Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Northeast Harbor

is a community in Hancock County within the town of Mount Desert. Its namesake harbor sits at the northeast side of the entrance to Somes Sound, which splits the island of Mount Desert. Routes 3 and 198 serve the village, passing Upper Hadlock Pond in Acadia National Park.  The pond had been a source of recreational and commercial use of its ice.  This 1927 amateur film from the archives of Northeast Historic Film recalls both.

The harbor is well protected and attracts a capacity number of yachts owned by summer residents and visiting sailors. It is the home port for the coastal island ministry of the Sunbeam, a vessel that has been a common sight in these waters for decades.

The Sunbeam at its Berth (2001)

The Sunbeam at its Berth (2001)

Long an attraction for wealthy folks, sailing was, and still is, an active feature of the Harbor. See this clip from Northeast Historic Film.

Some of the finest houses on the island, with ample surroundings, are in Northeast Harbor, most owned by summer residents. The early wealthy “summer people,” (Rockefellers, Morgans, Fords, Vanderbilts, Carnegies, and Astors) referred to their splendid estates as “cottages.” Now, though still not inexpensive, many more “cottages” have sprung up throughout the Island.

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Additional resources

Maine. Historic Preservation Commission. Augusta, Me.   Text and photos from National Register of Historic Places: http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/nrhp/text/xxxxxxxx.PDF and http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/nrhp/photos/xxxxxxxx.PDF

Gilman Summer Home: 66000093.PDF

Northeast Harbor (2001)

Northeast Harbor (2001)

Seaside Cottage in Northeast Harbor (2001)

Seaside Cottage in Northeast Harbor (2001)

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Bear Island Light Station, Bear Island, Acadia National Park, Northeast Harbor

Gilman, Daniel Coit, Summer Home, National Historic Landmark, off Huntington Road

Gilman Summer House (1974)

Gilman Summer House (1974)

“Over Edge,” a 3-story, shingled house was for more than 20 years, until his death in 1908, the summer residence of Daniel Coit Gilman, who made graduate-level education a recognized responsibility of American universities. As president of Johns Hopkins from its founding in 1875 until 1902, he set a national precedent in emphasizing post-graduate study, stimulating the rapid growth of similar programs at other universities. (photo uncredited)

Still a summer residence, “Over Edge” is in excellent condition and, with the exception of minor interior alterations, remains essentially as built on a high bluff above the western waterfront of Northeast Harbor.

St. Mary’s-By-The-Sea, 20 South Shore Road Northeast Harbor

Union Church of Northeast Harbor, 21 Summit Road

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