Kennebunkport History Lost & Found

Today’s Throwback is an update to a post I shared for Veterans Day 2023. I had learned that a boulder at Stone Haven Hill in Cape Porpoise used to have a bronze tablet honoring Civil War Veterans embedded in it. I lamented that the original plaque had been lost for many years.

The Civil War marker had first been unveiled in 1913 by Stone Haven Hotel owner, Justin M. Leavitt, a Civil War Veteran. The hotel burned in 1931 and Justin Leavitt passed away a few days later. The significance of the plaque and the boulder were lost in time. When Stone Haven Hill became the site of the WWII Airplane Spotting Tower, a marker was embedded to the very same boulder.

In the Veterans Day post, I shared the KHS hope that the plaque could someday be found or recreated and returned to its boulder on Stone Haven Hill. Some very generous community members have since stepped forward to help make that happen. We are extremely grateful. I had recently sent them the 1913 unveiling newspaper article that included the wording that appeared on the original Civil War Tablet.

Last week, when I was searching through the President Bush memorabilia in our collection for President’s Day post inspiration, I moved a box of autographed Easter Eggs from the George H. W. Bush Whitehouse Egg Hunt. Under it was a heavy piece of metal labeled with an accession number from 1989. The documentation associated with that number failed to enlighten me. Apparently, someone had left the piece of metal outside the locked door of the Town House School one day in 1989 and left no name or provenance with the “donation.”

When I turned the piece of metal over and read the words inscribed on the front, I recognized them immediately as the same words that had been inscribed on the Stone Haven Hill Civil War Monument. WHAT?!?! I could not be more delighted. Now, with the blessing of the current owner of the boulder, The Kennebunkport Historical Society can reaffix the original plaque where it belongs.

The boulder on Stone Haven Hill right foreground. A schooner delivering coal at the trolley trestle right background. The Casino left background burned in 1915.
This photo was taken at Stone Haven Hill in Cape Porpoise on September 8, 1915. The picture was long marked incorrectly as being taken at the pier where the monument honoring veterans who fought in the American Revolution is located. The boulders are different shapes and there is no water visible directly behind this boulder as there would be at the pier. This is one of the reasons I love studying local history. There is always more to learn. You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it.
Stone Haven Hill in the 1940s when the WWII Airplane spotting tower stood there. Taken from Winkie’s on Langsford Rd. George French photo.
Here is how the boulder on Stone Haven Hill looks now, almost ready to receive the original Civil War plaque. Notice the small vertigris WWII marker on the same boulder.
The original Stone Haven Hill Civil War plaque, lost since the Sone Haven House burned in 1931. Left outside the locked Town House School door in 1989 with no provenance or donor name. Found last week at Kennebunkport Historical Society archives under a box of autographed wooden Easter Eggs from a George H. W. Bush Whitehouse Easter Egg Hunt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.