Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Rockport

Location Map for Rockport

Location Map for Rockport

Year Population
1970 2,067
1980 2,749
1990 2,854
2000 3,209
2010 3,330
Geographic Data
N. Latitude 44:10:10
W. Latitude 69:05:36
Maine House District 94
Maine Senate District 12
Congress District 1
Area sq. mi. (total) 34.1
Area sq. mi. (land) 21.7
Population/sq.mi (land)153.5
County: Knox

Total=land+water; Land=land only
Rockport Population Chart 1900-2010

Population Trend 1900-2010

Rockport Harbor (2001)

Rockport Harbor (2001)

[ROCK-port] is a town in Knox County, originally a part of Camden until those two split on February 25, 1891 and the name Rockport was adopted. Later that same year, and again in 1893, it annexed land from Camden.

Vulcan Steam Locomotive

Vulcan Steam Locomotive, in Rockport Harbor, worked on a narrow gauge system.

Lime production was once a major industry and in 1817 three hundred casks of lime were shipped to Washington for use in building the Capitol, recently damaged by the British in the War of 1812. The steam engine pictured here, was one of many narrow gauge haulers of lime.

Rockport Opera House (2005)

Rockport Opera House, near the Harbor (2005)

Downtown Rockport Near the Harbor (2005)

Downtown Rockport (2005)

Since 1889, the Samoset Hotel, now a resort, has been a prime coastal destination, renowned for spectacular and expansive views of Penobscot Bay, distant islands and the Camden Hills rising to the east. It adjoins Rockland Harbor and its breakwater.

1853 West Rockport Baptist Church (2014)

1853 West Rockport Baptist Church on Park St. (2014) @

Penobscot View Grange (2013)

Penobscot View Grange (’13)@

The Penobscot View Grange Hall is just north of Rockland on U.S. Route 1, which is Commercial Street in Rockport.

Sign: "Cramer Park Picnic Area" (2010)

Cramer Park Entrance (2010)

Stream in Cramer Park (2010)

Stream in Cramer Park (2010)

Just behind the harbor sits the Cramer Park Picnic Area, with a pleasant short trail along a small stream.

The main village lies further north and boasts its own, attractive harbor near Camden. The harbor was once the home of “Andre the seal,” a local attraction and mascot of the community and summer visitors

Away from the harbor on Route 17, the Georges River Land Trust sponsors a hiking path, a portion of which leads to the summit of Ragged Mountain overlooking Mirror Lake.  An alternative route leads to Spruce Mountain.

Sign: "Georges Highland Path, Route 17 Access" (2007)

Georges Highland Path (2007)

Ragged Mountain (2007)

Ragged Mountain (2007)

Simonton Corner Limestone Quarry Preserve (2013)

Simonton Corner Limestone Quarry Preserve (2013) @

The Simonton Corner Quarry is an eleven acre abandoned, water filled, limestone quarry with dangerous cliffs managed by The Nature Conservancy as a nature preserve. It is on the east side of Main Street near the Camden town line.

Form of Government: Town Meeting-Select Board-Manager.

Additional resources

Camden-Rockport Bicentennial, 1769-1969. Camden, Me. Camden Herald Publishing Company. c1969.

Carlson, Shirlee Connors. Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville, 1776-1976: The Life and Times of its People. Camden, Me.? Town Crier. 1975.

Dietz, Lew. Camden Hills; an Informal History of the Camden-Rockport Region. Camden, Me. Printed for The Smiling Cow by The Camden Herald Press. c1947.

*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

Beechnut Hut Historic District: 03000617.PDF
Indian Island Light Station: 87002539.PDF
Megunticook Golf Club: 93000636.PDF
Rockport Historic District: 76000099.PDF
Rockport Historic Kiln Area: 70000090.PDF
Spite House: 74000175.PDF
Timberwind: 92000274.PDF

Maine Public Broadcasting. Home on Penobscot chronicles Rockport during World War [sound recording]. Bangor, Me. Maine Public Broadcasting. 1993?.

Parker, Elizabeth C. A Natural History of Camden and Rockport. Camden, Me. Camden-Rockport Historical Society. c1984.

Robinson, Reuel. History of Camden and Rockport, Maine. Camden, Me. Camden Publishing Company. c1907.

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Beechnut Hut Historic District

Rockport Beechnut Stone Hut (2003)

Beechnut Stone Hut (2003)

[316 Beech Hill Road] The Beechnut Hut Historic District, on Beech Hill is a local landmark. On a gentle bald hill a mile inland from Rockport Harbor, the stone Beechnut Hut with a sod roof can be seen from many of the town’s country roads, and appears to cap the town when seen from the coast. Although the property has been in private ownership, there is a long tradition of use by local residents, for picnics and hikes up the hill, as a place to relax, or for some, to wed. In 1991 this landmark was chosen as one of three to be incorporated into the Rockport town seal.

The hut’s rustic simplicity, the sod roof covered with wildflowers and the views from the path and from the verandah are striking. It was built by Norwegian landscape architect Hans Heistad between 1913 and 1915 for the John Gribbel family. In 1903 they had purchased an estate at Beauchamp Point as their summer home. Beauchamp Point was a new summer colony consisting of cottages, roads and a golf club surrounding an historic farm on a peninsula in Rockport Harbor.* [Christi A. Mitchell photo]

Indian Island Light Station

Indian Island Light Station (2002)

Indian Island Light Station (2002)

[Indian Island, Rockport Harbor] When it was built in 1850 the Indian Island Light Station was the principal aid to navigation at Rockport Harbor. The sheltered and deep harbor was a principal reason for the community’s development. Known in the first half of the nineteenth century for its ship building, Rockport was later the center of an important lime industry along with ice harvesting and shipping.

The light shined originally from a lantern mounted on the present brick dwelling. Around 1860 the light was deactivated. An effort to reestablish the light resulted rebuilding the complex, which was put back in service in 1875. The station served for nearly sixty years until it was sold in 1932.*

Mequnticook Golf Club

[212 Calderwood Lane] The Megunticook Golf Club on Beauchamp Point is among the oldest surviving private golf clubs in Maine. Organized in 1899 and incorporated in 1901, the club’s golf course and club house opened for the 1902 summer season. The club house was designed by Boston architect Charles Brigham.

Golf was introduced to Camden in 1898 when a group of summer residents had a six-hole course on Ogier’s Hill in Camden. However, they quickly became unhappy with the conditions of the site and unfavorable terms of use. Summer resident Charles W. Henry of Philadelphia transferred a portion of his recently acquired property on Beauchamp Point for the development of a club. Located principally on the site of what had been the Calderwood Farm, the Calderwood Improvement Association was established to hold the property.

Megunticook Golf Clubhouse (2015)

Megunticook Golf Clubhouse (2015)

Megunticook Golf Clubhouse (2015)

Megunticook Golf Clubhouse (2015)

The Club was the direct result of the influence and interests of the Camden/Rockport summer colony, an enclave whose greatest period of growth coincides with the construction of the course. Camden’s first summer boarders are believed to have arrived in the 1850s, but the first cottage was not erected until 1871. A veritable boom followed with the construction of dozens of “cottages,” in the 1890s and 1900s.*

Rockport Historic District

[irregular pattern along Pascal Avenue from Russell, Union, and Winter Streets on north side to School Street on south side] The District includes Rockport Harbor Village (“Downtown Rockport 2005” photo above) and other historic buildings, such as the Rockport Baptist Church building, no longer used as a church.)

sign" "Rockport Harbor" with photo and details (2010)

sign” “Rockport Harbor” with photo and details (2010)

Downtown Rockport overlooking the Harbor (2010)

Downtown Rockport overlooking the Harbor (2010)

1854 Rockport Baptist Church (2007)

1854 Rockport Baptist Church (2007)

First discovered by George Weymouth in 1605, the Camden area, of which Rockport was a part, was not permanently settled until the early 1770s. In 1791 Camden was incorporated as a town. That part now known as Rockport was originally called Goose Creek but was renamed in 1852. In 1891, after a long and acrimonious debate, Rockport was set off as a separate town.

Rockport Harbor and surrounding buildings (2007)

Harbor and surrounding buildings (2007)

Rockport Harbor partially icebound (2007)

Rockport Harbor partially icebound (2007)

By then, because of its excellent though small harbor, it had become an important seafaring community where shipbuilding thrived as did the manufacture of related products. A considerable ice shipping trade and, most importantly, the manufacture and shipping of lime were key industries.

After 1900 most of Rockport’s enterprises began to decline as Rockland with its much larger harbor became the commercial center. Fortunately its extremely beautiful location and surroundings began to attract an increasing number of summer residents and tourists. Its harbor became a popular yachting center. Rockport also became an important summer music center through the efforts of Mrs. Efrem Zimbalist, Mme Lea Luboshutz, and her brother and his wife the famed duo-pianists, Luboshutz and Nemenoff, and the Walter Wolfs and their sons Thomas and Andrew who initiated the Bay Chamber Concerts. The Rockport Opera House (photo above) is within the Historic District.*

Rockport Historic Kiln Area

19th Century lime kilns in Rockport (2007)

19th Century lime kilns in Rockport (2007)

[on west side of mouth of Goose River at confluence with Rockport Harbor] Accurate construction dates cannot be assigned to any of the kilns. Groups of company owned kilns, no longer identifiable or even surviving, were on the site at the head of Rockport Harbor.

A fish processing plant once operated here. Two kilns are in good condition, one of which has a smoke stack still attached. They been maintained and restored. Three of the remaining five are in fair condition. The Lime Burning Industry has seen many innovations and technical pioneered on this site. The first kilns were constructed from field stone and were lined with fire brick. They were fired with kiln wood, then coal and coal gas. Coal led to the development of iron kilns, now gone for scrap. Fires have devastated this industrial site on several occasions. The last occurred in July of 1907, spelling the end of lime burning here.*

Spite House

[Deadman’s Point] Thomas McCobb of Phippsburg went to sea not long after his father’s death. Upon returning from a long voyage he found the family homestead now willed to his new brother-in-law and his heirs. McCobb vowed to build the most beautiful house in Maine and one that would dwarf the one he had lost. The house was promptly dubbed “The Spite House.” He flaunted the elegance of this house literally in the face of the McCobb Hill House, both in Phippsburg.

The Spite House (2015)

The Spite House (2015)

The Spite House (2015)

The Spite House (2015)

When Thomas McCobb died, Spite House was left to the McCobb family. It was purchased in 1925 by Donald Dodge of Philadelphia. The house was moved by barge 85 miles from Phippsburg to Rockport. Also on the barge was the dismantled 1796 Stover House from South Harpswell. This house was to be used in the construction of the wings that were added to the Spite House on its present site.* [Maine State Parks & Recreation photo; the family requests photographers ask permission before filming.]

Tillson Farm Barn

[Warrenton Road southeast of junction with Commercial Street, Glen Cove] An agricultural building of unusual architectural merit, the Tillson Farm Barn is a large wooden frame structure in Glen Cove, a village in Rockport near Rockland. It was built about 1880 for Rockland resident Davis Tillson (1830-1895), a civil engineer and former Adjutant General of the Maine State Militia. The Tillson Farm Barn stands apart from its contemporaries. The handsome construction of its board-and-batten doors and cupolas, the eared window surrounds, and the highly ornamental gable trusses represent a level of detailing rarely found.

Rockport Tillson Barn (1989)

Tillson Barn (1989)

Rockport Tillson Barn (1989)

Tillson Barn (1989)

This extends to the finish and arrangement of the interior, including the attached stable. Its cavernous space is divided into a series of storage bins with slat dividers along the west side. Narrow tongue and groove sheathing covers the walls and ceiling of the shed which was used as a stable.* [Kirk F. Mohney photo]

TIMBERWIND

Rockport Timberwind (1990)

Timberwind (1990)

[(Schooner), Rockport Harbor; later in Belfast] Built in 1931 as the Portland Pilot, it was and renamed Timberwind in 1971 after its conversion to a passenger cruise schooner. Designed by and built for use by the Portland Pilot’s Association, it was built by the Portland Engineering Company.It is the only known historic vessel of her type in Maine and one of only a handful in the country. Despite alterations made in her conversion to the Timberwind, the vessel preserves the significant hull from which it was designed specifically for its original use.

The Portland Pilot’s Association was formed around 1900 as an alternative to the unorganized system of individual, competing harbor pilots. The design of the Portland Pilot was based on both an earlier association vessel and a local fishing schooner. The white oak used in its frames and a portion of the planking was obtained from one of the pilot’s farms on Ossipee Mountain in Waterboro. Portland Pilot was christened on October 3, 1931 and served in its original capacity until 1969. During World War II it was commandeered by the Coast Guard to patrol Portland harbor and its approaches. Upon her retirement she was sailed to Rockport to begin her conversion, completed in 1971. Although modifications were made to the rig, mast height, below decks compartments, and a bowsprit installed, the vessel’s hull is unchanged and it retains a high degree of historic fabric including frames, planking and decking.* (Schooners are mobile and may not be in the port where it was nominated to the National Register.)

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