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'

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cadillac, Kinney and Fish Sticks 
On the Cadillac Mountain summit in Acadia National Park there is a kiosk at the start of the North Ridge Trail. On it is a small plaque which states simply: "This trail head sign was donated in honor of E. Robert Kinney by his children on the occasion of his 80th birthday."*1

Kinney plaque
Plaque location on Cadillac summit

E. (Earl) Robert Kinney was born in Burnham, ME on April 12, 1917 to Harry E. and Ethel V. Kinney and grew up in nearby Pittsfield.  He earned a scholarship to Bates College in Lewiston, ME and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1939 with a major in education and a minor in economics.  He went on to attend Harvard University, but left for Bar Harbor, ME to pursue an intriguing interest.

E. Robert Kinney*

An entrepreneur in spirit, he noticed that lobstermen were tossing away the crabs they caught in their traps and saw an opportunity. With a $300 loan from a Bangor, ME bank he began buying the crabs for a penny apiece and canning the crab meat. He conducted his canning business in Bangor, where he established the North Atlantic Packing Company. In 1943 he relocated the company to West Street in Bar Harbor in the Nickerson, Spratt and Greeley Grain Company building he had purchased. There he employed 18 women to can mussels. By 1945 the company's products had expanded to clams, flaked cod and haddock, chowder mix, blueberry jam and sweet orange marmalade. That year the company received a contract from the U.S. Army for 1.5 million pounds of canned orange marmalade. It completed the contract in less than five months by producing 25 tons daily, using 75 employees in two shifts to process navel oranges shipped from California. The marmalade was delivered in 8-lb. camouflaged tins.*2  Fire destroyed the three-storey building in 1950, but Kinney rebuilt. The company ultimately employed 300 and grossed $2 million annually.

In 1953, after selling the business, he joined the Gorton's of Gloucester seafood company and became its president in 1958. While at Gorton's he extended its seafood line into frozen fish sticks, which became a very popular meal in American homes.  Here's a 1982 Gorton's fish sticks commercial:

In 1968 General Mills Inc. bought Gorton's and brought Kinney on board at its headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. In 1973 he became the company's president and four years later its CEO. He retired in 1982.

Kinney became a resident of downtown Bar Harbor in the 1940s about the time he started the North Atlantic Packing Co. there. Later he resided in Hulls Cove, a Bar Harbor village.

A keen businessman, Kinney was also a philanthropist and corporate advisor. In 1973 he conveyed to the College of the Atlantic the Bar Harbor land and buildings it had occupied since its founding four years earlier.*3 He was associated with Bar Harbor's Friends of Acadia, an independent support organization to Acadia National Park; a director at the Jackson Laboratory, a mammalian genetics research institution in Bar Harbor; a trustee of the Maine Sea Coast Mission in Bar Harbor, an organization that provides spiritual, health and youth development programs in Maine coastal communities; and a trustee of the Wendell Gilley Museum, a community center in nearby Southwest Harbor that celebrates the life and work of a pioneer in the field of decorative bird carving.*4  He was a member of the prestigious Pot and Kettle Club in Hulls Cove as well. In 2008 Bates College awarded Kinney, a trustee for 27 years, its highest honor, the Benjamin Elijah Mays Medal, for his distinguished service to the college and the community.

E. Robert Kinney died in Arizona on May 2, 2013 at the age of 96.

Note: I wish to thank Nina Gormley and Anna Ryan for their contributions to this article.

*Kinney photo courtesy of Bates College.

* Footnotes:
1 GPS coordinates of Cadillac summit plaque: N44° 21.185'  W068° 13.514'
2 Bar Harbor Times, July 12, 1945, pp. 1 and 8.
3 Hancock County, Maine, Registry of Deeds: Book 1175/Page 480 et al.
4 Here's a tribute to Mr. Kinney by David Shaw, Chairman Emeritus of the Jackson Laboratory’s Board of Governing Trustees and Corporation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rudolph Brunnow and the Myths about Him

Rudolph E. Brunnow
Appointed by the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association in 1913 as chairman of its path committee, a position he held until his death, Rudolph Brunnow built Acadia National Park's signature hiking trail, the Precipice Trail, on the east face of Champlain Mountain, as well as the challenging Orange and Black Path and the exciting Beehive Trail.*1

On the Precipice Trail
Despite Brunnow's achievements that have drawn hikers to the Park from far and wide, local storytellers appear determined to tell visitors three myths about the man, i.e., he was a German, he built his oceanfront home for his fiancé who perished on the Titanic, and he died from an accident on the Precipice. None is true.

Rudolph Ernest Brunnow (1859-1917) was born in Ann Arbor, MI, the only child of a German father and American mother. His father, Franz Friedrich Ernst Brunnow (1821-1891), left Berlin to become a professor of astronomy and the director of the observatory at the University of Michigan in 1854 and in 1857 married Rebecca Lloyd Tappan (1836-1893), the daughter of the president of the University of Michigan.

Educated in Europe, Rudolph taught at the University of Heidelberg between 1889 and 1904. In 1894 he married Marguerite Beckwith (1872-1907) in Lenox, MA and they went to live in Europe. After her death in Bonn, Germany, in 1907 he was left with five young children. He moved back to the United States to have his children educated as Americans and accepted a position at Princeton University, becoming a full professor of Semitic philology in 1908.

First summering in Bar Harbor with his children in 1909, he bought property along Schooner Head Road in 1910 and the next year started construction of the cottage he named Meadow Brook after the stream that flows nearby. He occupied it in 1914, having stayed at nearby Hare Forest cottage off Schooner Head Road between 1912 and July 1914 apparently to oversee its construction. His cottage, renamed High Seas by a subsequent owner, survived the fire of 1947 and is now owned by the Jackson Laboratory.

Meadow Brook
A Bar Harbor newspaper's obituary of Brunnow is the apparent origin of the fiancé myth and the German-by-birth claim. It stated he had a fiancé for whom he had built Meadow Brook and who had perished on the Titanic in 1912.*2  There is no evidence to corroborate the newspaper's fiancé claim. It is interesting to note the reported birth in Germany was apologetically corrected the next week by the newspaper to reflect his birth in Ann Arbor and U.S. citizenry.*3  It did not mention its fiancé claim.

Brunnow died of pneumonia in Bar Harbor on April 14, 1917. His children went to live with his mother-in-law, Margaretta F. Beckwith, in Philipstown, NY. He is buried in Princeton Cemetery in Princeton, NJ, next to his oldest son, Eric, who had died the year before from infantile paralysis while a freshman at Princeton.
Brunnow's grave
Brunnow's death was not the result of an accident on the Precipice. His brother-in-law, Edward P. Beckwith, however, had a serious accident on Champlain Mountain on October 28, 1916 while exploring for a new trail off the Orange and Black Path with Brunnow and three of Brunnow's children. Rocks gave way and Beckwith fell 20 feet. After a 4-hour rescue he was taken to the Bar Harbor hospital where it was determined he had injured his hip.*4  This is likely the accident our storytellers have confused in their tale of Brunnow's death.

Brunnow shines brightly in the trails history of Acadia NP. It serves no good purpose to perpetuate these myths.

* Footnotes:
1 Bar Harbor Record, April 9, 1913, p.5.
2 Bar Harbor Times, April 21, 1917, p.1.
3 Bar Harbor Times, April 28, 1917, p.3.
4 Bar Harbor Record, November 4, 1916, p.1.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Dole Trail 

The Dole Trail was an historic trail in Southwest Harbor on Maine's Mount Desert Island. It provided seaborne access to hiking destinations on the west side of MDI, including Fernald Point, which was the site of the 1613 European settlement by French Jesuit missionaries, Flying Mountain, Beech Mountain, Echo Lake and Long Pond.*1

1916 map (green arrow shows Dole Trail)
When the old trail was built or by whom is not known. It was first mentioned as the Dole Trail in the 1915 A Path Guide of Mount Desert Island, Maine, with its start at Dole Landing on Connor Cove and end at Somesville Road opposite Beech Hill Road.*2 The earliest map to show the 0.8 mile Dole Trail was the 1916 Map Of Mount Desert Island, compiled by Bates, Rand and Jacques.*3 On the 1926 Path Map of the Western Part of Mount Desert Island, the starting point in Connor Cove was specified as the "Dole Slip." The map also showed it linking to a path heading west along the Connor Cove shoreline to the mouth of Norwood Cove at the Southwest Harbor causeway, where it then turned north to Fernald Point Road. The 1928 Walks on Mount Desert Island, Maine, also spoke of the Dole Trail and mentioned the Dole Slip.*4 Possibly the last map to depict the trail was the 1942 U.S. Geological Survey Topographic Map of Acadia National Park and Vicinity. It showed the trail originating at Fernald Point Road, rather than at Connor Cove, and omitted the Connor Cove trail heading west from the Dole Trail to Norwood Cove.

1942 topo map

Charles F. Dole
The names Dole Trail and Dole Landing/Slip derive from the name of the owner of the property, Charles Fletcher Dole. Born in Brewer, ME in 1845 to Rev. Nathan and Caroline (Fletcher) Dole, he graduated second highest in his class from Harvard in 1868. Afterwards he entered the Andover Theological Seminary, graduating in 1872. For a short while he was a professor of Greek at the University of Vermont. In 1873 he married Frances Drummond. For 40 years, between 1876 and 1916, he was the minister of the First Congregational Church (Unitarian) in Jamaica Plain, a Boston neighborhood. The 5' 11", hazel-eyed Dole was a prominent author of religious and sociological themes and a pacifist.

In his autobiography Dole recounted his first visit to MDI: "In 1876 we went to Bar Harbor. Those were the days when you made your own trails and climbed over the mountains wherever you wished; you lived the simpler life; you hired a rowboat by the week and took your chances with the winds and the fog in visiting miles of beautiful wooded shores and picturesque islands."*5  Two of the earliest summer residents of Southwest Harbor, he and Frances bought land in 1884 and built The Ledge, their summer home on Fernald Point Road. He described the site as being near a location, "where now the 'rusticators' come in troops to see splendid sunsets, and to look over the "Jesuits' Field" on the old Fernald farm, with its springs of ice-cold water under the shore, each submerged twice a day with the salt tides and presently pure as crystal again."*6
Dole died in Jamaica Plain in 1927 and was cremated at Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston. His ashes are presumed to have been scattered near The Ledge.

Concerning the eponymous trail, Dole posted a notice in 1903 on a barrier across it informing his neighbors their occasional use was at their own risk and constituted no claim to any lawful or permanent right of way over his land.*7 The Dole Trail still exists, but it lies mostly on private property, as also do remnants of the Dole home and slip. Out of respect for the landowners' privacy I have omitted my usual GPS coordinates.
Dole house foundation and ledge
Dole Slip
It is interesting to note the Doles' son, James, moved to the Territory of Hawaii in 1899, a year after its annexation to the U.S. He established the pineapple industry there and a business later named the Dole Pineapple Company. Charles Dole's cousin, Sanford Dole, was the Hawaiian Territory's first governor.

1 For more on the historic European settlement please see previous blog posts dated 9/27/2012, 6/8/2013, 10/22/2014, and 1/26/2015.
2 A Path Guide of Mount Desert Island, Maine. Waldron Bates, Edward Rand and Herbert Jacques. 1915. Pp. 37, 40 and 42.
3 The number 10 on this map indicated the Dole Trail, as enumerated in the 1915 Path Guide.
4 Walks on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Harold Peabody and Charles H. Grandgent. 1928. Pp. 89 and 90.
5 My Eighty Years. Charles F. Dole. E.P. Dutton & Co., NY. 1927. P. 284.
6 Ibid., p. 290.
7 Hancock County Registry of Deeds, book 398/page 249.