealing with Maine history. If you have a book to promote, or know of someone who does, please email me at editor@touringmaineshistory.com with the details. Please include a relevant but brief description in the subject line as I no longer open emails without a valid subject description. Thanks, and have a very merry Christmas, and enjoy your time with the family!

Categories: breaking news, headlines, historic buildings, historical societies, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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