[DICKS ISLAND] is located three miles off shore from the town of South Thomaston in the Muscle Ridge Islands group of about fifteen islands and a fair number of ledges and reefs. Dix Island Harbor lies to the southeast of the island among ledges and several other islands. For most boaters, the north shore with a small beach is the preferred anchorage.
As Bill Caldwell observed in 1981,
. . . on Dix and [nearby] High Islands, you can still see huge machinery, rusted hawsers, giant wharves and cellar holes of the hotels [the Aberdeen and the Shamrock] and boarding houses where another one thousand quarrymen lived and labored a hundred years ago. The islands are silent and empty now; but the ghosts are still there. [p. 183]
According to the United States Geological Survey, “Starting in the 1850’s, granite quarried at Dix Island, Maine, was shipped by sea to Washington and was used for facings and columns in the Treasury Building.” The New York and Philadelphia post offices were also built with granite from the island.
Twenty five years after Caldwell’s visit, the signs are less visible and Dix is not empty, but home to a few summer residents. The owners welcome guests, but ask for respect of the space by staying on the paths: no fires or camping. Hiking the paths is easy and rewarding for the scenery, flowers, birds and remnants of its early history.
It is also a destination for boaters, sometimes in groups, who anchor in the relatively protected space between Dix and High islands. In August of 2007 a yacht club arranged for its members to visit the area.
Bill Caldwell, Islands of Maine.
United States Geological Survey. http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/stones/stones4.html