Category: History

Captain Nathaniel Lord Thompson and the Ships he Built

The maritime history of the Kennebunks has been a subject of great interest to me since I started researching it 24 years ago. One of my favorite local sources of reliable information is the 1937 book, ‘Captain Nathaniel Lord Thompson and the Ships he Built’ by Captain Thompson’s bodacious daughter, Margaret Jefferds Thompson. Margaret was...

April 11, 2024April 11, 2024

Architect Henry Patson Clark designed The Colony Hotel

Architect, Henry Paston Clark had a significant influence on the character of Cape Arundel. His “Shingle-style Cottage” designs were cutting edge in his day and were often reviewed in “American Architect and Building News, the definitive architectural journal at the turn of the century. Although he lived in Boston for most of his life, H.P....

April 4, 2024April 4, 2024

Kennebunk Town Halls

The American Legion Dance went late and loud at Kennebunk Town Hall on March 18, 1920. After the revelers finally retreated, Miss Edna Hubbard, a house guest at the neighboring home of George and Sylvia Cousens, finally drifted off to sleep, but she was startled awake again at about 4:30 A.M. by the sound of...

March 28, 2024March 28, 2024

Bertha Smith, leader of Kennebunkport Women

Bertha Smith was born in Kennebunkport before the Civil War, to Horace and Mary A. Murphy Smith. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1881 and taught in local schools during the 1890s. Miss Bertha Smith, Mrs. Gertrude Hanson, Mrs. Hope Littlefield and Miss Annie Merrill went for a ride together on their bicycles. On...

March 21, 2024March 21, 2024

Annie Peabody Brooks

I have been thinking a lot this month about the admirable women I have encountered studying the history of Kennebunkport. I first learned about Annie Peabody Brooks when I read her vivid description of the old Rope Walk that used to run along where Ocean Ave now passes the Old River House. The story appeared...

March 14, 2024March 14, 2024

The Beachwood Dows: Daniel, Orlando, and Francis

Daniel Dow (1828-1878) of Newton, MA built the first summer cottage at Goose Rocks in 1865 on land owned by Kennebunkport farmer, Elbridge Proctor. Daniel’s son Francis (1859-1936) spent his childhood summers soaking in the raw natural beauty of the remote place. He was already 11 years old when the first hotel, The Goose Rocks...

March 7, 2024March 7, 2024

Bickford Island Causeway

Work on the Pier Road Causeway Project has begun. The Town of Kennebunkport will elevate and rebuild the portion of Pier Road between Stone Haven Hill and Bickford Island where tidal flooding issues are increasingly impacting public access to the pier. But it won’t be the first time. Bickford Island at Cape Porpoise was called...

February 29, 2024February 29, 2024

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...

February 22, 2024February 22, 2024

United States Presidential Connections to the Kennebunks

We in Kennebunkport were proud to call the 41st President of United States, George H.W. Bush, our summer neighbor most of his life. His son, our 43rd U.S. President, George W. Bush, now spends his summer vacations in the house at Walker’s Point. You might have even seen our 42nd President, William Jefferson Clinton, playing...

February 15, 2024February 15, 2024

Happy Valentines for 77 Years

Emmanuel Joseph, born in the 1790s in St Ubes, Portugal, came to Kennebunkport in 1817 as a cook aboard a ship commanded by Captain Samuel Pope. The locals felt more comfortable calling the foreigner Joseph Manuel, so that became his name. Shortly after his arrival, Joseph encountered the charming teenage local girl, Sarah (Sally) Wildes....

February 8, 2024February 8, 2024