Maine: An Encyclopedia

Kineo, Mount

Map of Kineo Location on Moosehead Lake (1922)

Map of Kineo Location on Moosehead Lake (1922)

From the 1922 USGS 15 Minute Series, Moosehead Lake, ME Quadrangle, Northwest Corner, from the University of New Hampshire Dimond Library online, accessed 7/24/2004, at

The Kineo Cottage Row Historic District is a collection of seven wood-framed cottages built in conjunction with the Kineo Resort complex between 1901 and 1912. They were designed in the Queen Anne and Shingle Style to accommodate a single family over the course of a summer. Thought the resort no longer exists, the cottages are a tangible link to the era of grand hotels and summer-long sojourns in the country.

Kineo Cliff (2011)

Kineo Cliff (2011)

in Kineo Township, a peninsular on Moosehead Lake, is neatly bisected by the world’s largest mass of rhyolite. Mt. Kineo rises 763 feet above the level of the lake to a height of 1,958 feet above sea level. On the east side, it is a sheer cliff, overhanging Kineo Bay. A peninsula jutting out into Moosehead, Kineo was first discovered around 11,000 years ago by Paleo-Indians. and has a rich Indian history.

Private ownership came in 1840 when the state sold Kineo to John Bradbury for $350. Construction began in 1844 when a tavern opened in a rough lumber building.

The Mount Kineo House was built in 1848 with a bowling alley added sometime around 1855. In 1868, a fire destroyed the house but it was rebuilt and opened in 1871. A wing was added along with a winter cottage, but it all burned to the ground in 1882.

The new hotel was opened on July 29, 1884 with a bowling alley, library, golf course, tennis courts, baseball diamond, lawns for croquet, and horseback riding available to the guests.

The rooms were heated by steam, hot and cold running water, lighted by both gas and electricity, and two elevators serviced all five floors. In 1900, 80 rooms were added, there were golf rooms, card rooms, parlors, a playroom for children, a music room, a drawing room, and a library. Two concerts were given daily for the house orchestra. The dining room was able to seat 400.

In 1911, the dining room was enlarged and an annex was added to be used year round. By 1914, the hotel and annex had 431 employees.

Moosehead Lake from Mount Kineo (2011)

Moosehead Lake from Mount Kineo (2011)

Blue Ridge and Misery Ridge, with Moosehead Motel in Rockwood

Blue Ridge and Misery Ridge, with Moosehead Motel in Rockwood. photo from N 45° 41′ 0.9 W 69° 42′ 59.7

Kineo was the vacation resort for the rich and influential people of the time. The service was extraordinary for all guests, although many families brought their own butler and maid since they planned on staying for the entire summer. New menus were printed daily featuring treats such as Penobscot River Salmon and water from Kineo Spring. Small steamers or guides with canoes were available to bring guests on excursions around Moosehead.

Kineo was sold in 1938 when demolition began on the hotel, but fire destroyed the remains of the building. The resort was closed until 1950 when the restored annex and cottages were reopened to the public, but he hotel permanently closed in 1970.

Observation Platform on the Tower on Mount Kineo (2011)

Observation Platform on Mount Kineo (2011)

U.S. Geological Survey marker at the peak of Mount Kineo

U.S. Geological Survey marker at the peak of Mount Kineo N 45° 41′ 59.4 W 69° 44′ 1.4

Today Mount Kineo still has opportunities for hikers, with several hiking trails leading up the mountain to the 60 foot fire tower, with a panoramic view of Moosehead Lake and the surrounding mountains. It is home to peregrine falcons and a variety of rare plants. The 800-acre surrounding property is on Moosehead Lake and is managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. The Land for Maine’s Future was involved in the acquisition of the property by the state in 1990, but does not have any management responsibility.

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Historic Kineo Properties (2015)

Historic Kineo Properties (2015)

The Breakwater

The Breakwater (2001)

The Breakwater (2001)

[Southern tip of Kineo Island] The Breakwater at Mount Kineo is a two-and-one-half story, hip roofed clubhouse for the Moosehead Lake Yacht Club on the southernmost tip of the Kineo peninsula on the edge of Moosehead Lake. Set against the backdrop of the 763 foot high Mount Kineo, the south facing clubhouse stares down twenty miles of water toward the town of Greenville; the east and west shores are about a mile apart. Behind the clubhouse is a small golf course, a dock, and several service structures. The seven Cottage Row buildings hug the western shore of the peninsula, while the eastern shore bends around the small Kineo cove. Slightly to the north of the house is a stone breakwater, jutting east into the cove to provide shelter for the docks. Observing the quiet and dramatic landscape from its abundant porches, the Breakwater is a structure that has witnessed the hey-day and fall of one of Maine’s great summer resorts, the Mount Kineo House.* [Christi A. Mitchell photo]

Kineo Cottage Row Historic District

Kineo Cottage Row, partial (1988)

Kineo Cottage Row, partial (1988)

[west side of Kineo peninsula in Moosehead Lake] Cottage Row at Kineo is a series of seven wooden frame cottages built on the west shore of the Kineo peninsula between 1900 and 1912 in conjunction with the former Mt. Kineo resort complex. The once famous and massive wooden hotel and its auxiliary buildings, which thrived from the 1880s through the 1930s, has been all but eliminated from its prominent point on Moosehead Lake. The cottages were built by the Kineo Company for their summer guests. These structures, in their original location and configuration, are reminders of the grandeur of the Mt. Kineo resort, even as they continue to be used as summer cottages with an unsurpassed location.* [Kirk F. Mohney photo]

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Additional resources

Durward J. Ferland, Jr. KINEO: Splendor and Silence. Greenville, Me. Moosehead Communications. c1996.

*Maine. Historic Preservation Commission. National Register source files have changed! 2016 UPDATE: Follow the link above to find sources for these properties using their eight digit “Reference Number.

Breakwater, The: 02000349
Cottage Row: 03001408

“National Register Nominations.” Maine Preservation. Spring 2004. p. 10.

Parker, Everett L. Kineo: Moosehead Sentinel from Native Americans to Hotel Grandeur. Greenville, Me. Moosehead Communications. c2004.

Willoughby, Charles Clark, 1857-1943. “Prehistoric Workshops at Mt. Kineo, Maine.” American Naturalist. 1901.

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This entry was last modified: September 20, 2017 06:09 PM

2 Responses to Kineo, Mount

  1. James Vogel says:

    The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, for whom I work, has management responsibility for the 800 acres of public lands at Kineo. Land for Maine’s Future was involved in the acquisition of the property by the state in 1990, but does not have any management responsibility, nor does The Nature Conservancy.

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