Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Beals Island

Location Map for Beals and Great Wass Islands

Location Map for Beals and Great Wass Islands

Sign: Welcome to Beals Island (2004)

Welcome to Beals Island (2004)

Year Population
1970 663
1980 695
1990 667
2000 618
2010 508
Geographic Data
N. Latitude 44:31:11
W. Latitude 67:36:56
Maine House District 138
Maine Senate District 6
Congress District 2
Area sq. mi. (total) 47.5
Area sq. mi. (land) 5.7
Population/sq.mi. (land) 89.1
County: Washington

Total=land+water; Land=land only
Beals Population Chart 1830, 1930-2010

Population Trend 1930-2010

[BEELZ] is a town in Washington County, located primarily on Beals and Great Wass Islands, along with more than a dozen smaller islands. It was incorporated on April 7, 1925 from a portion of Jonesport, from which it is accessible by the Jonesport-Beals Bridge.[See related Jonesport video.]

Cove on Great Wass Island with Fishing Vessels in Mooseabec Reach (2004)

Cove on Great Wass Island with Fishing Vessels in Moosabec Reach (2004)

Beals Fishing Vessels in Moosabec Reach (2004)

Beals Fishing Vessels in Moosabec Reach (2004)

Traditionally a fishing and lobstering community, the town, through Jonesport-Beals High School, has been an exporter of successful basketball teams, frequently making the state tournaments.

Homes, Boats on Beals (2004)

Homes, Boats on Beals (2004)

Weir in a Cove on Beals Island (2004)

Weir in a Cove on Beals (2004)

According to a story recounted by Horace P. Beck and repeated Jim Brunelle (see references below) and others, “Long Barney Beal,” was a legendary figure who lived during the Revolutionary War and inspired the naming of Barney’s Point.  Actually, according to the Beals Historical Society, the Revolutionary War hero was Manwarren Beal, Jr. who came to the area in 1775.  “Long Barney” or “Tall Barney” was Barnabas Coffin Beal, III born on the island in 1835. Both had their legendary feats. One claim is that Tall Barney, after a bit too much drink in Portland,  took out his temper by hitting a horse in the head with his fist, killing the beast.

After holding a fairly stable population since 1970, Beals suffered a significant declines in the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census, as did many towns in Washington County.

Beals Harbor (2004)

Beals Harbor (2004)

The Great Wass Archipelago nature preserve, in Beals and Jonesport, is managed by The Nature Conservancy. The fifteen islands (Great Wass, Crumple, Mistake, The Man Islands, Little Hardwood, Black, Mark, Seguin, Head Harbor, Devil, Marsh, Little Peabody and Big Peabody) are on the edge of the Gulf of Maine off the Jonesport peninsula.

The islands have many topographical similarities though each has its own character. They are all usually cool, wet and windy. Great Wass at 1,579 acres is by far the largest and features a cool spruce forest, a wetland with sundews, and two beaches. The carnivorous sundew plant, botanical name Drosera, has about 130 species. All of the species of the sundew plant are beautiful and many look like fireworks, but they are deadly to the insects that fly near to them.


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Form of Government: Town Meeting-Select Board.

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Additional resources

American History Department of Jonesport-Beals High School. A Pictorial History of the Town of Beals, Maine. Jonesport, Me. Jonesport and Beals High School. 1975.

“About The Carnivorous Sundew.” http://www.carnivorous–plants.com.

Beck, Horace P. The Folklore of Maine. Lippincott. New York. 1957. pp. 160-161.

Brunelle, Jim. Maine Almanac. pp. 81-82.

Peabody, Velton. Tall Barney: Giant of Beals Island. Williamsville, N. Y. Periwinkle Press. 1975.

Trussell, Ann. Jonesport and Beals. Charleston, S.C. Arcadia, c1999.





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This entry was last modified: May 05, 2017 09:23 PM

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