Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Orrs Island

Orrs Island Bridge from Great Island in Harpswell at Sunset (2003)

Orrs Island Bridge from Great Island at Sunset (2003)

One of Harpswell’s major islands, it is accessible on Route 24 (Harpswell Islands Road) by the Orrs Island Bridge just south of the intersection with Mountain Road. Bailey Island is just south of Orrs across the historic Cribstone Bridge.

The Orrs Island Bridge has been the historic home of a small number of lobster fishing families whose docks, floats and gear have been a staple on the west side of the bridge for years.  Because of the danger from traffic on the small plot of land, the leases are slowly being retired as the fishermen retire.

Lobster Gear on the Orrs Island  Bridge (2014)

Lobster Gear on the Orrs Island Bridge (2014)

Wharf and Float on Orrs Island Bridge (2014)

Wharf and Float on Orrs Island Bridge (2014)

Uphill from the bridge looms the Devil’s Back portion of the island. Parking for a scenic hiking trail is at the crest of the hill.  The 1.2-mile loop is relatively easy and offers a woodland with views of Harpswell Sound and Gun Point Cove.

Devil's Back Trail Loop Signs (2011)

Devil’s Back Trail Loop Signs (2011)

Long Cove from Devil's Back Trail (2011)

Long Cove from Devil’s Back Trail (2011)

Near the Trail's End (2011)

Near the Trail’s End on Devil’s Back (2011)

The island hosts one of the the town’s two local libraries. Another short walk with a view is at Houghton Graves Park near the library. Bowdoin College’s Coastal Studies Center provides research opportunities for students and faculty, along with a scenic walking path along the shore.

The Research Laboratory at the Center (2010)

The Research Laboratory at the Center (2010)

Kiosk and Trail Map at the Center (2010)

Kiosk and Trail Map at the Center (2010)

Among the many early buildings are the island’s former (1938-1989) “Fire Barn” and the small 1900 Episcopal All Saints Chapel.

Orrs Island Fire Barn 1938-1989 (2014)

Orrs Island Fire Barn 1938-1989 (2014) @

All Saints Episcopal Chapel (2014)

All Saints Episcopal Chapel (2014) @

Several community building occupy the center of the island: The Orrs-Bailey volunteer fire department, the old Orrs Island Schoolhouse, now a community center, and the 1855 Orrs Island Meeting House.

Old Orrs Island Schoolhouse (2014)

Old Orrs Island Schoolhouse (2014) @

Old Orrs Island Schoolhouse Interior (2014)

Old Orrs Island Schoolhouse Interior (2014)

Orrs Bailey Island Fire Department (2014)

Orrs Bailey Island Fire Department (2014) @

1855 Orrs Island Meetinghouse (2014)

1855 Orrs Island Meetinghouse (2014) @

1855 Orrs Island Meetinghouse  Interior (2014)

1855 Orrs Island Meetinghouse Interior (2014)

Cemetery at Orrs Island Meeting House (2014)

Cemetery at Orrs Island Meeting House (2014)

Orrs-Bailey Yacht Club on Orrs Island, with Lobster Boat (2014)

Orrs-Bailey Yacht Club on Orrs Island, with Lobster Boat (2014)

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This entry was last modified: November 03, 2014 05:05 AM

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