From Our Collection

THROWBACK THURSDAY By Sharon Cummins The war in Europe didn’t seem like much of a threat to Cape Porpoise when Miss...

Posted by Kennebunkport Historical Society on Thursday, February 13, 2020

THROWBACK THURSDAY by Sharon Cummins As most of you probably know, historical novelist, Kenneth Roberts, was born at...

Posted by Kennebunkport Historical Society on Thursday, February 6, 2020

THROWBACK THURSDAY by Sharon Cummins Today, the Town of Kennebunkport is facing a recycling challenge. Unforeseen...

Posted by Kennebunkport Historical Society on Thursday, January 30, 2020

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

Patten’s Berry Farm in Kennebunkport is about to be history but the history of farm stands at that corner did not begin with Patten’s. Bishop Hutchins and his mother, Bessie ran The Sun Set Farm Stand very near there, for many years starting in 1941.

Luttell S. Hutchins purchased the farm from two daughters of Dana and Martha Stone in 1901. At that time, it included the farmhouse on the hill overlooking the new Cape Arundel Golf Club. Luttell married Newfoundland-born Bessie Halfyard in 1909 and their son Bishop was born ten years later. We have Bessie’s cousin, Robert Halfyard of Ontario to thank for all the photos of the Hutchins Farm in the 1920s and the 1950s. After Luttell S. Hutchins passed away in 1927. Bessie and young Bishop Hutchins carried on working the farm. Bishop built himself a smaller home on the North St. side of the property in 1952.

The late Mary Bryant of the Kennebunkport Historical Society started compiling a list of Kennebunkport houses over 100 years old, in the early 1960s. Bessie Hutchins told her at the time that a Miles Rhodes had built her farmhouse and the old house next door to Bishop’s place, now called the Book Farm. Mary Bryant and her team of historians were able to verify that The Book Farm, was indeed built by Miles Rhodes, Sr. before the town road was laid out in 1755, as it’s mentioned in the Town Book entry. At some point, the Rhodes family moved the Book Farm southwestward over the creek to its present location. Our historians were unable to ascertain a date that Miles Rhodes, Jr. built Bessie Hutchins’ farmhouse. The year 1813, the same year the Book Farm was sold, was assigned to the farmhouse until further proof could be uncovered.

Bishop Hutchins sold the Hutchins farmhouse to Kennebunkport Playhouse Alumnus and two time Tony Award winner, Russel Nype and his wife Dyantha’s in 1971. Local builder and antique restoration specialist, Arthur Hendricks inspected the farmhouse for the new owners. When asked if the old part of the house was Federal, built around 1815, as the architectural details would suggest. Hendricks replied, “No, it’s earlier. They must have gotten richer about that time and Federalized it.” Traces of an old beehive oven clinched it for the builder. Miles Rhodes Jr. did get richer in 1812/1813. His father Miles Sr. died in 1812 at 100 years old and in 1813 the heirs sold his homestead on a 7-acre lot to Captain Jonathan Stone for $600: A pretty penny in 1813.

A few years ago, Don Johnson, who owns the 1747 Abner Perkins house on Locke Street, let me scan some old documents left in his house by previous owners. Among them was a 1788 work order about road repairs on the town road. As a Surveyor of Highways, Abner Perkins was put in charge of rallying the neighbors to contribute either labor or money to the job. Both Miles Rhodes and Miles Rhodes Jr. were required to kick in for the road repair leading me to believe that the Hutchins farmhouse was already standing in 1788. At least two Rhodes houses on the western side of North Street were again mentioned in an 1805 plan to widen the road.

It just goes to show that the documents and pictures left in your attic by previous owners may hold the key to unlock old historical mysteries.

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

William Harrison Larkin Jr. was only 10 years old when he and his family started spending summers at Goose Rocks Beach in 1881. He was the 2nd of 7 children born to Stella Emma Pierce Larkin and her husband William H. Larkin, Sr., Proprietor of Larkin & Company Haberdashery of Worcester, Massachusetts. The Larkin family rented the Emerson Cottage at the site of today’s 278 Kings Highway at the corner of Broadway. What better place and time to coral such a youthful hoard? There were just a few summer cottages on King’s Highway then but Will managed to find a few summer friends.

As a teenager, William Jr. carefully sketched some of the cottages at the beach and the remains of a shipwreck exposed west of the point, where, as yet, there were no cottages. Local farmers and their teams of oxen often collected seaweed to fertilize their crops at the west end of the beach. Will documented that too in his ever-present sketchbook. The Kennebunkport Historical Society has photos of a few pages from that sketchbook to share here today. Students of Goose Rocks history still treasure a detailed map of Goose Rocks that Will drew while on a summer break from his Engineering studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the early 1890s. He graduated in 1893. On July 3, 1894, he and his brother Walter purchased the cottage at Goose Rocks Beach for $725 so the whole family could continue to summer there. William Harrison Larkin Jr. also started “lighthousing” that year. He traveled the New England coast visiting lighthouses and installing and repairing aids to navigation. He was one of the youngest machinists on the job of Master Mechanic but he took it very seriously. In an article he penned for the Journal of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1900, The U.S. Light-House Establishment, he wrote of Lighthousers, “lives depend on their arrival or non-arrival. They must drive over snow-bound roads in the winter, pull a mile or two in a leaky dory, arrive at the station in the dead of night, and, though half-frozen, go at once to the whistle house, work 48 hours incessantly — all of this falls to their lot.”

Will married Cordelia Fessenden of Portland Maine in 1902. William Harrison Larkin III was born a year later. Anna was born in 1906, Mary in 1910 and John was born in 1911. William Harrison Larkin Jr. hung up his lighthousing oars to became a well-known Mechanical Engineer in the Iron Industry, then the concrete industry and finally the rubber industry. He even had a handful of patents to his credit.

William Harrison Larkin, Jr. passed away in 1936 leaving the family cottage to his wife Cordelia, who in turn deeded it to his two daughters, Anna Larkin and Mary McLean in 1941. Unfortunately, their beloved family cottage did not survive the fire of 47.

‘THROWBACK THURSDAY” By Sharon Cummins

My first residence in Kennebunkport was a beautiful old winter rental at Turbats Creek overlooking the cross crik. Twenty years later, that neighborhood still occupies my heart. I learned then, in no uncertain terms, that Turbats Creek is spelled with an “A.” “No, this crik isn’t named after a fish that isn’t even native to our waters!” It’s named after a family who lived in Cape Porpoise in the 17th Century and owned the land that bordered the western side of the creek. Peter Turbat, an Isle of Shoals fisherman, moved to Cape Porpoise in the 1640s. His son, John Turbat owned the land in the 1660s. After John’s death, the land passed to Samuel Wildes and at least some of it stayed in the Wildes family for the next 200 + years. There was no town road down to the creek until 1841. When Turbats Creek Road was finally laid it passed through the lot of John Curtis and the lots of Samuel, James, and Joseph Wildes. Captain Jimmy Wildes was still fishing the creek in the 1930s.
German-born Wilhelm Schmidt bought a house at the creek sight unseen from the wife of a fellow rigger at the New York City Shipyard where he worked in the late 1850s. A doctor had told him his wife was dying of consumption and that she needed country air. Julia Dorothea Schmidt lived happily at Turbats Creek for another 40 some years. She was no shrinking violet. Her son Henry Schmidt was born in Kennebunkport in 1862 just a few months before Wilhelm set off to enlist in the Union Navy during the Civil War. She ran the farm alone until after the war with little Henry on her hip. Henry’s daughter Henrietta Schmidt studied the history of Kennebunkport for most of her life. When she retired from teaching public school, she wrote a local history column for several newspapers in the Kennebunks. Like Kenneth Roberts, Henrietta fictionalized her stories with character development and compelling dialog but her historical research was spot on. In her maturity, Henrietta remembered her childhood at the creek in the early 1900s. “Captain Jimmy Wildes owned one side of the cross crik; the Schmidts owned the other side. We had the crik between us. “The crik was deeper, then. The two-master schooner [Julia D. Schmidt] that my grandfather and father (Henry) had Maling build went into the water 10 tons, and it was moored at the crik. Once a great big horse mackerel, they call them tuna now, came swimming up the crik. Grandpa got him and divided him up among the people who lived here. My father built boats in the red fish house in the winter.” Henry Schmidt was not the only boatbuilder at Turbats Creek. Harry Brooks fished from the creek for 40 years until his doctor told him that his heart was done fishing so he took up boatbuilding at the creek instead making Harry the third generation of shipbuilding Brooks men in the Kennebunks. His father and grandfather had worked at the shipyard of George Christenson in Kennebunk Lower Village.

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

The Oldest Commercial Building in Kennebunkport
Last week’s Throwback Thursday featured the c.1724 Thomas Perkins House, the oldest house in Kennebunkport Village. This week, the oldest commercial building still standing in the village is our focus. The Eliphalet Perkins wharf and store were built c.1775 for the West Indies trade. Perkins ships carried Arundel fish and lumber to the West Indies and returned with molasses for making rum.

In the 1840s, Mrs. Jeffery ran a sailor’s boarding house upstairs in the store. Eliphalet Perkins III and his son Charles E. Perkins, who built the Nott House, owned the business when the Maine liquor law passed in 1851. Schooner Nile, the first Perkins vessel ever launched from the Dock Square shipyard, returned to Perkins Wharf on February 3, 1852, with at least two barrels of rum and two casks of Brandy. Just then, the newly appointed Deputy Sheriff, James Tripp arrived with a warrant to search the schooner Nile. The spirits were dumped in the square. Fines were quietly paid. The influential Perkins name was mostly kept out of the news but not out of Andrew Walker’s diaries. Within a year, Charles E. Perkins and his brother-in-law, Joseph Titcomb had reinvented the company as a coal business and the wharf was expanded for coal storage.

Wheeler & Bell moved into the store after the Dock Square Fire of 1877 burned their original shop across the square. They also opened the Kennebunkport Post Office and an American Express Office on the premises. Wheeler & Bell were plagued by burglars who were, I suppose, enticed by the office safe. In the wee hours of July 24, 1878, bandits broke in. They drilled nine holes in the safe and were about to pack the holes with gunpowder when neighbor Mr. Burleigh Thompson was awakened by the racket and scared them away. Thieves stole safe-breaking tools from Mr. Tripp’s blacksmith shop on Maine Street in 1884 and then proceeded to Wheeler & Bell to try to break open the safe. They were unsuccessful but the safe took some damaging blows. A self-cocking revolver and a bit of tobacco were stolen from the front showcase. Wheeler & Bell finally decided to leave the safe open and post a sign for the scoundrels “Not Locked – Try handle” Mr. Wheeler died in 1891 and Mr. Torrey bought his share of the business, which was renamed Bell & Torrey.

In the early 1900s, Ted Maling and Woodbury Moulton had a meat market in the old store. Then Mr. Tobey had a grocery store and fish market. In the 1950s and 60s, Roy Cluff ran a Fish Market there. He sold the building to Marion Sharpe for an art gallery in 1964. Artist Frank Handlen showed his work there, too. Marion sold to Tom and Dorothy Jeglowsky who ran Kennebunk Bookport upstairs. Mrs. Carey opened the Copper Candle downstairs.

A fire nearly gutted the place on August 25, 1973. Three firefighters were injured. Walter Kubiak, a member of the volunteer Village Fire Company, fell about 35 feet onto some rocks in the mudflats of S-Brook sustaining serious back and shoulder injuries. The fire had started in a wastebasket behind the shop and spread to a propane tank that exploded. Melting wax in the candle shop downstairs made the fire difficult to fight.

The owners restored the building. The Copper Candle is still going strong on the first floor. The much-loved Kennebunk Bookport is gone in this electronic age but to this day, the 1775 EIiphalet Perkins store is the jewel of Dock Square.

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

The Oldest House in Town – Captain Thomas Perkins brought his family to Arundel from Greenland, NH in 1720. Within a few years, he owned about all the land along the Kennebunk River from Bass Cove and Walkers Point. That area includes all of Kennebunkport Village and Cape Arundel today.

His eldest son, also named Captain Thomas Perkins, built the Oak Street saltbox featured in today’s story c. 1724. The oldest house standing in Kennebunkport is now just shy of 300 years old. It stood alone in the wilderness in 1724 still very vulnerable to attacks by the local Indian tribe who had fished the Kennebunk River for thousands of years before the Englishmen “discovered it.”

The younger Thomas Perkins commanded a company of Arundel men in the French & Indian War. He was appointed King’s Surveyor in 1749. As such, it was his job to reserve the tallest and straightest Arundel trees as masts for ships belonging to the King of England. Thomas Perkins collected the selected tree trunks in nearby “Mast Cove” pending transport to England. That same year, Thomas and his sons Eliphalet and Abner, also built the familiar Perkins Grist Mill on Mast Cove. Eliphalet Perkins built a home across the cove where the shipyard would later stand and Abner Perkins, who ran the Grist Mill, built a home that still stands on Locke Street.

Captain James Perkins, inherited the old homestead when his father Thomas Perkins died in 1752. In 1787, the local doctor, Thatcher Goddard, persuaded the captain to temporarily turn his house into a hospital since smallpox had come to Arundel from the West Indies that year in one of his ships. Confronted by horrified villagers, Dr. Goddard saved many lives in this old house by inoculating the inhabitants of Arundel with small amounts of the live smallpox virus, some 9 years before the smallpox vaccine was officially invented.

James would again sacrifice for the good of others in November 1800. He and his son James Jr. were decorated by The Humane Society of Massachusetts for heroic efforts in rescuing and reviving six people from drowning in the Kennebunk River in front of the old house on Oak St.

Captain James Perkins Sr. died in 1825, leaving his house and his share of the Grist Mill to his son Tristram Perkins. Tristram was never married. He ran the grist Mill for many years and lived in this old house until his death in 1880. The house was sold out of the Perkins family in 1882 for the first time in 158 years. The new owner planned to demolish the old house, which looked to be in rough shape in 1882 but by some miracle, it was saved and restored.

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

March is shipwreck-hunting season in the Kennebunks. Every few years, a beach-scrubbing storm leaves ancient timber treasure in its wake on our beaches. Invariably, new local history lovers are born. Over 100 ships that we know of have been wrecked on our coast from Parsons Beach to Timber Island. This number includes shipwrecks documented in local histories, diaries, logbooks, and contemporaneous newspaper reports. The earliest record we have found of a local shipwreck is a 1738 Boston Post-Boy news report of X (number illegible) sloops and 1 schooner “being drove onshore Monday, between Cape Porpus and York Entrance.” In October 1804, Hallowell Packet, Captain Weston, sailed from Marblehead with 20 passengers, 12 of whom were women. All onboard were lost at Cape Porpoise in a storm. The only bodies recovered were the family of Dr. Appleton of Waterville. Today we are sharing a few shipwrecks for which we have photographic evidence; Packet Industry, Bark Horace, Freighter Wandby, Schooner Empress, and Schooner Carrie G. Crosby. We have also shared the stories of two wrecked vessels that were eventually saved and one we have yet to learn the details about. Do you know her story?

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

The ‘Early Photographers of the Kennebunks’ slideshow I presented last summer was limited to 19th-century practitioners for the sake of time. That meant I had to leave out my very favorite local photographer, Byron J. Whitcomb. His photographs are natural and evocative. He captured people laughing, shopping, and relaxing in ever-changing mediums.

Byron and his lovely bride Inez, a talented photographer in her own right, purchased the photography business of Lawrence X. Champou at the corner of Main St. and Fletcher St. in Kennebunk in 1902. Without a local reputation, the Whitcombs struggled to keep their new business afloat.

A May 3, 1903 fire destroyed the shoe factory, which was the largest employer in town. It also consumed the light plant and many of the businesses around the bridge over the Mousam River. No lives were lost but the impact on the economy of Kennebunk was considerable. B.J. Whitcomb rushed to the scene of the fire with his camera and captured the devastation in panorama. Sales of the resulting prints were brisk. He also sold portraits of a cat that had miraculously survived the blaze. This photogenic feline became a symbol of hope for the future of Kennebunk. The Whitcomb’s reputation was secured.

In 1906, while B.J. and Inez were building a new and improved studio shop on Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport, the Lumiere brothers of Lyon, France were patenting a process to capture color images on glass slides called Autochromes.

Tiny grains of transparent potato starch dyed orange, violet and green were mixed together and dusted onto small glass plates. Layers of emulsion and sealers were applied to the mosaic of transparent color. When an image was photographed through the potato starch filter, complimentary colored light would pass through each grain while all other light would be reflected. The image was inverted and the resulting glass transparency was sealed with a protective piece of glass. The process was expensive and impractical for professional photographers, whose bread and butter came from volume reproduction. Each autochrome was one-of-a-kind and could only be fully appreciated when light was projected through it.

In 1985 photo historian, Alan Johanson purchased a box of fifty B. J. Whitcomb Autochromes at an antique store in Amarillo, Texas. He was overwhelmed by the artistry of the images of Kennebunkport in the early 1900s. John Wood, in his book ‘The Art of the Autochrome: The Birth of Color Photography,’ describes Whitcomb as a master of the art. He writes “there is no one in photography whose work is exactly comparable to Whitcomb’s.

The Kennebunkport Historical Society has several of B.J. Whitcomb’s treasured autochromes and dozens of his glass plate negatives in their collections. Search your attics. Maybe you have an original Whitcomb Autochrome!

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

Picture this! It’s August 20, 1970. Our tall blond, blue-eyed, 54-year-old photographic guide, Stephen Moore Johnson, has just adopted Kennebunkport as his new hometown. He’s taking a stroll around Dock Square with his camera. Thanks to his extensive 1993 donation of photographs to the Kennebunkport Historical Society we can stroll through this frozen moment in time with him today.

Stephen M. Johnson led an interesting life. He was born and raised in Chicago. At 21 he moved to Fairbanks Alaska to attend the University of Alaska. He successfully put himself through college by mining for gold, graduating with a degree in Geology on May 19, 1941. He was 1 of 35 in the graduating class that year and 1 of only 3 majoring in Geology. His number came up for the draft that August. Steve spent World War II with the United States Navy in the Pacific Theater and stationed in Washington DC with his new wife Mary Catherine Nelson, from Chicago. Records of his life during the next 31 years are sparse as he was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency but we do know he earned the Certificate of Commendation for meritorious service in 1963 and the Career Intelligence Medal for exceptional achievement in 1973. He had already retired to Kennebunkport before our own George H. W. Bush became Director of the CIA. Funny how so many retired United States Intelligence officers ended up in the Kennebunks.

The Johnsons lived in the Josiah Linscott House on Pearl St just next door to Tory Chimneys until 1982. He served on the Kennebunkport Shade Tree Committee and was a fan of the Kennebunkport Dump Association. Who wasn’t? Stephen Moore Johnson passed away at the age of 90 at Virginia Beach in 2007.

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

Tory Chimneys, the 3-story house tucked away between the middle of Elm Street and the middle of Pearl Street has a fascinating history; Not only because it was just the seventh house built in Kennebunkport Village but because of the array of interesting people who have owned it since Marblehead Sailmaker, Benjamin Coes built it around 1791. So much for the myth that the chimneys were painted with a black band around the tops to secretly express the owner’s sympathies toward the British during the Revolutionary War.

Benjamin Coes had a sail loft on the top floor of his house. It was in that sail loft that Joseph Brooks, an intellectually curious 12-year-old sailmaking apprentice, taught himself to read. In an 1882 interview, Brooks related a childhood memory of finding a tattered bible on a beam in Benjamin Coes’s sail loft. “He rubbed the dust from it, put it in his pocket and in due time absorbed its contents into his mind and heart.”

Capt. Joseph Brooks later earned his nickname “Old Probabilities” by pioneering in the field of weather forecasting. His persistence in the face of skepticism, even among his co-owners at the Portland Steamship Packet Company, preserved profit and lives.

Joseph married Sarah Coes in 1837. She was the daughter of Sailmaker Benjamin Coes. After a long and successful career, Capt. and Mrs. Joseph Brooks retired in 1867 to the home in Kennebunkport that they had both loved as children.

Maine State Historian, Henry Sweetser Burrage and his wife Ernestine lived in the house at Pearl and Pleasant known as Homeport during WWI. In 1917, they purchased Tory Chimneys to be used as a guest house. Instead, Ernestine Burrage, who was Chairman of the Kennebunkport Chapter of the Red Cross, allowed the ladies of her chapter to gather there 3 times a week to roll bandages for the soldiers injured in battles overseas. It became the headquarters for the Kennebunkport Red Cross. After the war, Ernestine nearly doubled the size of the house by attaching it to Albert Welch’s house next door. She was probably the one who had the chimneys painted and gave the house the colorful if misleading, name it still carries today.

Henry and Ernestine’s very interesting daughters, Mildred and Madeleine, aka Bob, continued to own the house until after WWII. Mildred was an artist/activist and Bob made gold and silver jewelry. Bob was also a pioneer in the growing Maine Tourmaline obsession. She took her own pick out into to Oxford County and collected stones to ornament the jewelry she made. The Burrage sisters sold the house to the James Macnaughton Thompson family in 1946.

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

Despite gloomy predictions by new-enterprise naysayers, the Kennebunk and Kennebunkport Railroad became one of the most profitable branches on the Boston & Maine line. It was constructed by local men in 1883 and ran from the Kennebunk Depot off Summer St, down along the eastern side of the Mousam River to Parsons Station, then to Kennebunk Beach Station, diagonally across the Sea Road from the Wentworth Hotel and to the little Grove Hill Station just off Boothby Road. The branch terminated at the Kennebunkport Depot, which was actually in Lower Village just below the bridge to Kennebunkport.

The first railroad company to run tracks through Kennebunk was the Portsmouth, Saco and Portland Line. The company opened a depot in West Kennebunk in August of 1842. It was the only depot in town for 30 years. Competitors, the Eastern Railroad Company and later the Boston & Maine Railroad Company, leased rights to run their trains on this line until the early 1870s when PS&P tried to renegotiate the 6% B&M lease at a higher rate. Rather than pay the increase, B&M Railroad laid its own tracks through Kennebunk. The new Kennebunk Depot off Summer Street served tourists lured to Kennebunk Beach and Kennebunkport by elegant new hotels and cottages.

In 1881, local capitalists devised a plan to deliver tourists even closer to seaside businesses by building a 4 1/2 mile railroad branch along the shore. On June 18, 1883, Kennebunk Town Clerk, Andrew Walker recorded the first passenger run to the Port. More hotels were built at Kennebunk Beach and Cape Arundel to take advantage of the improved access. B&M reported in 1887, that the 4.5-mile railroad was already one of their most profitable branches per mile.

As automobiles became more common, ridership on the line declined. When the Federal Income Tax Law regarding leased railroads changed in 1919, the Kennebunk & Kennebunkport Railroad officially became a subsidiary of the Boston & Maine Railroad Company. Against the wishes of local businessmen, the branch was abandoned on September 8, 1926.

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

People have been fishing out of Cape Porpoise since long before Plymouth was settled in 1620. Whether from dories, schooners, or trawlers; whether for cod, bass, mackerel, herring, or lobster, fishermen played an important role in the making of Kennebunkport. The annual Lobster Pot Christmas Tree at Cape Porpoise Square and Our Forebears of the Coast, the heroic size statue on Kennebunkport Village Green, are monuments to that legacy.

Cape Porpoise lobsters were first shipped out of state in the 1840s. The invention of the well-smack, a boat with a tank built into the hull through which saltwater could flow, made it possible to keep lobsters alive long enough to transport them from the Maine coast to Boston and New York. Captain Chapell, sailed his 50-ton smack “Hulda B. Hall” back and forth between Cape Porpoise and Boston Harbor in the early 1840s. By then, the fishing industry here mostly consisted of a handful of fishing schooners that made one 3- or 4-month cod-fishing trip each year.

In the 1850 census, about every household in Cape Porpoise included at least one fisherman. Stephen Hutchins and Edmund Ridlon engaged in the lobster business during the 1850s. Between them, they managed 20 pots.

The Nunan family moved to Cape Porpoise in 1862. That year there were three commercial fishing vessels here. The 14-ton Hattie Ellen was owned by Richard J Nunan. The 16-ton Rescue was owned by Payson T. Huff. The 9-ton Julia, owned by Benjamin Wakefield, had a crew of only 3 or 4 men.

After the Civil War, lobstering exploded. Fifty traps tethered together were worked by one man. Resort hotels and big city dealers bought all the large lobsters they could get their hands on and the canneries at Eastport paid good money for lobsters weighing as little as ¾ pound.

The schooner Carrie Nunan was built in 1868. By 1904 the Nunan Fleet consisted of nine large fishing schooners. There were also about 300 dories in Kennebunkport that year and one auxiliary gasoline trawler owned by Merton Hutchins. As the 20th Century progressed, lobstering began to take precedence over fishing in Kennebunkport.

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2019
I hope you will indulge me for making an extra post this week in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Penobscot and Passamaquoddy families from Indian Island in the Penobscot River, occupied land on both sides of Ocean Avenue at Cape Arundel every summer for almost 50 years. The Rancos settled first near Picnic Rocks in 1878. The Mitchells set up camp on Emery Point the following year. Both families later camped at the mouth of the Kennebunk River along with the Shays, the Neptunes, and the Nicolas, who first came in the summer of 1882. At first, they lived in tents but as time went on they built more permanent wooden structures. They made a good living making and selling sweetgrass baskets for the tourists. Louis Francis and Joseph Ranco, both Old Town Penobscot Indians, made birch bark canoes every summer near Government Wharf. Ranco is credited for making the first canvas canoe and patenting several canoe improvements over the years. Thanks to Joseph Ranco, Kennebunkport was considered a canoe-making center in the early-1900s
“Indian Village” was torn down by landowner John Peabody in 1936.

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

My love affair with ‘My Love Affair with the State of Maine.’
I’ve been thinking a lot about Goose Rocks Beach this week. I do every October when I’m reminded of the October 1947 fire that devastated almost everything east of the Proctor. This week, when we have finally reached the end of a divisive court battle that has caused uncharacteristic tension between neighbors; I want to celebrate what makes Goose Rocks Beach such a splendid community. What better way to celebrate than with the beloved book of Madison Avenue graduate, Scotty Mackenzie? If you have not yet read about her retail adventures at Goose Rocks with Dorothy Mignault, get thee to the Louis T. Graves Library. It’s a true story, though some of the names have been changed just for fun.

The real Dorothy Mignault, Scotty’s partner at the Colony Store and Casino, grew up playing on Goose Rocks Beach. She was born Dorothy Cornock in 1908, just a month before her mother Lydia passed away. Dorothy’s father, Sidney Warren Cornock was a vaudeville actor-singer-songwriter known by his stage name Billy Curtis. He apparently recognized that his lifestyle was not suitable for his newborn daughter and left her to be raised by his childless sister Annie and her husband Dr. Rodrique Mignault. The Mignaults summered in Goose Rocks Beach to be near Warren and Annie’s sisters Alice Jeffery and Edith Cornock. With all of her advantages, not the least of which was an array of loving aunties, Dorothy grew up to be a successful Madison Avenue Lawyer.

“What happens when two enterprising young women give up their Madison Avenue salaries, leave the glamorous whirl of New York behind, and move up to Maine to become proprietors of a country store? That’s what Scotty Mackenzie and Dorothy Mignault did back in the 1940s, and Scotty’s spirited account of their often hilarious setbacks and triumphs has been a well-loved classic ever since,” reads the back cover of 1997 edition of My Love Affair with the State of Maine by Gertrude Mackenzie with Ruth Goode. Many thanks to the late John Pinel for his amazing Goose Rocks Beach database.

“THROWBACK THURSDAY” by Sharon Cummins

Birthday Parties – There’s been a lot of talk lately about plans for the Bicentennial of Maine’s Statehood next year. I got to thinking about how Kennebunkport celebrates important birthdays.

The 300th Anniversary of the establishment of Cape Porpoise as a proper Massachusetts town was celebrated in costume by folks some of you might remember. Fortunately, local news photographer, George Stevens, was around to capture some of the festivities in 1953.

Cape Porpoise had been informally settled for decades by 1653, under the King of England’s proprietorship of Sir Ferdinando Gorges. After Gorges died, the neighboring colony of Massachusetts Bay began imposing their jurisdiction ever northward. The towns of Kittery and York submitted to Massachusetts in 1651 but the commissioners, wary of continuing upon such a primitive road, temporarily returned from whence they came. They braved King’s Highway into Maine again two years later but were only able to get as far as Wells. Twelve Cape Porpoise men were persuaded to make the trip to Wells, take the Freeman’s Oath and sign the Act of Submission on July 5, 1653. The town of Cape Porpoise, later known as Arundel and eventually as Kennebunkport, was formally born.