Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Horse Trough Memorial in Acadia NP -- a Mystery
In my September blog post about Edith Bowdoin, I mentioned other horse troughs on Mount Desert Island.*1  One was the trough located in Acadia National Park about 900' west of the Great Head parking lot on what once was the Satterlee estate that contained Great Head and Sand Beach.*2  Here is more information about that now forgotten horse trough.

Sometime in late 1901 Ellen Sever Hale, widow of Boston lawyer George Silsbee Hale, commissioned a horse trough to be built and sited on Schooner Head Road. In 1902 it was placed on Hale property just south of the outflow of the marsh at the southeastern base of Champlain Mountain. The Hales' summer home was on Schooner Head. Their property extended westerly to Champlain Mountain.

George Dorr, a founder and first superintendant of Acadia National Park, donated the granite from which it was built from his Bear Brook Quarry, which was located below today's Park Loop Road parking lot for Champlain Mountain's North Ridge Trail.

Mrs. Hale wished to remember her son from her first marriage to Rev. Theodore Tebbets. She had engraved on the trough the initials J S T and the year 1901. Her son, John Sever Tebbets, died in 1901.

The trough was designed by Beatrix Jones.*3  Its top was a single piece of granite four feet square and one foot thick hollowed out to form a large basin. It sat on granite supports that stood on a six foot square, one foot thick granite base.

When and why the trough was moved from Schooner Head Road to its present location on the Satterlee estate is a mystery.
It is interesting to note, however, starting with the 1906 Path Map of the Eastern Part of Mount Desert Island through to the 1941 path map there is depicted the "Stone Horse Trough" on the west side of Schooner Head Road just south of the same marsh outflow as the Tebbets trough. The 1942 Topographic Map [of] Acadia National Park and Vicinity doesn't depict the Stone Horse Trough but does show a nearby entrance road and building off Schooner Head Road.*4  On these path maps the Stone Horse Trough was at the start of the now, long abandoned Yellow Path.*5  This path began at Schooner Head Road just north of the aforementioned entrance road and building and ran west to the base of Champlain Mountain, skirting the southern edge of the marsh. Based on the timeframe and proximity of the Stone Horse Trough and the Tebbets horse trough, they were likely one and the same.

1917 Path Map of the Eastern Part of Mount Desert Island
Red arrow #1: location of Stone Horse Trough & Yellow Path
Red arrow #2: current location of Tebbets horse trough
The Tebbets trough was moved after 1941. In1949 Eleanor Morgan Satterlee donated the estate to Acadia NP. Perhaps it was during this period the horse trough was relocated to its present site. It would be interesting to know if a Hale descendant authorized the move of this family memorial, as the land it was on was and still is privately owned. The full mystery is yet to be solved.

1 Edith Bowdoin and Her Horse Troughs, September 8, 2013.
2 Horse trough GPS coordinates: N44° 19.991' W068° 10.931'
3 Beatrix Jones, a prominent landscape architect who later married historian Max Farrand, was living at the time with her parents at Reef Point, their Bar Harbor waterfront estate.

4 Just the building's cellar remains. GPS coordinates: N44° 20.507'  W068° 10.860'
5 A Path Guide of Mount Desert Island Maine (pub. 1915), p. 12 (d), states: "Just beyond Schooner Head (1 hour 15 min. from village) take the Yellow Path at the Stone Horse Trough …" But in Walks on Mount Desert Island Maine (1928)  Harold Peabody, when referring to the Yellow Path, says in Walk 4, p. 26: "… trail which is now closed, …" The Yellow Path is shown on the 1928 path map, but not on subsequent path maps. It was likely closed due to wetness from the marsh, a problem identified by path and mapmaker Herbert Jaques back in 1896.