Maritime Communities

First Congregational Church, Searsport: Exterior

First Congregational Church, Searsport, Maine, built in 1834. It is Greek Revival in style. The Congregational Society in Searsport gathered on October 4, 1815 with sixteen members including a minister. The Society erected the first of its two buildings, the Harbor Church, in 1819 at Searsport Harbor, about one mile east of the present village. As the center of the community life moved into the village, the Society abandoned its church and built on Townhouse Hill, the present site, in 1833. A bell cast at the Revere Foundry in Massachusetts was installed in the church's steeple.

Eastern Steamship Company Brochure

The Eastern Steamship Company's Bangor division 1903 brochure includes the schedule, fares, vessel layout, and a route map for the two steamships that sailed from Boston to Bangor, by way of Rockland, Camden, Belfast, Searsport, Winterport, and other Penobscot Bay and River ports on the way to and from Bangor. This was the summer schedule valid from May 4 to October 31, and it included stops in Northport from June 22 to September 5. With two boats, the City of Bangor and the City of Rockland, the company could provide daily service.

Inside Parlor

Inside parlor of a Searsport house, possibly that of the photographer, Frederick R. Sweetser. It shows some of the decorative styles of the late 19th century and the types of items brought back home from far-away ports.

Interior View, Searsport home

Interior view of a Searsport home, showing furnishings collected in the Far East.

Outing Brand Sardine Can

The sardine industry was very important in Maine, along with the businesses of making sardine cans and canning sardines. By 1910, there were more than thirty sardine canning businesses in Maine, and each had at least one "line" of sardines, some sardines being cut up into steaks, whole herring, or other snacks.

Saw Mill, Belfast East Side

There must have been hundreds of waterpowered saw mills in Maine. It does not take much water to run one. Here Belfast photographer, undertaker, and chronicler of his town, Charles R. Coombs, caught this small mill on the Goose River in Belfast, just off Swan Lake Avenue. It was then run by Dan Robertson.

Harvesting Hay

Hay was a very important export from Belfast. In 1887, Belfast shipped out 11,000 tons of hay, much of it coming from interior sections of Waldo County. Hay was just about as important then as oil is today, as it provided the "fuel" for horses in big cities like Boston and New York before there were automobiles and trucks.

Here a two horse team pulls a hay wagon on which two men stack the hay tossed up by two others with pitchforks, somewhere in Waldo County.

Watson Account Book

Shubael Watson created this account book for his store in Arundel, Maine in the 1740s, then brought it with him to Naskeag, now Brooklin, in 1763, shortly after the French left that part of Maine after the loss of the French and Indian War.

The account book shows the sorts of items bought and sold in that period. Molasses, rum, pork, meal (flour), and nails were some items listed for a John Staples in his account for 12 March 1770. This also includes expenses for a trip to Salem.

Penobscot Bay, 18th Century Towns

This map shows English settlements in the Penobscot Bay area around the time of the American Revolution. Base map provided through the Maine State GIS web page.

Eastern New England, c. 1640

Map of eastern New England, showing English and French settlements up to 1640.

From book, The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier by Colin Woodard, published by Viking in 2004. Map drawn by Jojo Gragasin. Map used by permission of the author.


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