Saturday, September 30, 2017

HCTPR - Acadia National Park’s Newest Memorial
Acadia NP’s 100th anniversary as a national park occurred in 2016. As one of many centennial celebrations, a memorial plaque was placed on Cadillac Mountain to honor the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations. The HCTPR was the organization that stitched together various properties that ultimately formed the park in 1916. The memorial is near the northwest corner of the Blue Hill Overlook parking lot.*1
HCTPR memorial

                                                                                                    Jim Linnane photo
At Blue Hill Overlook parking lot
Its bronze plaque reads:
In 1901, forward-thinking citizens on Mount Desert Island formed the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations to acquire lands for free public use. Empowered by the Maine Legislature in 1903 to own lands of “scenic beauty, historical significance, scientific study or “sanitary value,” the Trustees acquired nearly 5,000 acres. In 1916, they donated their holdings to the United States, forming the core of what became Acadia National Park. The Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations continue to hold and maintain the Woodlawn estate, the Black House, as a public museum in Ellsworth. This plaque, dedicated on September 6, 2016 during the Park’s Centennial, honors the Trustees’ foresight and vision that made Acadia National Park possible.

Here is a video of the dedication ceremony:

It is interesting to note that it was not until 1908 that the Trustees acquired their initial holdings. The first was the crest of Barr Hill near Seal Harbor from George B. Cooksey. The second was the Bee Hive mountain property from Eliza Lee Homans. The third, from the trustees of the will of Linda Dows Cooksey, was the Sea Cliffs parcel near Seal Harbor that contained the Champlain Monument.*2

Prior to the HCTPR memorial, the last memorial installed in Acadia NP was in 2008 in honor of Ruth and Tris Colket. That plaque is just off the path on the east side of Jordan Pond. *3

1 HCTPR memorial coordinates: N44 21.01595 W068 13.81764
2 Bar Harbor Record, September 9, 1908, p.4.
3 Colket memorial coordinates: N44 19.73453 W068 15.07649 For more information see my blog article at
Note: I thank Jim Linnane, a friend and fellow hiker, for the HCTPR memorial photograph and GPS coordinates. It wasn’t a nice day atop Cadillac!

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Saint in Bar Harbor
Among the visitors to Bar Harbor, ME during summers surrounding 1900 was Katharine Drexel. Based on her considerable inheritance, she would have accommodated well with the wealthy summer set there. She was unique, however, in that she didn’t take part in it. Her direction in life was diametrically opposite.

St. Katharine Drexel
(relic and prayer card)
Katharine was born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1858, one of three daughters of wealthy banker Francis Drexel. Her mother, Hannah, died within five weeks of her birth. Having travelled out west with her family as a young girl, she was touched by the deplorable conditions of Native and African Americans. Following this emotion and her desire to serve God, she entered the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy in 1887. She received her final vows in 1891 and established the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored and applied her love, motivation and inheritance to the fulfilment of the religious order’s mission. She died in 1955 at the age of 96. At the time of her death, her order’s accomplishments were monumental. They had started 50 missions for Native Americans in 16 states, opened 63 schools and founded Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic university in the U.S. for African Americans.
Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament motherhouse

S.B.S. convent
Her association with Bar Harbor was tied to her sister Louise and brother-in-law Edward Morrell, who in 1897 had bought a 30-acre summer home named Thirlstane. They were generous contributors to the 1907 construction of Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church on Mount Desert Street. In 1913, at the request of Katharine, they donated land and a house on Ledgelawn Avenue for a convent close to Holy Redeemer. The convent became home to S.B.S. nuns and to Katherine when she visited.*1 They also donated money for Holy Redeemer’s first grammar school, a wooden building located on Ledgelawn Avenue, and its brick replacement, St. Edward’s School, built in 1914 behind the convent. There is a memorial plaque to Edward Morrell on a large granite boulder in front of the Jackson Laboratory off Route 3 on the south side of Bar Harbor.*2
St. Edward's School

Katherine Drexel’s body lies enshrined at the S.B.S. motherhouse in Bensalem, PA. For the good she brought to the poor and for the curative miracles attributed to her, she was beatified in 1988 and canonized a saint in the Catholic Church in 2000. Her feast day is celebrated on March 3.
St. Katharine Drexel crypt


1. The former convent is now the site of the Bar Harbor Historical Society and the school is an apartment building.
2. Morrell memorial GPS coordinates: N44° 21.823'  W068° 11.957'

Saturday, January 28, 2017

John D. Rockefeller, Jr’s Memorial
At an August 27, 2016 ceremony, during year-long centennial celebrations, the National Park Service deputy director and the Acadia National Park superintendent presented a long-overdue replacement memorial plaque honoring John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to David Rockefeller, Sr. and family members.*1 The bronze plaque was funded by private donations.

The original plaque, located on a rock wall overlooking the ocean at Otter Cliff, had been vandalized some time by 1991.*2 The word American had been pounded out.

The plaque inscription reads:
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, JR. 1874 – 1960

These groves of spruce and fir, these granite ledges, this magnificent window on the sea, were given to the United States by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. He was among the first to sense the need to preserve America’s natural beauty and to set high standards of environmental quality. This quiet, dedicated conservationist gave generously of his time, wisdom and resources to help establish this park and others for the physical, cultural and spiritual benefit of the American people.

Library of Congress
JDR, Jr. (c.1915)
No other person is more responsible for the size and overwhelming popularity of Acadia National Park than John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The fifth smallest national park at 49,000 acres, with 31,000 acres at its main location on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, had an estimated 3.3 million visitors in 2016.
He donated $3,568,000 to the Park and related projects.*3 He gave it over 11,000 acres, helped finance and construct its 27-mile Park Loop Road and built a 53-mile network of carriage roads. Forty-five miles of those roads are in the Park today and include 17 unique stone bridges and 2 gatehouses. Locally, he gave Seal Harbor the land for its village green, after buying the old Glencove Hotel and having it torn down in 1919. In 1948 he gave 30 acres to the Jackson Memorial Laboratory in Bar Harbor after the widely devastating 1947 fire had destroyed the facility.

JDR, Jr., the only son of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (founder and president of Standard Oil Company) and Laura Spelman Rockefeller, was born in Cleveland, OH in 1874. He married Abby Greene Aldrich in 1901. They came to Mount Desert Island in 1908 and rented a Bar Harbor cottage called The Briars on the Shore Path off Wayman Lane. There Abby gave birth to their son, Nelson, later to be New York governor and U.S. vice president. JDR, Jr. had first come to the island in 1893 while a student at Brown University. In 1909 he and his family became summer residents of Seal Harbor and the next year purchased The Eyrie, a 150-acre estate.
He died of pneumonia in Tucson, AZ in 1960 and was buried in the Rockefeller Family Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY. In his will he left the U.S. Government an additional 1,500 acres on Mount Desert Island for “the extension or improvement of Acadia National Park.”

1 A special thanks goes to Earl Brechlin and the Mount Desert Islander newspaper for reporting this event.
2 Memorial GPS coordinates: N44° 18.482' W068° 11.345'

Monday, December 26, 2016

Atwater Kent - Inventor, Industrialist and Philanthropist
The previous blog post, “Memorial Maintenance,” mentioned the recently refurbished Atwater Kent memorial. It was installed in 1946 on the Schooner Head Path, south of downtown Bar Harbor, ME and just beyond High Seas, the former home of pathmaker and Princeton professor, Rudolph Brunnow.*1

Kent memorial - Champlain Mountain background
The inscription on the bronze plaque reads:


                                    Library of Congress
A. Atwater Kent

Arthur Atwater Kent (1873-1949), an entrepreneur, industrialist and philanthropist, was born in Burlington, VT.  He made his fortune by inventing the automatic ignition for automobiles and afterwards establishing the country’s biggest radio manufacturing business which, starting in 1923, produced the popular, eponymously named radio. He closed the Philadelphia-based business in 1936 and retired to Bel Air, CA.

In 1946 the Atwater Kent Foundation gave Acadia National Park 62 acres off Schooner Head Road. That same year, the Atwater Kent Properties Corporation sold 210 acres for $21,500 to the U.S. Government which was to be designated as the “Atwater Kent Field.” This property ran north-south from the High Seas estate to Schooner Head and east-west from the coast to Champlain Mountain.

While a summer resident of Bar Harbor, Kent owned the former Frederick Vanderbilt’s estate, Sonogee, and the Robert Abbe estate, Brookend, off Eden Street on the north and south sides of Duck Brook, respectively. Among his other holdings were Long Porcupine and The Hop, two islands off Bar Harbor in Frenchman Bay.

                                                     Find A Grave
Kent grave
Kent died in 1949 at his Bel Air home and was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in nearby Glendale. In his will, he left $1.3 million to charities and educational institutions.

1 GPS coordinates of the Kent memorial: N44° 21.083' W068° 10.995'

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Memorial Maintenance

“The National Park Service is the steward of many of America’s most important cultural resources. … The Service’s cultural resource management program involves … stewardship to ensure that cultural resources are preserved and protected, receive appropriate treatments (including maintenance) to achieve desired conditions, and are made available for public understanding and enjoyment.” So states Management Policies - The Guide to Managing the National Park System. *1

Acadia National Park management has been remiss in implementing this Federal mandate. For many years, perhaps ever since the park’s creation, its metal and granite memorials were not cared for. An outstanding example is the Beatrix Farrand-designed Kane-Bridgham granite memorial at Lake Wood, which is in shameful condition.

But ANP park management is apparently now paying attention. In 2011 a contract curator instructed the park’s trails foreman, his deputy and two Friends of Acadia volunteer crew leaders how to restore metal plaques. The test memorial was the Morris and Maria Jesup bronze plaque at the end of the Jesup Memorial Path near the north end of the Tarn. In 2013 the park restored the Lilian Francklyn bronze memorial plaque on the Gorge Path. So far in 2016 it has restored the following six bronze memorial plaques: *2

Atwater Kent memorial on the Schooner Head Path
Satterlee memorial at the top of the steps to Sand Beach
Alessandro Fabbri memorial outside the Fabbri picnic area near Otter Point
Sarah Cushing memorial at Jordan Pond south end
Joseph Allen memorial at Jordan Pond northeast end
Samuel Sargeant memorial on Sargeant Drive

After years of neglect the park’s memorials, at least the metal ones, appear to be on track for the care and respect they deserve. We extend our gratitude to the employees doing this delicate work. Hopefully this current policy will continue, thus addressing the long-overdue maintenance of most of the remaining 17 metal memorial plaques.


1 This directive can be viewed at See especially Section 9.6 – Commemorative Works and Plaques.
2 GPS coordinates:
Allen memorial: N44° 20.141' W068° 15.228'
Cushing memorial: N44° 19.365' W068° 15.241'
Fabbri memorial: N44° 18.851' W068° 11.760'
Francklyn memorial: N44° 21.904' W068° 13.254'
Jesup memorial: N44° 21.512' W068° 12.425'
Kent memorial: N44° 21.083' W068° 10.995'
Sargeant memorial: N44° 19.425' W068° 18.299'
Satterlee memorial: N44° 19.765' W068° 11.028'

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Pleasant Perambulation

Over a mile long, about a half mile wide and nearly enclosed by mountains, Jordan Pond is 150' deep, abundant with lake trout and salmon and reputed to be the clearest lake in Maine. It makes for a beautiful, but moderately strenuous, 3.2-mile loop walk from the Jordan Pond House. Along the way are three memorials, all easily reached on the east side of the lake.

The first memorial is near the water's edge at the lake's south end, just 900 feet down the path from the Jordan Pond House. It is a stone bench. The inscription there reads:


Born in Boston, she married Edward Tuckerman (1817-1886), a professor of botany at Amherst College and an expert on lichens. Tuckerman’s Ravine in NH's White Mountains is named for him. Both were friends of poet Emily Dickinson. Sarah and Edward are buried in Wildwood Cemetery in Amherst, MA. Her slate tablet there states she was “A helpful and uplifting influence in the family, community, college and church” and that she was “Rich in good works.”
Sarah Cushing

The second memorial, tucked in the woods on a boulder off the right side of the path two-thirds of a mile further north, is to Ruth Marie and Tristram Coffin Colket, Jr. The inscription reads:


Philanthropists, they donated $5 million to Acadia Trails Forever, a joint project of Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor-based Friends of Acadia to restore and maintain the park’s historic trail system. Tristram is a grandson of Dr. John T. Dorrance, the chemist who in 1897 invented the process for condensing soup (later becoming the Campbell Soup Company). Ruth is a board member of the Maine Sea Coast Mission, a non-denominational Christian charity on West Street in Bar Harbor. In 1973 the Colkets donated their 1902-built, 35-room brick mansion, La Rochelle, to the mission for use as its headquarters.*1

The third memorial is to Joseph Allen and is located a half mile beyond the Colket memorial on a lakeside boulder at the northeast end of Jordan Pond near the South Bubble Trail. The inscription states:


He was born in New Bedford, MA in 1870. After graduating from Harvard, he married Annie Ware Winsor. They lived in New York City and then settled in White Plains, NY, where he ran for mayor. He was an associate professor of mathematics at NYC's City College for 43 years until his retirement in 1940. They summered at Grayrock, a Seal Harbor cottage.*2
Joseph Allen
All three memorials are easy to reach on the path's level eastside that is interrupted occasionally by drainage culverts. The path's west side requires negotiating some large rocks and balancing on an elevated and narrow boardwalk. Either way, the Jordan Pond Path is a pleasant walk.

1 A second Colket memorial, a Louis Comfort Tiffany stained-glass window, is inside St. Saviour’s Church in Bar Harbor. It is in memory of Ethel Dorrance Colket, John’s daughter and Tristram’s mother.

2 The chairman of a path committee was responsible to a village improvement society or association for the design, construction and maintenance of all the village's paths.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tragedy at Great Head
Near the east side of stunning Sand Beach rises Great Head, a massive granite prominence that abuts the Atlantic Ocean. At 144 feet in elevation it is the highest cliff on America's east coast, which makes it very attractive to hikers and rock climbers. Perhaps it was due to these rugged features that six young men, ages 19 and 20, from Wakefield, MA on a weekend camping trip to Acadia found themselves there one fateful Saturday in November, 1969.

Nineteen year old David McKinney and five friends were exploring a cave at Great Head, when a wave broke on the rocks and pulled him into the ocean. According to the Bar Harbor Times, a local newspaper, they were hiking around Great Head and had stopped to explore a cave near the water’s edge. After looking around the cave, they moved down to the rocks in front of the cave. McKinney was about 20 feet in front of the others. A large wave broke on the rocks soaking two of the young men while McKinney was pulled in by the current and disappeared. Heavy rain, excessive fog and 30-foot high sprays of surf rendered any rescue work impossible. His body was never recovered.

The cave

The McKinney memorial plaque is located about 100 feet off the Great Head Trail southwest of the Great Head summit and Satterlee teahouse ruins. It is affixed to the edge of a rock ledge above the spot where he was swept away.*1

Memorial site
The inscription reads:




MARCH 10, 1950 - NOVEMBER 8, 1969



Great Head

1 Memorial GPS coordinates: N44° 19.592'  W068° 10.612'

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Gurnee Path -- Built, Endowed and Abandoned

Above Route 3 in Bar Harbor, ME atop what is called The Bluffs lies an abandoned Acadia National Park trail. Named the Gurnee Path, it was financed by the Gurnee family. Construction of the trail began in 1925 and was completed the following year. It started just north of Duck Brook and nowadays Sonogee Rehabilitation & Living Center, crossed over The Bluffs and ended opposite Canoe Point.
Gurnee Path over The Bluffs
According to the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association's July 1926 report, "Mr. Peabody [Path Committee chairman] stated that the new Gurnee Path towards Hull’s Cove had during the winter been completed from a place opposite Mrs. Fabbri’s sidewalk, through the woods and over the cliffs as far as Canoe Point.”

The local newspaper that same year reported, "The Gurnee Path begun on August 31st last year was built as far as Canoe Point during the autumn. The views of the Bay and the Gouldsboro beyond are very beautiful and the path has proved very enjoyable to many people. The funds to continue this Path towards Hulls Cove for nearly a third of a mile have already been given and work will be started very soon."*1
View from Gurnee Path

In its August 1928 report the Bar Harbor VIA “Voted that the grateful thanks of the V.I.A. be and hereby is extended to Miss Bell Gurnee, Mrs. H.H. Thorndike, and Mrs. F.L.V. Hoppin for their generous gift of a one thousand dollar bond for the endowing of the Gurnee Path through the woods above the Bay Drive [Route 3] from opposite the Fabbri garage to near Hull’s Cove. It is understood that only the income shall be used each year to keep the path in repair, and that all unexpended income of any one year shall be carried over to the next year.”

A 1928 path guide depicted the trail, as follows: "The Gurnee Path (Bar Harbor) begins on the Bay Drive to Hulls Cove, a short distance northeast of Duck Brook, at sign, "The Gurnee Path". It extends above the road for about a mile. A broad graded path but not entirely level. Good views of Frenchman's Bay. Round trip about 40 minutes."*2

The Gurnee Path was destined for trouble, however, as a result of its end points being alongside Route 3. In a 1941 newspaper article conveying minutes of a Bar Harbor VIA meeting, the following appeared: "Miss Bell Gurnee brought to the attention of the Association the bad condition of the Gurnee path in that it was cluttered with branches and rocks, due to the construction of the new road, and was dangerous for anyone walking on it. A. FitzRoy Anderson spoke briefly of the fact that the National Park had jurisdiction over the paths and that it seemed that they should care for their upkeep."3

The Park abandoned the trail about 1960, when Route 3 was being widened, which eliminated the street-level access to it. In its August notes of that year the Bar Harbor VIA stated the following: “Mr. Cleaves [VIA president] reported that he had been approached by Acadia Park personnel regarding the Gurney [sic] Path and they pointed out that the new Bluff Road [Route 3] fairly well obliterated this path and the expense and process of rebuilding and relocating the path made it practically unfeasible. Mr. Cleaves has contacted the Gurney family who have consented to the diversion of the Gurney Path fund for similar purposes of maintenance and upkeep on the Shore Path.”

At the time of the path's construction, the head of the Gurnee family was Augustus Coe Gurnee. Born in Chicago, he was the son of Chicago mayor, Walter S. Gurnee, and a Harvard graduate (1878) and banker. In Bar Harbor he had constructed a 3-storey cottage called Beau Desert on 10 acres off Eden St. He had an estate in Nice, France, as well, which he shared with wounded soldiers during World War I.
Augustus Gurnee - 1921
He was among the original incorporators of the Bar Harbor VIA. He died in July 1926 at age 71 from heart failure while at the Hotel Stephanie in Baden-Baden, Germany and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, NY. In his will he gave $25,000 to the Bar Harbor Hospital to endow a bed to be known as the A. C. Gurnee Bed, $10,000 to the town of Bar Harbor for an educational trust to provide income to defray the college costs of a student with the highest standards in scholarship, $10,000 to the Bar Harbor YMCA, and $5,000 to the Bar Harbor VIA to maintain the How memorial on a triangular lot he deeded to the VIA in 1916. There is a memorial in the lobby of the Bar Harbor hospital that is in memory of individuals who gave and endowed free beds to the hospital. Augustus C. Gurnee is among them. The Mmes. Gurnee, Thorndike and Hoppin, who established the Gurnee Path endowment, were his nieces.

Gurnee Path
The Gurnee Path still exists and is in good condition, despite its entrances being totally
obfuscated. The best way to access it is from the north opposite the Bar Harbor Yacht Club. The pull-off there can hold three or four cars.*4  Enter the woods at the yellow-shielded telephone pole support cable and walk south a short distance while under the overhead wires. The obvious trail will appear. It gently rises and descends the crest of the precipitous Bluffs. Hike south about 0.6 mile until the trail disappears when you are nearly at street level and opposite the south end of a property's stockade fence on the other side of Route 3.
Wooden fence
While on the trail you'll notice two culverts, one open with no top and another that is capstoned and traversable. Also note the dilapidated wooden fence that protected hikers from falling on to Route 3 below. The beautiful "views of the Bay and the Gouldsboro beyond" barely exist any longer.
Culvert with capstone

As with hiking all abandoned trails in the Park, do so carefully.

Note: In addition to the various names mentioned above for Route 3 at The Bluffs, there was another imaginative one, at least between 1887 and 1928 -- the Corniche Road (or Drive). Here is an 1888 description of the road: "The new road is in itself of commanding beauty and interest, with an exquisite view of the bay, which has earned for it the title of the Corniche road, this being the name of a road traversing the narrow strip of coastland bordering the Gulf of Genoa from Nice to Spezzia and commanding a view of the most striking beauty and grandeur."*5

1 Bar Harbor Times, September 15, 1926, p.4.
2 Walks on Mount Desert Island Maine, by Harold Peabody and Charles H. Grandgent, 1928, p.79.
3 Bar Harbor Times, July 3, 1941, p.4.
4 North entrance/pull-off GPS coordinates: N44° 24.530'  W068° 14.478'
5 Bar Harbor Record, March 22, 1888, p.4.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Seal Harbor Shore Path

A century ago there were paths built to provide thrills for hikers of Mount Desert Island, ME. The Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park is notable and extant, but many others have been abandoned and left to decay. One of these, the Shore Path, was in Seal Harbor.
Shore Path c. 1910-12*

Same location today
The Shore Path first appeared on an 1896 path map, which showed it running between Sea Cliff Drive from just east of the Crows Nest to Hunters Beach, a distance of about a mile.*1  Sea Cliff Drive was built the previous year by Seal Harbor developer George Cooksey, an English immigrant to New York City and a successful grain broker. The road, later renamed Cooksey Drive in his honor, possibly stimulated the path's creation to enhance buyer interest in Cooksey's nearby properties.

It was briefly mentioned as "The Hunters Beach path, along the shore near Seal Harbor" in a 1914 path guide and expressed as another interesting walk.*2  A path guide the following year had this description: "The Shore Path leaves Sea Cliff Drive opposite east end of Rowland Road and makes a rough path along the shore to Champlain Monument or on to Hunter's Beach, meeting there the shore and wood trails to Otter Creek. This path runs along unusually beautiful rocks and cliffs - in places spanning chasms by means of bridges and in others blasted out of the face of the rock. The views of the open ocean and the surf effects after an easterly storm are very fine…. *3
Shore Path bridge 1935**

A 1928 path guide describes the hike further: "Start on trail marked 'Hunters Beach' directly opposite Champlain Monument on the Sea Cliff Drive about 1 1/2 miles east of the Village Drinking Fountain at Seal Harbor. Park car near monument. Follow cairns (note a conspicuous white quartz vein on the R.) to shore trail. This is a rough trail along unusually beautiful rocks and cliffs. Good view of the ocean and the islands. See the surf, especially after an easterly storm. … Follow cairns around Blue Head into Hunters Beach Cove."*4
Quartz vein mentioned above

Note: In 1904, to mark the 300th anniversary of Champlain‘s discovery of MDI, the Seal Harbor Village Improvement Society placed a monument honoring Champlain on Sea Cliff Drive and overlooking the ocean. It was just across the road from where today there is a Maine Coast Heritage Trust property and parking lot called the Cooksey Drive Overlook. A very popular monument, perhaps too popular for nearby residents, it was relocated in the 1970s to an obscure Seal Harbor ledge abutting Acadia National Park, where it now overlooks Route 3 near the entrance to the Day Mountain Trail.
Champlain Monument - not dated ***

A 1954 path guide describes it plainly: "Shore Trail. C. 2 hours. Starts at Ingraham point and follows the shore to Hunters beach."*5  Likely the last map to depict the Shore Path was the one that accompanied this guide.

The guides show an increasingly eastern start for the Shore Path since publication of the 1896 map. This might indicate that progressive private development east of the Crows Nest denied its use. The lackluster description in the 1954 guide is a sign the Shore Path by then had fallen into desuetude.

Anne Funderburk, a Seal Harbor resident and historian, recollects "The Seal Harbor Shore Path was built and maintained by Cooksey Realty (later Seal Harbor Realty) ca. 1895 to provide access to the shore for people who bought land from Cooksey Realty which was not waterfront land. The deeds to those lots included the right, in perpetuity, to walk the Shore Path. My grandfather, George Stebbins, saw to the maintenance of the path until after WW II, by which time the cost had become prohibitive. Bridges were washed out during winter storms and waves eroded the lower parts. I walked that path many time as a child.
… The railings on the Shore Path were installed as the path was being built. In some places the stanchions still exist, bent and rusted. Pipe railings connected the stanchions, providing a reasonable degree of safety for those using the parts of the path closest to the sea. For “Old Ladies” there were parts of the path on higher ground, running parallel to the seaward sections. Some of the clefts in the rock were spanned by wooden foot bridges. These usually took a licking during winter south-east storms and had to be replaced fairly often. At one point steel cable was used to replace bent or destroyed pipe railings. It cost less and was easier to install. … The bridges have been history since the mid-1950’s. After my grandfather Stebbins died in 1952, there was no one left with the influence and means to keep them up. As soon as building began along the shore, the fate of the Shore Path was sealed. It was a grand hike, no matter which level one followed."*6

The Seal Harbor VIS maintains today a 0.5-mile parallel path, the Hunters Cliff Trail. From the Hunters Beach Trail, which starts at a parking lot near the Route 3 end of Cooksey Drive and leads to Hunters Beach, it turns right and rises to hug the ridge line, then turns inland to avoid private property. It ends at Cooksey Drive, where it connects to the Lower Day Mountain Trail. It is from the Hunters Cliff Trail a hiker can access the abandoned Shore Path, see remaining railings and get a sense of what it was like to hike it. Access points "jct 1" and "jct 2" (red pins) and paths (dashed orange) are indicated on the maps below.*7

The location of the Shore Path,  represented in red on the map, is an approximation except for the known locations of the railings and quartz vein.
Shore Path from Crows Nest to Hunters Beach
Blowup of railing locations

It is always imperative to use caution when hiking abandoned paths. The once imposing Seal Harbor Shore Path is no exception, especially when the ledges are wet and slippery.

Photo acknowledgements:
* Seal Harbor Library
** Southwest Harbor Public Library - W. H. Ballard photographer
*** Penobscot Marine Museum

1 Path Map of the Eastern Part of Mount Desert Island, Maine, by Waldron Bates, Edward L. Rand and Herbert Jaques. 1896.

The map location "Crows Nest" apparently was also referred to as "Ravenscleft." A 1903 newspaper mentioned Ravenscleft, as follows: "Another house which the Hodgkins firm has just completed is the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. James Rhodes of Boston. The house sets [off Sea Cliff Drive] among the trees high on a promontory, and derives its name 'Ravenscleft' from the location." Bar Harbor Record. June 10, 1903, p. 1.

2 Paths and Trails of Northeast Harbor and Vicinity, published by [the] Village Improvement Society. 1914.

3 A Path Guide of Mount Desert Island Maine, published by the Village Improvement Societies of Bar Harbor, Seal Harbor, Northeast [Harbor], and Southwest Harbor. 1915.

4 Walks on Mount Desert Island Maine, by Harold Peabody and Charles H. Grandgent. 1928.

5 Paths and Trails of Northeast Harbor, Seal Harbor and Vicinity, published by the Trails Committees of the Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce and the Seal Harbor Village Improvement Society. 1954.

6 I wish to thank Anne Funderburk, vice president of the Seal Harbor VIS, and her husband Lance for their valuable contributions to this article.

7 GPS coordinates of Shore Path access junction 1: N44° 17.805'  W068° 13.249' and junction 2: N44° 17.779'  W068° 13.291'