This blog highlights the memorials of Acadia National Park. Some of the memorials commemorate people who helped establish the Park. Others honor people who cherished this beautiful area. The blog also presents historical aspects of Acadia NP.
No part of this blog may be reproduced without the author's permission.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Facts Concerning the Cross on Flying Mountain
Since publication of the October 2014 blog
article about the cross on top of Flying Mountain in Acadia National Park,
additional information has emerged. Thanks to Hannah Stevens, archivist at the
Northeast Harbor Library, and a letter she discovered in records of The Knowles
Company founder Belle Smallidge Knowles it is now known the cross was erected
on Flying Mountain in 1917.
The letter, signed by William Draper Lewis and
Lincoln Cromwell, inter alia, states that it was the intent to have a granite
cross built on the mountain to commemorate the 1613 establishment of the French
colony on Fernald Point. However, they felt they needed to test the cross's
acceptability to area residents. They thus first erected a replica wooden
Lewis, a Philadelphian, and Cromwell, a New Yorker,
both Northeast Harbor summer residents, were members of a committee attempting
to acquire the mountains surrounding Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island, ME.
In 1917 Lewis purchased Flying Mountain from the
Fernald family and that same year turned it over to the Hancock County Trustees
of Public Reservations.
Cromwell purchased Acadia Mountain also in 1917. He likewise
then donated it to the HCTPR that year, as a memorial to Rev. Cornelius Smith
and his wife, Mary.*1
Smith-Wheeler Memorial on Acadia Mountain
Lewis and Cromwell were members of the HCTPR. It was
through the land acquisitions of this organization and its gift thereof to the
U.S. Government that Sieur de Monts National Monument was established in 1916.*2
Additional acquisitions led to the
expansion of Sieur de Monts NM and its renaming to Lafayette NP in 1919 and subsequently
to Acadia NP in 1929.*3
Due to the letter we can deduce from whom authorization
was obtained to install the cross on Flying Mountain in 1917. Yet the committee
seemingly never gave its endorsement for construction of the planned granite
cross, as the wooden cross continued on Flying Mountain until its natural demise
in the mid 1920s.
1 The bronze memorial reads, "Acadia Mountain
given to the public in memory of Rev. Cornelius Smith and his wife Mary Wheeler
who were pioneers of the summer colony at Northeast Harbor 1886-1913." Their
daughter was Cromwell's wife, Mabel.
2 The first land gifts to the HCTPR were in
1908 from George and Linda Cooksey of New York and Seal Harbor (Barr Hill and
the Champlain Memorial land off Sea Cliff Drive [now named Cooksey Drive; the
memorial was moved in the 1970s to a spot near the Route 3 entrance to the Day
Mountain path]) and Eliza Lee Homans of Boston and Bar Harbor (The Bowl and The
3 The 114 year-old HCTPR still exists and serves as
the governing body of Woodlawn, the historic estate of
George Nixon Black, Jr., in Ellsworth, ME.