Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Cross on Flying Mountain, Acadia National Park -- a Mystery Unraveled
Just south of the summit of Flying Mountain, at the entrance to Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island, are unexplained pieces of iron -- eyebolts, rod and a brace -- embedded in a horizontal granite surface.  The site overlooks Fernald Point to the south.

Cut rod and brace
What these iron relics are is revealed in a 1924 Bar Harbor Times photograph, which shows a cross on top of Flying Mountain.*1  The accompanying caption reads, "President-emeritus Eliot of Harvard, the earliest summer resident on the Northeast Harbor shore, stands on Jesuit Field [Fernald Point], at the site of the French Missionary Colony at the entrance to Somes Sound, briefly established in 1613."*2
                                                                                                                                                                          Bar Harbor Times
The  wooden cross was designed for Aimee (Rotch) Sargent, wife of Winthrop Sargent, summer residents of Northeast Harbor, by the architectural firm Cram & Ferguson of Boston.*3  The cross stood about 30' high. Near the base of the cross were the letters A M D G, which stand for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, [For the Greater Glory of God], the motto of the Roman Catholic Jesuit Society of Jesus.

                                                                                                                                                    Northeast Harbor Library
The year the cross was erected is unclear, but it might have been in 1913 in time for MDI's August Tercentenary celebration of the French-Jesuit St. Sauveur settlement in 1613 on Fernald Point.*4  The cross was gone by 1927, when it was reported it had toppled over in a storm and was not replaced.*5  The reason for not replacing the cross is not known. However, to commemorate the 1613 settlement nearby Dog Mountain had been renamed St. Sauveur in 1918 at the request of George B. Dorr, custodian of the new Sieur de Monts National Monument. Also, Aimee Sargent died in 1918 and was preceded two years earlier in death by her husband. These events would have weighed against the cross's replacement.

It is interesting to note that Aimee Sargent was the sister of Arthur Rotch of the Boston architectural firm Rotch and Tilden that designed St. Saviour Episcopal Church in Bar Harbor and other structures on Mount Desert Island. Ralph Adams Cram of the above-mentioned firm Cram and Ferguson had earlier worked at Rotch and Tilden. Thus the cross's link to Cram and Ferguson becomes evident.

The cross's site is easy to find, as the Flying Mountain trail cuts directly across it. The aerial map depicts the salient features mentioned above and includes the ANP and private property boundaries on Fernald Point.
1 Bar Harbor Times, March 19, 1924, p. 3.
2 Eliot retired as president of Harvard in 1909, a position he had held for 40 years. That same year he was elected president emeritus of the university.
3 I wish to thank Ethan Anthony of Cram & Ferguson Architects for his research of company files over the course of many months.
4 For more about this historic settlement see my blog posts dated September 27, 2012 and June 8, 2013.
5 Bar Harbor Times, June 15, 1927, p. 8.
GPS coordinates:
Flying Mountain cross site: N44° 18.110'  W068° 18.863'
Flying Mountain summit: N44° 18.130'  W068° 18.858'

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pathmaker -- The Tragic Death of Waldron Bates

[Due to the interest in my blog post "Waldron Bates -- Pathmaker" dated April 4, 2012, here is the more extensive article I wrote for the Bar Harbor Historical Society Newsletter of November 2011.]

On the south side of Gorham Mountain at the intersection of the Gorham Mountain Trail and the Cadillac Cliffs Path is a bronze plaque attached to a granite wall. It is a memorial to Waldron Bates. Shielded by an overhanging ledge, the plaque was designed by New York sculptor and Bar Harbor summer resident, William Ordway Partridge. After being exhibited in Bar Harbor, it was placed there in September 1910. It reads:

Photo courtesy of Harvard University Archives








Waldron Bates was born on November 24, 1856 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Samuel Worcester and Anna Matilda (How) Bates and named in honor of his maternal grandmother, Eliza P. (Waldron) How. His two siblings, Samuel Worcester Jr. and Charles How, followed in 1858 and 1868. He was the nephew of Charles T. How, an early developer of Bar Harbor and land donor. Bates graduated from Harvard in 1879 and received his law degree from Boston University in 1882. He never married.

Bates first visited Mount Desert Island about 1880 and joined the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association in 1892, later becoming the organization’s Path Committee chairman (1900- 09) and president (1904-05). In 1896 he established himself as a mapmaker with the publication of the“Map of Mount Desert Island” and the “Path Map of the Eastern Part of Mount Desert Island” with co-cartographers Edward Rand and Herbert Jaques. Bates was also one of the original members of the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, the Maine-chartered organization founded in 1901 for the purpose of “acquiring, owning and holding lands and other property in Hancock County for free public use.”

Bates further distinguished himself as a pathmaker. He planned and engineered trails to geologically interesting rock formations and exhilarating sites along rock ledges, wrote instructions about how to construct safe and durable trails, instituted a signage protocol to direct hikers along trail routes and designed a simple cairn to mark the paths and provide directional guidance to hikers. Termed “Bates cairns” today, they were easy to build and required few stones, thus lessening soil damage and erosion. Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, Bates’ successor as Bar Harbor VIA Roads and Paths Committee chairman, said of him, “To him, more than any other, is owing the great system of some one hundred and fifty miles of paths, which are so complete as to make difficult at present any additions of value.” Prominent among them are the Cadillac Cliffs, Canon Brook, Giant Slide and Gorham Mountain trails.

With a passion for fitness and the outdoors, Bates was a member of the Boston Athletic Association, the organization that founded the Boston Marathon, the Massachusetts Fish and Game Protective Association, Boston’s Tennis and Racquet Club and Bar Harbor’s Kebo Valley Club. He enjoyed traveling to Florida; salmon fishing in Canada and in the summer of 1889 visited Yellowstone National Park and marveled at its beauty. Considering these activities and his strenuous hiking regimen on Mount Desert Island, Bates must have been in excellent physical condition. That may be why his sudden and horrific death, at the age of 52, was so shocking.

On Tuesday, February 9th, while en route from Boston to Aiken, South Carolina, on the Southern Railroad, he disembarked briefly at the railway station in Monroe, Virginia.* Trying to reenter the train, as it pulled away from the station, he slipped and fell under the wheels and was killed. The following account of the accident appeared in the February 18, 1909 edition of The Matthews Journal, a local weekly newspaper: “At Monroe, on the Southern Railroad, a well-dressed business man got off southbound passenger train 29 when it stopped to change engines. As it started he attempted to board a Pullman, but slipped under the car, and his head was nearly severed from his body which was found after the train had gone. A card was found on his person with the name Waldron Bates, Colonial Hotel, Boston, and the authorities have telegraphed there. Deceased seemed to be about 40 years old and weighed about 135 pounds.” Another local newspaper covering the accident, the Lynchburg News of February10, 1909, further disclosed that the stopped Pullman car was 100 yards north of the station when Bates departed it. Upon attempting to reboard the moving Pullman, Bates apparently slipped and got his clothes caught in the car’s truck. As the train continued on, he was dragged to a spot about 100 yards south of the station, where the body fell free. Southern Railroad officials were notified and they telegraphed the Colonial Hotel about the accident.
Monroe Station photo - courtesy of The Frank Cash Collection in
the Amherst County Museum, Amherst, VA.
The Diuguid Funeral Home in nearby Lynchburg prepared the remains and shipped the embalmed body, casket and clothing to Boston for funeral services. Its ledger records that Bates was age 52 and height 5’ 10” and accidentally killed at Monroe on February 9th at 8:45 PM. A George Perkin paid Diuguid $85 for its services.

After Bates’ body had been shipped to Boston, his brother Samuel had the body cremated and the remains interred in the Bates family plot at Mount Auburn Cemetery in nearby Cambridge. A simple stone marks his grave.

It is tempting to speculate that Bates’ death was no accident and that he might have been murdered by frustrated MDI developers and loggers. The tax-exempt HCTPR, of which Bates was a founding member, had been formed by very influential outsiders and was acquiring land to preserve. However, such speculation would be mistaken. The Diuguid funeral home noted the death was accidental and none of the newspapers that reported on Bates’ death mentioned any suspicion of foul play. Indeed, the Boston Journal reported on 11 February 1909 that the railroad had been exonerated by a coroner’s jury which decided Bates had left the train for exercise and had fallen under it while trying to get aboard after it had started. The paper further disclosed Bates had been suffering from some recent “mental trouble.” The Boston Daily Globe reported on the same date that building tenants at Bates’ 50 Congress Street, Boston, law firm suggested he might have been ill and traveling south for health reasons. Moreover, Bates’ death certificate from Boston’s Registry Division lists the cause of death as “accidentally killed by train.”

News of the tragic death of Waldron Bates prompted the Bar Harbor community to establish additional memorials:

- The Bar Harbor VIA changed the name of the Chasm Path on the north side of Sargent Mountain to the Waldron Bates Memorial Path. In his September 1909 report to the Bar Harbor VIA, Path Committee chairman Dr. Mitchell stated, “It was the last one [path] to which our friend, Mr. Bates, gave attention, and which he meant to have put in order for walking.” Upon its completion in 1910, the Waldron Bates Memorial Path became the first of Acadia National Park’s famed memorial paths. The path is no longer maintained by the Park and is mostly untraceable.

- The Kebo Valley Club, of which Bates had been a director and a designer of its golf course, installed a bronze plaque on a granite boulder at the 18th green. It reads: In Memory Of Waldron Bates, 1856-1909, Maker Of These Links To Whose Zeal And Ability The Kebo Valley Club Is Deeply Indebted. Extinctus Amabitur Idem [tr: The same man will be loved after his death].The Club, later renamed the Kebo Valley Golf Club, also established the annual Waldron Bates Cup golf tournament in his memory.

- In 2001 the Park reintroduced the Bates cairn. These modern memorials now guide hikers safely along the summit trails on the eastern side of the Park. Most consist of just two large base stones, a lintel stone joining them above with a directional, pointer stone on top. Bates cairns are maintained in the spring and fall by a group of about 20 volunteers, called Waldron’s Warriors, and in the summer by Friends of Acadia Ridge Runners. An observant hiker can still discover some of the original Bates cairns, which nowadays are mostly concealed by moss and lichen and surrounding vegetation.

- The existence of another Bates memorial plaque was reported in an intriguing article written by a former curator of the Bar Harbor Historical Society in 1981. The author wrote, “The Bar Harbor Association also paid tribute to Bates by putting another tablet on a large slab of granite overhanging the Chasm Brook Trail on Sargent Mountain and renaming it the Bates Memorial Trail.” Despite the efforts of individuals to locate and research this plaque, no corroborating evidence of its existence has ever surfaced.

A tribute to Bates appeared in the 1909 Harvard Graduates’ Magazine. It warmly said, “Much of his life, however, was passed at Bar Harbor, where, in the words of a near friend, ‘no face was better known and no voice more familiar than his, for he labored devotedly, unselfishly, vigorously, in his field, for the advancement of this town and island.’” Even in his death Bates sought to care for the island he loved for nearly 30 years. In his will he left bequests of $5,000 to both the Bar Harbor VIA and the Kebo Valley Club and specified that the VIA was to use the income to repair the “mountain paths of the island of Mount Desert.”

Given Bates’ many contributions to the magnificent trails system that we enjoy so much today, perhaps the reader will pause for a silent moment while hiking on the Gorham Mountain Trail or the Cadillac Cliffs Path to remember Waldron Bates, Pathmaker.

*At the time of Bates’ accident, Monroe was a newly established town lying seven miles north of Lynchburg. It was the site of a major railway yard where crews stopped, engines were changed, repairs done and coal replenished. The photograph of the Monroe station was taken by Monroe resident Frank Cash sometime between 1905 and 1915. The Southern Railroad ultimately stopped using Monroe as a station and terminal yard and removed all the buildings and support facilities.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Fire Lookouts of Acadia National Park
A familiar summit sight and a popular hiking destination in Acadia National Park is the Beech Mountain fire lookout tower. While no longer functioning as such, it was once an important node in the Park's fire warning communications network.
Beech lookout today
                                           Acadia NP photo
Beech lookout then

The Beech Mountain fire lookout was established in 1937 about 250' southeast of the summit. Built of wood by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the structure lasted through the 1950s. A helicopter-borne prefabricated steel tower replaced it in 1960 and is still there today. It became operational by 1962 and was initially manned morning to evening, then later only during times of fire danger. It was last staffed in 1976. Acadia NP rarely opens the lookout to the public, but the tower's first landing is accessible to visitors to provide southerly and easterly views.

Sargent lookout today
                                                                        Acadia NP photo
Sargent lookout then
There was a second fire lookout, a CCC-built cabin, on top of Sargent Mountain. Little is known of this lookout, but from today's scattered remains it was constructed of wood on a stone base. Established in 1941, it was sited about 1,000' due north of the summit and provided northerly views from west to east. Manning the lookout was problematic. Unlike the Beech lookout, where staff could take a daily short hike from the parking lot, the Sargent lookout would have required prolonged, overnight manning and provisioning due to the difficulty of getting to and from the remote site. The lookout still existed in 1949, but its operations might have ended the following year.*1

Why the Sargent lookout was not replaced or even modernized, like the Beech lookout, falls to speculation. Unavailable funding and difficult manning could have been the cause.
The two lookouts' geographic locations did not provide full 360-degree views of the Park, but their fire warning function was folded into the Maine Forestry Service's network of fire lookouts. Two of the complementary MFS lookouts were on Blue Hill Mountain, 10 miles to the northwest of Mount Desert Island, and Schoodic Mountain, 11 miles to the northeast. Blue Hill ceased operations in 1991 and was torn down in 2005. Schoodic had already been razed by 1996.

                                            Acadia NP photo
Bernard lookout

A third CCC-built fire lookout reportedly existed on Bernard Mountain summit in the mid-1930s.*2  This location appears to be a misjudgment and is most likely the remnants of the Kaighn pavilion.*3  Further, collateral sources indicate the Park had just the two fire lookouts -- Beech and Sargent. Yet, other Park installations, such as this one, could have served as auxiliary fire lookouts due to their advantageous locations. For example, there once was a ranger station on top of Cadillac Mountain. It was built in 1932 in conjunction with the opening of the new summit road that year. Along with attending to visitors and handling traffic, fire warning was an assigned duty.*4

Insulators, pins and support cables

Communications at the Beech and Sargent lookouts was by telephone. A telephone wire was strung from the lookouts on a support cable and wrapped around Whitall Tatum clear-glass insulators secured to wooden crossarm pins attached to tree poles and live trees.*5  These telephone lines ran easterly from both lookouts.

One of many coils left along the lines

Maintenance of the lines, which passed over granite ledges and through dense woods, was a headache. Severe weather and falling trees clearly took a toll. Ostensibly to minimize the repair work, linemen left coils of wire along the telephone lines' routes. In the 1940s the radio began to replace the telephone in Maine's fire lookouts, which obviated telephone line maintenance issues and enhanced communications reliability.*6

In 1936 the Maine Forestry Service deconstructed the USN Radio Station communications towers at Otter Cliffs to use the material to build new fire lookouts elsewhere in the state.*7  The naval station, established in 1917 and decommissioned in 1935, is now the site of Acadia NP's Fabbri Picnic Area and Alessandro Fabbri memorial.

Postscript: I wish to thank Burt Barker, Paul Crowley, Gary Stellpflug and Roger Thompson for their recollections and expertise. I am also grateful to a team of intrepid explorers who provided the extra eyes to help me find the telephone lines.

Explorers making a discovery

1 Bar Harbor Times, April 14, 1949, p. 10.
2 Pathmakers, Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, National Park Service, Boston, MA, 2006, p. 136-137.
3 Philadelphian Robert Kaighn had property on Bernard Mountain, where he built a "pavilion" in 1911 about 75' south of the summit. A 1934 Coast and Geodetic Survey described it as being chained to the rock. Support pins and an eyebolt still remain.
4 Bar Harbor Times, June 15, 1932, p. 2.
5 Armstrong Cork Corp. bought The Whitall Tatum Co. in 1938. The insulators available for inspection by me had the added Armstrong logo "A", thus confirming post 1937 telephone lines.
6 For information about Maine's fire lookouts, see From York to the Allagash - Forest Fire Lookouts of Maine 1905-1991 by David N. Hilton, Moosehead Communications, Greenville, ME. 1997.
7 Bar Harbor Times, October 16, 1936, p.1.

GPS coordinates:
Beech Mountain lookout - N44° 18.650'  W068° 20.709'
Blue Hill Mountain lookout - N44° 26.044'  W068° 35.452'
Fabbri Memorial - N44° 18.851'  W068° 11.760'
Kaighn pavilion - N44° 18.138'  W068° 22.328'
Sargent Mountain lookout - N44° 20.763'  W068° 16.386'
Schoodic Mountain lookout - N44° 34.402'  W068° 08.814'

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Return of a Restored Beloved Memorial

Missing memorial plaque

In November 2012 a bronze memorial plaque was discovered missing by hikers on Acadia National Park's Gorge Path.

Acadia NP photo
King and Stellpflug restoring plaque

Upon being told about it, the Park responded the memorial had been removed for restoration by Gary Stellpflug, trail foreman, and Robyn King, museum technician. They completed the restoration and returned the plaque last month.

Original condition

Restored condition

The plaque's inscription reads:

1891 - 1928

Lilian Endicott Francklyn (1891-1928), born in Geneva, New York, was a daughter of Robert and Caroline Rees Seward. She was a descendant of William H. Seward, Abraham Lincoln‘s Secretary of State. She married international banker Reginald Gebhart Francklyn in London, England in 1923.
Trinity Church, Geneva,NY
Lilian Endicott Francklyn
In 1928, while visiting her mother in Geneva, Lilian died of a cerebral embolism in her eighth month of pregnancy, leaving behind her husband and four year-old daughter, Caroline Agnes, and three year-old son, Reginald Endicott. She is buried with her mother in the Seward plot at Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, New York.

Lilian’s memorial, installed about 1929, is on the Gorge Path between Cadillac and Dorr Mountains. One of the friends mentioned on the plaque was Louise Munroe. She and Lilian were debutantes at the same time in New York City. In 1929 Louise gave the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association $1,000 to endow the Gorge Path and install a bronze plaque in Lilian’s honor.

This is the second bronze plaque to be restored. The first restoration was the Jesup memorial in July 2011. It is located on the Jesup Path near its junction with the Kurt Diederich Climb at The Tarn's outflow.

Restoration of the memorials falls under an official mandate for Acadia NP to preserve its cultural history. There are 24 bronze and 2 slate memorial plaques in the park. In 2011 volunteers cleaned its 11 granite memorials and other historic stones to highlight and enhance their engravings.

GPS coordinates:
Francklyn memorial - N44° 21.904'  W068° 13.254'
Jesup memorial - N44° 21.512'  W068° 12.425'

Monday, July 21, 2014

Acadia National Park: Founded on Inspiration, Perseverance and Generosity
It is widely accepted that three individuals stand out as being responsible for the creation of Acadia National Park: Charles W. Eliot, George B. Dorr and John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Eliot attributed his idea for the formation of an organization to protect Mount Desert Island's natural resources for future generations to his son Charles, who had done exactly that for the people of Boston, MA. The organization Eliot Sr. inspired was the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations in 1901, which he served as president until his death in 1926. Eliot, a Bostonian and Harvard University's longest serving president, first came to Mount Desert Island in 1871, when he and his sons Charles and Samuel sailed their boat from Boston to Southwest Harbor and camped on Calf Island in Frenchman Bay. In 1881 he established his summer home in Northeast Harbor. There is a bronze memorial plaque for him on Eliot Mountain, formerly Asticou Mountain and renamed in his honor.

Dorr seized on Eliot's idea of preservation, was his vice-president on the HCTPR and dedicated his life to the establishment and development of Acadia NP. Called the founding father of Acadia NP, he was a son of wealthy Bostonians who came to MDI during the summer of 1868 and set up their home, Oldfarm, at Compass Harbor in Bar Harbor a few years later. An entrepreneurial graduate of Harvard, he launched a successful horticultural nursery and a granite quarrying business in Bar Harbor. Following the creation of the Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916, Dorr became its superintendant, a position he held through the subsequent transitions to Lafayette NP in 1919 and Acadia NP in 1929, until his death in 1944. There is a bronze memorial plaque for him at Sieur de Monts located on the east base of Dorr Mountain, formerly Dry Mountain and renamed in his honor.
Rockefeller, philanthropist and son of the Cleveland, OH oil baron, believed strongly in preserving land for a park. He first came to MDI in 1893, while a student at Brown University. He returned to MDI in 1908 where his wife, Abby, gave birth to their son, Nelson, who would later become governor of NY and US vice president. In 1910 Rockefeller purchased and then expanded his Seal Harbor hilltop home, The Eyrie. Before his death in 1960 he had given over 11,000 acres of land to Acadia NP, helped finance and construct its 26-mile Park Loop Road, built a 53-mile network of carriage roads and donated 45 miles of those carriage roads, along with its 17 unique stone bridges and 2 beautiful gatehouses. The Rockefeller Archives Center states he gave over $3.5 million to Acadia NP. There is a bronze memorial plaque for Rockefeller on the Ocean Path near Otter Cliffs. But unlike the recognition accorded to Eliot and Dorr, no Acadia NP mountain is named for him. Yet, were it not for Rockefeller's generosity and his support to superintendant Dorr, Acadia NP would not be the cherished site it is today attracting over two million visitors each summer.
Kebo Mountain ridgeline viewed from Jesup memorial path
It would thus seem fitting for Acadia NP and the National Park Service to consider naming a mountain in honor of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. One possibility is on Kebo Mountain. There are two peaks on its popular ridgeline, which overshadows downtown Bar Harbor's southwest flank. The northern peak has been named "Kebo Mountain" since at least 1860. This summit location is a mistake, however, as the southern and unnamed peak of the mountain is higher by some 15 feet.*1 Even Benjamin DeCosta in his guide book of 1871 speaks of Kebo's "two well defined peaks."*2

In light of the upcoming celebration of the 100th anniversary of Acadia NP's 1916 founding, such a tribute is long overdue to an individual so crucial to the development of Acadia NP.*3

1 The higher southern peak was first suggested to me by Earl Brechlin, Bar Harbor resident and editor of the Mount Desert Islander newspaper. Subsequent hand-held GPS readings and Acadia NP's more sophisticated data confirm Mr. Brechlin's observation.

2 Rambles in Mount Desert by B.F. DeCosta, A.D.F. Randolph & Co., NY, 1871, p. 102.

3 Coincidentally 2016 is also the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, which was established by President Wilson in 1916 "…to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." (Excerpted from the Organic Act of 1916.)

GPS coordinates:
Northern peak - N44° 22.400'  W068° 13.105'
Southern peak - N44° 22.178'  W068° 13.089'
Dorr memorial - N44° 21.721'  W068° 12.466'
Eliot memorial - N44° 18.105'  W068° 16.427'
Rockefeller memorial - N44° 18.482'  W068° 11.345'

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Acadia National Park's Little-Known Mountain

Between picturesque Eagle Lake and northerly scenic ponds in Acadia National Park on Maine's Mount Desert Island lies Brewer Mountain.
This 444' mountain has had a number of names. In 1874, for example, it was called "Interlaken Hill," a likely reference to the popular 19th century lake resort in the Swiss Alps. This name lasted until at least 1893. In 1896 it was changed to "Dan Brewers Mt" on the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association's Bates-Rand-Jaques Path Map of the Eastern Part of Mount Desert Island, which path map series continued the name until 1941, its last year of publication, as well as on the Bates-Rand-Jaques 1896 Map of Mount Desert Island. The 1922 Department of Interior map of Lafayette National Park (Acadia NP's predecessor) renamed it "Brewers Mt." The name was changed again on the Interior Dept.'s 1931 Acadia National Park map, when the letter 's' was dropped and it became simply "Brewer Mt."

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names, the organization that maintains uniform geographic name usage for the U.S. Government, states the mountain was originally owned by Daniel Brewer. The USBGN carries it as "Brewer" mountain, the name it approved in 1928. Present-day commercial maps of Acadia NP show it as "Brewer Mtn." The gratis National Park Service map of Acadia NP has not depicted the mountain at all for the past 40+ years.

                                                     E.L. Allen photo, NY Public Library
Mountain House
Daniel Brewer owned another mountain, named Green Mountain. In 1866 he built the first hotel on it, the Mountain House, overlooking Bar Harbor from its prominent 1530' summit. He sold the hotel and 75 acres of the summit two years later to two sons and a third individual. The Mountain House ceased operations in 1882. A grander hotel replaced it the next year as part of the Green Mountain Railway Company enterprise, which featured a cog railroad from Eagle Lake to the summit. The enterprise failed a decade afterwards and the summit's last hotel was removed in 1896.

In 1908 Daniel's son Frank, executor of his will, conveyed the Green Mountain summit to the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations. The HCTPR was acquiring lands it would donate to the US Government and which would ultimately form Acadia NP. Green Mountain was renamed Cadillac Mountain in 1918. In 1939 Daniel's son Fred approached George Dorr, Acadia NP superintendant, for permission to install a bronze plaque in Daniel's honor on the former site of the Mountain House. Dorr favored the request for its historical import and recommended it to the NPS director in Washington, DC. The director denied the request out of concern for proliferation of plaques in the park and on grounds that commemoration of the mountain's first hotel was unimportant. Curiously and conversely the NPS had no issue commemorating Stephen Mather, its first director, seven years earlier with a bronze plaque on Cadillac's summit and in nearly every park in the country under its jurisdiction.

Brewer Mountain does not provide scenic views from its summit, but it is nonetheless interesting to explore. The mountain was quarried for its granite by Daniel's son Frank at least between 1905 and 1909. The results of the excavations remain and provide a historic look into the extensive quarrying activity that took place on MDI.


There are no maintained paths to the summit or quarry sites. Lacking the desire to hike up the mountain, one can see evidence of  Brewer Mountain quarrying by looking north from inside the Eagle Lake parking lot toward a granite ledge and wall, fronted by water, only several feet away. The map shows an adequate way to the summit and two quarry locations.

GPS coordinates:
Brewer Mountain
            Summit: N44° 22.981'  W068° 15.006'
            North quarry: N44° 22.858'  W068° 14.994'
            South quarry: N44° 22.790'  W068° 14.978'
Mountain House site: N44° 21.062'  W068° 13.565'
Mather memorial: N44° 21.148'  W068° 13.454'

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Acadia National Park's Forsaken Lakes
In the northeast section of Acadia National Park near Hulls Cove are two idyllic bodies of fresh water named Lake Wood and Fawn Pond, which oddly the Park does not promote to the public.

Lake Wood
Fawn Pond
Lake Wood was once a favorite summer swimming venue and it has an interesting history. From the early 1890s Lake Wood provided a supply of "pure and wholesome water" to the village of Hulls Cove.*1  In the late 1890s a pavilion and dance hall were built, where at least on one occasion an orchestra performed at a dance and a dinner of steamed clams, sandwiches and coffee was served.*2  In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps rehabilitated the lake by making its road passable, building a parking lot for 35 cars, removing snags and debris from the lake's bottom, anchoring a float for bathers, and cleaning and cutting the woods surrounding the lake making it "a veritable gem in its wooded setting."*3  After the Fire of 1947, which devastated eastern Mount Desert Island, the burnt trees were cut down and thrown into the lake and cordoned off about 100' from the beach. In the 1960s a lifeguard was employed at the beach. Lake Wood has been noted for such other amenities as male and female changing rooms at the beach and a diving board secured to a granite ledge.*4  These today are among the fading memories of an enjoyable era. Nevertheless, those who know of Lake Wood still enjoy its sandy beach, granite ledges and refreshing water.

The 17-acre Lake Wood was last privately owned by the Schermerhorn sisters, descendants of an old New York City Dutch family. They donated the lake to the Park. At the north end of the lake is a memorial to them, completed in October 1929, which states: In memory of Annie Cottenet Kane and Fanny Schermerhorn Bridgham who gave the lake and the surrounding land to Acadia National Park. Perley Pond, a granite cutter who operated a quarry on MDI and had a shop on Cottage Street in Bar Harbor, built the 26x5-foot granite bridge and inscribed the nearby boulder. Renowned landscape architect Beatrix Farrand designed the bridge, a plan approved by Park superintendant George Dorr in November, 1928.

                                                                                                                                            NPS-Acadia NP
Schermerhorn Memorial bridge
In 1990 a Bangor, ME newspaper ran a story about the Schermerhorn memorial being "recently uncovered by volunteers working on trails in the park."*5 
                                                                            Bangor Daily News
FOA volunteers at Lake Wood - 1990
The photo caption reads: Discussing the clearing of the Lake Wood trail are (from left) volunteers Ken Sergeson, George Buck and Friends of Acadia Director Duane Pierson. (NEWS Photo by Kathy Harbour)


The Schermerhorn memorial is the largest and was once the grandest in the Park. Sadly, due to neglect it is in disgraceful condition.

Schermerhorn Memorial today
An unmaintained path along the lake's west side has stepping stones in front of a granite outcropping at the water's edge. They are walkable at low water level and are similar to the stepping stones along the west side of The Tarn, south of Bar Harbor. That path was constructed from funds donated by Annie Schermerhorn in memory of her late husband John Kane.*6

Fawn Pond is near Lake Wood's southeast corner. It perhaps was another local swimming hole. The 4-acre pond was owned by Charles How, a Bostonian who came to Bar Harbor in 1870. He saw the potential to attract others to MDI and began acquiring land for development. He was among the incorporators in 1891 of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association, an organization founded to help ensure the safety, health and beauty of the village. In 1904 How gave Fawn Pond to the BHVIA. Two years later the BHVIA installed a bronze memorial plaque in his honor on a granite face at the pond's north edge. It reads: This tablet commemorates the gift by Charles T. How of the Fawn Pond and forty acres of land to the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association 1906. Secluded Fawn Pond is a short walk from Lake Wood by way of two converging unmaintained paths.

How Memorial
Lake Wood and Fawn Pond are accessible via Lake Wood Pond Road off the Crooked Road 0.7 miles west of Route 3 at Hulls Cove. Parking and restrooms are available. The Schermerhorn memorial lies about 250 feet northwest of the beach. The How memorial is to the southeast, less than half a mile from the beach.*7

Note: As of this date, the Park has not yet opened Lake Wood Pond Road to cars.

1 Bar Harbor Record, December 1, 1892, p.4.
2 Bar Harbor Record September 21, 1898, p.5.

3 Bar Harbor Times, March 28, 1934, p.7.
4 I am thankful to Mike Alley, once a nearby resident and youthful swimmer, for his Lake Wood recollections.

5 "Lake Wood monument, foot bridge echo a forgotten past." Bangor Daily News, October 2, 1990.
6 In addition to the Lake Wood donation, Annie and John and Fanny and her husband, Samuel Bridgham, also donated 467 acres of Acadia NP's Kebo Mountain to the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, the seminal organization that created the Park from such donations.

7 GPS locations of the Schermerhorn memorial (N44° 24.648' W068° 16.246') and the How memorial (N44° 24.416' W068° 15.890').