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'