Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Entries listed under "islands"

Androscoggin River from Gilead to West Bethel

Androscoggin River in Gilead (2013)

This relatively brief canoe trip makes about five of its six miles through the town of Gilead.  Infrequent Class I rapids are involved; shallows where the river divides around several small islands require one’s attention. Launching is near Bridge Road … Continue reading

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Atlantic Puffin

Puffin near Machias Seal Island (2011)

This sea bird with a colorful bill lives year round near the coast of Washington and eastern Hancock counties. The largest concentration of puffins is at Machias Seal Island, off shore from Cutler in Washington County. The island is claimed … Continue reading

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Bailey Island

Map of Maine Showing the Location of Harpswell, including Bailey Island. Green areas are unorganized territories.

[BAY-lee iland] is in the town of Harpswell on Casco Bay. For over two centuries of European settlement, Bailey Island was unconnected from the mainland. Though proposed as early as 1872, a bridge was not built until the twentieth century. … Continue reading

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Bangs Island

East Shore of Bangs Island (2015)

On Casco Bay in the town of Chebeague Island, narrow Bangs Island is just short of a mile long. It is owned by the Maine Department of Conservation and was managed by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in … Continue reading

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Campobello Island

Campobello Island with its lighthouse, May, 1973, U.S. EPA photo National Archives # NWDNS-412-DA-7873

[cam-poo-BEL-loo] is an island in Canada, joined by a causeway to Lubec in Washington County. Acquired by  FDR’s father James Roosevelt in 1883, the house was ready for the family in 1885.  It became the summer retreat of Franklin D. … Continue reading

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Cape Elizabeth

Location Map for Cape Elizabeth

in Cumberland County, first settled by Europeans in the 1630’s, incorporated in 1765. The clipper ship Snow Squall was built here in 1851. A wealthy suburb of Portland, it has a scenic coastline; attractions include lighthouses at Two Lights State Park, Crescent Beach State Park, Fort Williams, and Portland Head Light. See photos. Continue reading

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Casco Bay

Schooner Near Halfway Rock (2001)

contains about 200 islands (depending on what one counts as an “island”) and is bounded by Cape Elizabeth in the south and Cape Small in the north. Halfway Rock is about half way between the two capes which are about … Continue reading

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Chebeague Island

Location Map of Chebeague Island

[shuh-BEEG-iland] is a town in Cumberland County, incorporated on July 1, 2007 after separating from the mainland town of Cumberland. In doing so, it joined its neighbor Long Island as another new town in Casco Bay. The 2000 census recorded … Continue reading

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Cranberry Isles

Location Map for Cranberry Isles

in Hancock County, incorporated 1830, requires ferries or water taxis to access. The 200 acre cranberry marsh on Great Cranberry Island influenced Governor Bernard in 1762 to name the town as it is. Little Cranberry hosts the Islesford Historical Museum; The Baker Island and Bear Island light stations provide navigation assistance near Acadia National Park. See map. Continue reading

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Cumberland

Location Map for Cumberland

in Cumberland County, incorporated 1822, includes two islands in Casco Bay: Sturdivant and Basket. Basket Island, is a nature preserve of .9 acres of mixed forest and shell and gravel beaches. The town, a suburb of Portland, grew by almost 23 percent between 1990 and 2000, and continues its population growth. See photos. Continue reading

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Curtis Island

Curtis Light Station (undated)

[KUR-tis ISLAND], known for many years as Negro Island, is located in Camden Harbor in Knox County. Established in 1835, a light at the station was first lit in 1896 and was automated in 1972. White with a black “lantern” … Continue reading

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Damariscove Island

Map Showing the location of Damariscove Island. Green areas are unorganized territories.

Just south of Booth Bay, the island was one of the earliest places along the Maine coast inhabited by Europeans. Even before the Pilgrim’s Mayflower arrived, fishermen from England, France, Spain and Holland caught and dried cod, which was shipped … Continue reading

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Deer Isle

Location Map for Deer Isle

John Steinbeck on Deer Isle: “There is something about it that opens no door to words.” Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge links the island to the mainland. See photos. The town, in Hancock County and incorporated 1789, includes nature preserves and 77 coastal islands. .
Continue reading

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Dix Island

Location of Dix Island

[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 … Continue reading

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Ferries

Steve Longley "Ferryman" (2007)

Inland Ferries One atypical ferry operates on the Kennebec River at Caratunk, where Appalachian Trail hikers are provided sake passage across. Crossing rivers was important to commerce and transportation even in the early decades of the 20th century. Some were … Continue reading

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Frenchboro

Location Map for Frenchboro and Long Island

Settled in the early 1800s, the island had a population of 19 in 1820, when fishing and some logging sustained the community. Other than for a period of pulpwood harvesting, few roads were constructed outside Lunt Harbor. See amateur film, video and photos. While many Maine islands struggle to maintain a critical mass of population, Frenchboro experienced a substantial reversal of three decades of decline when the 2010 U.S. Census confirmed sixty-one people as resident. Continue reading

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Geology

Popham Beach

in Maine is heavily influenced by collisions with the Earth’s plates and by the impact of glaciers. BEDROCK GEOLOGY The geologic history recorded in Maine’s bedrock covers close to 1.5 billion years – approximately one-third of the total age of … Continue reading

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Georges Islands

Map Location of the Georges Islands

The Georges Islands are about four miles south southwest of Port Clyde. They include Allen, Benner, Davis, Burnt and Little Burnt islands. According to The Maine Island Trail 2000 Stewardship Handbook and Guide (p. 125), “In the 1800’s, fishing and … Continue reading

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Georgetown

Location Map for Georgetown

Settled in the early 1600s, it shares its early history with nearby Phippsburg and Arrowsic. See photos. It is home to Reid State Park and to the summer residence of sculptor William and artist Marguerite Zorach. Their daughter, artist Dahlov Ipcar, has also been a resident. The Josephine Newman Sanctuary and the Ledgewood nature preserve are here. Continue reading

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Goslings, The

The Goslings Aerial View (2011)

Two Islands These two small islands, in the town of Harpswell, are in Middle Bay, a major inlet off Casco Bay. A popular destination for boaters, they lie just off the southern tip of Lower Goose Island. Each has campsites … Continue reading

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Greenbush

Helen S. Dunn School (2012)

Located on the east bank of the Penobscot River, Greenbush includes several islands, the largest of which, Olamon, abuts Olamon Stream as it empties into the river. Olamon, the name of a village near the island, means “red paint.” The Indians traveled up the stream to retrieve the red ochre they used as paint for decorating their bodies. Greenbush village is on the River and U.S. Route 2. A smaller village, Cardville, is in the middle of the township on the Cardville Road. Continue reading

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Harpswell

Location Map for Harpswell

Historically a collection of small villages, some on islands, the closest to a town center is the town office and the recycling center on the Mountain Road. See photos. Its population doubles in summer as seasonal residents return. Several easy hiking trails and nature preserves are at hand. A historic park is at Harpswell Center. Continue reading

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Haskell Island

Great Harbor Cove on Haskell Island (2010)

Haskell is an island in the town of Harpswell, not accessible by land. It lies at the edge of Casco Bay on the south end of Merriconeag Sound. A summer home to seasonal residents, the island retains many features of … Continue reading

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Hope Island

Hope Island East Shore South End (2015)

This mile-long, 89-acre island is near the southwest shore of Great Chebeague Island. It has been a part of the City of Portland, the Town of Cumberland, and the Town of Chebeague. In 1935 Hope Island, then part of the … Continue reading

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Islands

  Maine has thousands of islands. Many have had an interesting history in the discovery of Maine by Europeans, to granite quarrying, sheep raising, tourism, and summer cottages. Here is a tour of some of the more substantial islands, from … Continue reading

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Isle au Haut

Location Map of Isle-au-Haut

Samuel de Champlain apparently named it in 1604 from the French for “high island.” About half the island is incorporated into Acadia National Park. Isle au Haut is both a lobstering community and a retreat for seasonal cottage owners. It has also been home to author-fisherman Linda Greenlaw. Continue reading

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Islesboro

Location Map for Deer Isle

is the marker for dividing East Penobscot Bay from West Penobscot Bay. It includes North and South Islesboro connected by a narrow segment of land, See chart and photo. Seven Hundred Acre Island, Job Island. The 129 acres of forested Warren Island hosts a state park with a dock and moorings. Grindel Point Light Station in Gilkey Harbor on Islesboro was established in 1850. Continue reading

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Long Island

Location Map for Long Island

is a town in Cumberland County incorporated in 1992, the first new town in Maine since 1925, from an island in Casco Bay once a part of Portland. See map. It has several beaches, harbors, a fresh water marsh, and a 125 acre conservation area. In addition to the post office, there is one year-round store, and a store and a gift shop open seasonally. A “guest house” is also open all year. The village is at the southwestern end with the town office, community center, library, and a K-5 school. Continue reading

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Malaga Island

Malaga Island off Phippsburg (USGS map 1894)

One of the more shameful episodes in Maine history is the treatment of the black residents of Malaga Island, in the New Meadows River just off Phippsburg. Benjamin Darling, a freed slave, bought the nearby Horse Island in 1794. His … Continue reading

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Manana Island

Location of Manana and Monhegan

[like BANANA] is part of Monhegan Plantation, just across Monhegan Harbor. It has no major buildings, except for the Fog Signal. The long ramp that runs from the harbor to the Fog Station is the “road” for supplies and fuel. … Continue reading

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Matinicus Island and Criehaven Island

Location of Matinicus and Ragged Islands

[muh-TIN-ih-kuss] is an island plantation, organized on October 22, 1840, in Knox County in the Gulf of Maine 20 miles south of Rockland from which it is accessible by ferry. Its name, says Lawrence Bond, means “far off island,” from … Continue reading

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Merrymeeting Bay

Location Map for Merrymeeting Bay

Merrymeeting Bay is a broad expanse of water at the confluence of the Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers, and four smaller rivers: the Eastern (from Dresden), the Abagadasset, the Cathance (both from Bowdoinham), and the Muddy (from Topsham). In the mid-twentieth … Continue reading

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Monhegan Island

Location of Manana and Monhegan

Attractive to artists since the late 19th century, its first draw was fish. See video and photos. After early European explorers passed by (Cabot in 1497, Weymouth and Champlain in 1605), the abundance of fish soon became apparent. Botanists have identified over six hundred varieties of wildflowers on the island. Monhegan Light was commissioned on July 2, 1824. Continue reading

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Mount Desert

Location Map for Mount Desert

The town is located on Mount Desert Island, between Bar Harbor and Tremont. See map and photos. Several granite quarries were located in the town. In 1902 the Quarrymen’s Protective Union was organized. Continue reading

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Mount Desert Island

Location Map for Mount Desert Island

[mount dez-ERT] is an island in Hancock County, containing the towns of Mount Desert, Bar Harbor, Tremont, and Southwest Harbor. Though only 400 years have passed since Europeans first viewed it, the island has been visited by native people for … Continue reading

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North Haven

Location of North Haven Island

Located in Penobscot Bay, it is accessible via the State Ferry Service from Rockland, with connections to Vinalhaven. See video and photos. Fishing was the major industry on the island for many years, with a brief venture into canning. Boat building emerged as a major economic activity producing both fishing vessels and yachts for summer people. Long a resort community, it has few permanent residents. The “Turner Farm Site,” on the National Register, is a treasure of artifacts from Maine pre-history. Calderwood Island nature preserve is here. Continue reading

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Orrs Island

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

Inhabited since 1762, the island has many historic structures, such as the 1855 Meetinghouse and 1900 Chapel, that have survived the test of time. Part of the town of Harpswell, it is home to the Coastal Studies Center of Bowdoin College, on the shore of Harpswell Sound near Casco Bay. Several wooded walking trails offer ocean views. Continue reading

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Ospreys

Osprey Overlooking Harpswell Sound (2012)

The Osprey, or “fish hawk,” is a powerful large bird with a wingspan sometimes reaching six feet. Its threatening physical size and sharp talons contrast with its almost ridiculously timid “cheep, cheep” chirping voice. It can be found across the … Continue reading

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Peaks Island

Approaching the Island (2014)

The Island is a City of Portland neighborhood in Casco Bay, accessible by ferry from the terminal on Portland’s waterfront.  The brief trip carries freight, vehicles, bicycles and tourists. While the population is about 900, the number of people on … Continue reading

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Peary, Josephine Diebitsch

Josephine D. Peary

(1863-1955), Arctic explorer and writer, was born in Washington D.C. and raised in a wealthy environment as the oldest of four children. After graduating from high school, she attended a business college and worked as a clerk at the Smithsonian … Continue reading

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Peary, Robert E.

The Peary House on Eagle Island (2002)

(1856-1920), who summered on Eagle Island, received a degree in civil engineering from Bowdoin College in 1877, was a noted Arctic explorer who became famous as the discoverer of the North Pole, though many experts believe that the claim has … Continue reading

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Seguin Island

Seguin Island Light Station (2000)

Some uncertainty exists about the meaning of the famous island’s name of “Seguin” or “Satquin” according to Eckstorm. One explanation is that “From the east it does resemble a tortoise, whence evidently its name from the Indian, che-quen-ocks, called Siguenoc.” … Continue reading

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Southport Island

Map of Maine Showing the location of Southport. Green areas are unorganized territories.

Located between Sheepscot Bay and Booth Bay, it is connected by a swing bridge to the town of Boothbay Harbor, and the casual visitor might not assume the town with two lighthouses was on an island. See photos. At the height of the summer, traffic is often backed up at the bridge as boats pass. Townsend Gut is the narrow waterway that separates the two towns. It is a shortcut from Boothbay Harbor to the Sheepscot River. The general store in West Southport village has been an institution for over a century. Continue reading

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St. George

Location Map for St. George

In a park near the town office, St. George and the dragon reenact their famous battle. See photos. The Fort St. George’s memorial is nearby.St. George was the site of granite quarries and was the birthplace of the Granite Cutters Union in 1877, the first in the state’s history. The town may be better known by some by its villages of Port Clyde, at the southern tip of its long peninsular, and Tenants Harbor. Continue reading

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Swan’s Island

Location Map for Swan

in Hancock County is southeast of Mount Desert Island, accessible by ferry from Bass Harbor in Tremont. See amateur film clip. Beaches and picnic areas may be found at the villages of Minturn and Atlantic, in addition to Swan’s Island village. Continue reading

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Verona Island

Location Map for Verona

is located on an island in the Penobscot River between the towns of Prospect and Bucksport. The Island is bounded by the Main and the Eastern Channels of the Penobscot. The Eastern is supplemented with the outlet of the Orland River. The old Waldo-Hancock Suspension Bridge provided the link from the Town of Prospect as U.S. Route 1 and Maine Route 3 pass through the town to Bucksport, then “Downeast” to Bar Harbor and Calais. The bridge was replaced by the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge in 2007. Continue reading

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Vinalhaven Island

Location Map of Vinalhaven

The island town is home to two nature preserves, both managed by the Nature Conservancy. See photos. Granite quarrying was an important industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries, both on the main island and on nearby Hurricane Island, which is in the town of Vinalhaven. Now a community of summer residents and Maine residents, it is accessible by the State Ferry Service, which provides transportation, for passengers and vehicles, to and from Rockland. Continue reading

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