Posts Tagged With: Biddeford

Biddeford Pool

The history of Maine is riddled with a past that vacillates between tourism and industry as key components of our economic picture, and as such, we have collected boxes upon boxes of memories of what we think is the past. Our memories are not always faithful to the facts, however, and when we try to relive what we think is the past, it never really quite achieves satisfaction to our expectations. Today, as we seem to be looking to embrace the tempting vagaries of what has been dubbed “eco-tourism” by the UN, we are once again drifting away from a rich, industrial based economy towards that ever so fleeting economy of the tourism dollar.

Pondering the possibilities, I am reminded that Maine has enjoyed pockets of popularity that made us world leaders in the vacation industry in many ways. The Poland Spring House, Mt. Kineo, Old Orchard Beach, Bar Harbor, and many other communities have billed themselves as “the place to recreate” over the last nearly two centuries. Biddeford pool immediately popped into my mind as I was reflecting upon Maine’s history this morning, and so I pulled a few things out of the many resources available to share with you here.

Moses F. Sweetser writes about Biddeford Pool in his 1889 “Here and There in New England and Canada;”

Biddeford Pool, down near the mouth of the river, was in former days one of the pet resorts of the Maine seaboard, visited every returning summer by hundreds of city families. But a few years ago the chief hotels were burned down, and the remaining house (the SeaView) and cottages hardly suffice to accommodate their would-be patrons. For the place has great natural beauties and advantages, which should be more fully and freely developed. The Pool itself is a shallow salt-water lagoon two miles long, filled high by the returning tides, and affording capital opportunities for safe boating, while to the eastward is a long sandy beach, rolled hard by the surf, and to the north, beyond the famous Wood-Island Light, the eye rests contented on the curving lines of Old-Orchard Beach and the dim seaward projection of Prout’s Neck. On one side of the narrow outlet of the Pool rises the grim little Fort Hill, where the colonists erected their stronghold of Fort Mary, in 1708, after the truculent Indians had captured their stone fort up near the falls. For many years, from the early provincial times, the Pool was as beneficent as Siloam or Bethesda in the belief of the Maine farmers, who had a fancy that whoever bathed therein on the 26th day of June would be healed of all diseases. This is indeed the festival of Sts. Vigilius, Maxentius, and Anthelm, but what connection these Latin worthies may have had with the coast of Maine is not clear.

A steamboat runs from Biddeford to Biddeford Pool twice daily, and crosses also to Camp Ellis, the terminus of the Old-Orchard-Beach Railroad, where connection is made for Old-Orchard Beach.

Fortune’s Rocks and Goose Rocks, with their small hotels and clusters of cottages, are reached by stages from Biddeford; and their bold and rugged coast-scenery, and opportunities for fishing and gunning, attract many visitors. Fortune’s Rocks is a series of iron-bound promontories projecting into the sea from the lower end of the magnificent beach running north to Biddeford Pool; and has cottagers from Boston, New York, Washington, and other cities, with lakes rich in water-lilies, and comfortable old farms on the landward side. The rocks afford a wonderful marine garden, where star-fish, sea-anemones, sea-urchins, and other strange creatures dwell, with seals sunning themselves on the outer ledges.

Most people today look upon Biddeford Pool as a place where the elite live with their high dollar beachfront homes, but this really isn’t the case in relation to the history of Maine. Early on, the area had been a farming and fishing community, with no pretense towards being a tourist haven. Life in those days was hard, with most people just barely scraping by in the harsh wilderness of Maine. In the 1700s several rounds of war and depredation between the English settlers and the aboriginal populations created a need for garrison houses and forts to be constructed for protection. At one time the area was actually evacuated due to the Indian wars for a time.

But time progressed, and as the Biddeford/Saco area slowly grew into a viable and long lasting community, agriculture receded and industry took over as the power of the Saco Falls and other locations of water power caused manufacturing businesses to flourish. Sawmills, and gristmills grew and other facilities such as carding mills and various other manufactory’s were established, creating in turn a new source of income to the citizens of these communities.

During the early 1800s the value of the fresh and invigorating coastal air created an opportunity for businesses serving the tourism trade to flourish, and several hotels and boarding houses were erected to accommodate those travelers seeking refuge from the sweltering heat and pollution of the now growing industrialized cities of the interior. The Yates House and the Highland house, both shown here as woodcut reprints from “The Shores of Casco Bay” [J.S. Locke, 1880] became the big names in the trade, and accommodated several hundred guests at a time between the two.

The proximity of the sandy beaches of Old Orchard and Pine Point, a short carriage ride away, added to the lure of the Biddeford Pool location. It must have been a wonderful experience to visit the area in Maine’s bygone days, but unfortunately, a series of fires destroyed most of the larger hotels and boarding houses over time, and none of them were rebuilt, once gone. As the train and trolley systems came into being, it made other communities more attractive in their newness and lower costs, and Biddeford Pool succumbed to the cycle of growth and change that afflicts all communities.

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Norway’s Luther Farrar House Destroyed by Fire

Here is another batch of headlines for your history reading pleasure. As always, if you have something to share that is Maine history related please email it to editor@touringmaineshistory.com. If it’s an event, make sure you get it to me in plenty of time to share.

Loss of historic house a ‘tragedy’ for downtown
The destruction by fire of one of the oldest houses on Main Street has left another hole in one of the state’s most complete downtown National Historic Districts. “For Norway Downtown whose rehabilitation efforts hinge on significant historic buildings, this is a tragedy…

New barn for the Searsmont Historical Society A dedication ceremony for the new Searsmont Historical Society Barn will be held Saturday, May 28, and will feature a ribbon cutting ceremony, pig roast and barn dance.— Some small towns are…

Next Maine Event: Bug Light a breezy beacon for kite connoisseurs South Portland Historical Society board members will be manning the barbecue, grilling hot dogs and hamburgers. Chips and soda will also be available for purchase. KID-FRIENDLY FACTOR: What kid…

City seafaring family in spotlight Shipbuilding in Biddeford and Saco reached its height in the mid-1800s, when two or three ships per year were being built in shipyards on both sides of the Saco River, according to the archives at the Maine Historical Society. …

Despite $97,000 grant, Addison church may be lost
Despite having just received a $97,000 restoration grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the historic Church on The Hill in Addison may still be lost soon. Since 1798, a church has always stood on the top of the hill. The first, a community meetinghouse, was blown…

Acadian Festival, Cyr Family Reunion moving to August
The 34th Acadian Festival and the annual family reunion held at the same time in Madawaska are being moved from late June to Aug. 11-15 this year to coincide with International Acadian Day on Aug. 15. This year’s gathering is the Cyr Family Reunion, celebrating ancestors and descendants of one…

Early Declaration of Independence document winds up its 50-state tour in Bangor
A precious piece of America’s history — an original Dunlap broadside of the Declaration of Independence printed on July 4, 1776 — has visited each of the 50 states and on Saturday made Maine its last stop on its decade-long tour. Only 26 copies of the original…

Mill museum has support
Lisa Flynn worked at WestPoint Home until the end. “I never thought we’d shut down,” she said Saturday, seated around a table in the vast North Dam mill with several former co-workers, reminiscing…

Life at sea, revisited
A new exhibit at the Saco Museum explores 19th century maritime history through the life of sea captain Tristram Jordan and his family. The exhibit, Voyages and the Great Age of Sail, opens Friday with a free reception at 5:30 p.m. and runs through Sept. 4. The exhibit is a culmination of a history class of the same name at University of New England, which is team taught by UNE History Professor Elizabeth De Wolfe and Camille Smalley, program and education manager for the Saco Museum…

From the Maine Historical Society;


Online Exhibit: High Water

While many Mainers are thrilled that spring has finally arrived, others who live or work along the state’s swollen rivers watch rising water levels cautiously. This exhibit revisits historic floods and the impact they have had on local people and communities. Read more.

Thursday, May 19, 7:00 pm

The Annual Olmsted Lecture

The Longfellow Gardens: The Evolution of Two Landmarks

Speaker: Lauren Meier, Pressley Associates, Cambridge, MA

Join us to learn about the rich history and recent rehabilitation of the Longfellow Garden at MHS and the garden at the Longfellow National Historic Site in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Meier, a landscape architect with a specialty in historic preservation, contributed to the rehabilitation of both gardens. This event is held in partnership with the Longfellow Garden Club. Details.

Saturday, June 4, 9 am – 12:30 pm

MHS Annual Meeting: Looking (Back) at Television

Join us to conduct the official business of MHS! The annual meeting includes awards, the welcoming of new Trustees, and a talk by Fred Thompson, former head of the Maine Broadcasting System (1983-98), on the early days of television in Maine. MHS membership and event registration required. Details.

Saturday, June 4, 1 – 3:30 pm

The Dave Astor Reunion Show

Featuring Dave Astor with Tony Boffa, Steve Romanoff, and Fred Thompson

Join us to remember and celebrate one of Maine’s best-loved homegrown television shows, The Dave Astor Show (For Teenagers Only). Location: Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress Street, Portland. Details.

Categories: Acadian history, articles, breaking news, events, headlines, historic buildings, historic preservation, historical societies, history, lighthouses, Maine, Maine Historical Society, Maine things to do, museum news, Revolutionary War, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joshua Chamberlin’s Civil War Letters Online

Here are a few more headlines from around the state of Maine’s newspapers. If you have any headlines you’d like to share, please forward them to me at editor@remembermemedia.com, and please enclose a link to the article as well as the contents first couple of lines. Thanks for your help!

Not your Run of the Mill lumberman: George Gustin going strong at 78

WALES — From a padded seat in a tiny wooden and Plexiglas enclosure, George W. Gustin pressed buttons and pushed and pulled two fat gray joysticks, controlling the position and passage of a thick oak log. After mechanical dogs rolled and adjusted the log, vertical and horizontal saws trimmed it neatly into uniform 12-foot-long planks….

Dover-Foxcroft club caters to train buffs

There’s a new train on the tracks in Piscataquis County, and locomotive engineers are needed. more

America’s First Mile dedicated in Fort Kent

As of Sunday afternoon, C.R. Joy had the boasting rights and distinction of being the first visitor to Fort Kent photographed in front of the new granite sign marking the start of U.S. Route 1. In addition to marking the start of the 2,000-mile highway ending in Key West, Fla., the large white, gray and black granite stone debuted the town’s new slogan, “America’s First Mile.” more

Maine archive puts Civil War-era letters online

AUGUSTA, Maine — In 1862, Joshua Chamberlain, a 34-year-old language professor at Bowdoin College, wrote to Maine’s governor saying he wanted to serve in the war between the North and the South, … more

Reuse of mill celebrated

BIDDEFORD — More than 150 years ago, in 1845, Laconia Mill 1 was built. It was one of the first buildings to house Biddeford’s burgeoning textile industry. Eventually, the city’s mill district grew to an estimated 1.5 million square feet, and thousands of people were employed by the mills….

Developer seeks OK to demolish historic house

FREEPORT — Discussion of a proposal by a New York City-based company that owns several retail buildings in downtown Freeport — to demolish one of the last remaining historic Mallett houses on Depot Street to reconfigure a parking lot — was among the agenda items the Municipal Facilities Committee was scheduled to consider at a meeting this morning at the town hall….

Pictures from ‘The Forgotten War’

BRUNSWICK — For almost 60 years, Robert Galloupe has saved the 35mm negatives and yellowing snapshots he took while serving in the Army during the Korean War….

Christmas will be upon us soon, and what better gift is there for Christmas than a Maine history book. Salt and Pines, volume 1 is available at the low price of $20.00 plus shipping, but you need to order it quickly to have it by Christmas time! Simply click onto the Title link and you’ll be taken to a secured ordering site….

Salt & PinesSalt & Pines

Available as print: $20.00 or available as a download: $10.00

Salt & Pines: tales from bygone Maine is an anthology of stories and poetry about living in Maine’s bygone days. From the Islands of Casco Bay to the backwoods of Maine you’ll find tales to bring memories of your own to mind. Join us as we share Maine’s bygone days with;Allen Sockabasin, Ann Allen Brahms, D.L. Soucy, Dave Sargent, Doris Doggett, Jeanne Mason, Linda Aaskov, Luthera Dawson, Patricia Smith Ranzoni, Philip Candelmo, Philip Turner, Rene Cloukey, Roberta Gomez Ricker, Roy Fairfield, Ruth Richardson Maloney, Terrell Crouch, Thomas Carper, Tim Sample, Tom Fallon, Trudy Chambers Price, Salt & Pines, a taste of the ocean, the sound of the wind in the Maine forests….a combination you cannot find in any other state.

 

From the historical societies and museums…

Maine Historical Society;

Stories from Maine Memory Network

Online Exhibit:
Gifts from Gluskabe: Maine Indian Artforms

Gluskabe, a hero of the Wabanaki people, created the Indians and taught them to make what they needed while using the land and resources wisely. This online exhibit, featuring items from the collections of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine, demonstrates how the artistry used to create objects was deeply connected to the natural world.  View the online exhibit.

Thursday, November 18, 7:00 PM 

Book Event: The Killing of Crazy Horse
Speaker: Thomas Powers, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist 

Join us for a special evening that will be recorded for C-SPAN 2’s Book TV.

MHS is fortunate to host acclaimed journalist Thomas Powers who will discuss his new book. Crazy Horse was perhaps the greatest Indian warrior of the 19th century, and his victory over General Custer at the battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 shocked the country. The details surrounding Crazy Horse’s death in federal custody the next year were the subject of great dispute and have remained controversial for more than a century. With the Great Sioux War as background, and drawing on many new documents, Powers will recount the final months and days of Crazy Horse’s life. Watch for Powers on WCSH’s 207 on Wednesday, 11/17. More…

New Exhibit Opens in Lecture Hall Gallery

Wednesday, November 17
The Art of December: Original Holiday Cards by Maine Artists from the Mildred Burrage Collection
 
This selection of holiday cards demonstrates the wide range of artists who called Maine home–such as Dahlov Ipcar, Stell and William Shevis, and Waldo Peirce— and exemplifies the personal connections of Mildred Burrage, whose love for the holidays is seen throughout her collection.

Join us December 3rd for the First Friday Art Walk and exhibit opening reception.

 

 

Penobscot Marine Museum;

 

Thanks for a Great 2010

Maine’s sardine industry was the subject
of our successful history conference.
 

75th Anniversary Exhibits Preview 

 
 

An exciting schedule of events is taking shape to celebrate Penobscot Marine Museum’s 75th anniversary in 2011. Among the highlights will be two major exhibits:

The Art of the Boat will honor George Wasson, author of Sailing Days on the Penobscot and one of the founding spirits of Penobscot Marine Museum.
  •  “75/75!” – 75 Favorites from PMM’s First 75 Years.
    The curator’s pick of the best, most historic, and most fascinating items in our collection. Located throughout the museum and on the web.
  • The Art of the Boat. A juried art show that explores the boat as art and the boatbuilder as artist. Artist submissions are invited. More information.

 

After of strong year of increased visitor traffic, Penobscot Marine Museum has battened down its exhibits for the season. Exhibits will re-open Friday, May 27, 2011 (Memorial Day weekend).

During our last open weekend, attendees of our 2010 history conference were treated to an evening and a full day of live and recorded media presentations, documentation and discussion about how Maine’s once-thriving sardine industry simply disappeared – a topic whose ramifications provide food for thought concerning employment and competitiveness on national and global levels. Speaking of food, the conference’s luncheon, the Great Sardine Cook-off, was a pescivore’s delight.

Of course we’re not going into hibernation just because the exhibits are closed. A number of presentations are scheduled through the rest of the fall, winter and spring, and we’re busy planning activities and exhibits for 2011. In addition to the items listed below, stay up to date by checking the website.

Historic Photo Exhibits and Talks

From the Atlantic Fisherman Collection

PMM’s photographic archives department has scheduled several exhibits and talks. All events are free. (Contact the venue to confirm dates and times.)

  • Historic Photos of Machias and Environs. Slide talk by photo archivist Kevin Johnson. At 28 Center St., Machias. November 18, 6:00p.m. Sponsored by Machias Historical Society.
  • Selections from the Atlantic Fisherman Collection. Exhibit at Maine Grind, 192 Main Street, Ellsworth. Now through April 30, 2011.
  • Waldo County Through Eastern’s Eye. Exhibit from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing collection. At the Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Ave., Belfast. January 2 through April 30, 2011.
  • Main Streets of Waldo County (presentation). Slide talk by Earle Shettleworth, Jr., Maine State Historian and Director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. At Belfast Free Library, 106 High St., Belfast. November 30, 7:00 p.m.
  • Main Streets of Waldo County (exhibit). At Belfast Free Library, 106 High St., Belfast. Now through December 30.
  • Historic Photos of Winterport and Environs. Slide talk by photo archivist Kevin Johnson. At Victoria Grant Civic Center, 40 Abbott Park, Winterport. December 13, 7:00 p.m. Sponsored by Winterport Historical Society. For more information: 207-223-4035.
Morrill, Maine (Eastern Illustrating & Publishing collection)

 

See you next time on Touring Maines History!

Categories: antiques, Art Exhibit, articles, Books, breaking news, civil war, collectibles, events, headlines, historic buildings, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine, Maine Historical Society, Maine oddities, Maine things to do, museum news, Penobscot Marine Museum, preservation, restoration, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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