Throwback Thursday

ARUNDEL WHARF

A lovely new shop, La La Luna has opened in the very old building on Ocean Ave at the edge of Arundel Wharf. It got me thinking about how much this town has changed since Daniel Walker built it before 1785. Daniel inherited the whole area from his father Gideon Walker in 1778. He built a mansion on Pearl St., a wharf on the Kennebunk River, and a yellow store on the wharf . In 1799, Daniel Walker sold his “old mansion” on Pearl St to his brother in law, Benjamin Stone and moved into the Cup and Saucer House...

‘Freak Week’ 1926

Something was amiss with the cosmos during the third week of July 1926. The temperature hovered near 100 all up and down the eastern seaboard and as far west as Ohio. All but convicted murderers were released from the stifling prisons in North Carolina where temperatures reached 107. Hundreds slept out in the open on the Boston Common. Just before sunrise on July 18th a blinding bluish light filled the cloudless Maine sky from Dexter to Saco. The flash was immediately followed by an explosive sound that awakened the whole City of Portland. Vivid lightning, hail, and torrential downpours followed....

Early Kennebunks photographer, Aaron B. Houdlette

Aaron B. Houdlette, He was born in Dresden Me and took lots of early photographs of Richmond Me, across the Kennebec River. He came to Kennebunkport in the early 1880s, after being a professional photographer in Boston for 20 years. Houdlette was still working summers in Kennebunkport until two years before he died in 1909 at the age of 78. We have lots of his photographs at the Historical Society. This first Houdlette picture was taken from Lord’s Point looking toward Boothby’s Beach in Kennebunk. That’s the Ridgewood Hotel standing proud in the background. It burned to the ground in...

Goose Rocks Beach by Any Other Name

Last week’s THROWBACK THURSDAY about the name changes at Kennebunk Beaches invited lots of comments and questions. Thanks for that! I love hearing about your experiences and your knowledge of our history. I also heard from people who were curious about how Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport got its name and if it was ever known by any other name. But of course, it was! Goose Rocks Beach takes its name from two clusters of rocks between high and low water at the beach which were called the Goose Rocks for at least the last 170 years. Before the beach...

A beach by any other name…

Dare I broach the contentious subject of the names of Kennebunk Beaches? When your use of the name, “Mother’s Beach” evokes an alarming reaction from some of the local “old timers,” you may assume they are having a hard time parting with the name their mother called it by, “Kennebunk Beach.” But this argument did not begin during our lifetimes. Long before the Parsons family built their homes on Crescent Surf, their beach was called, Hart’s Beach. We all call it Parsons Beach now. When Richard Boothby and his swashbuckling bride Mabel Littlefield moved to the Kennebunk Beaches in 1730,...

Kennebunkport’s Masonic Temple

The cornerstone of the new Masonic Lodge was laid at the site of the new building next to Robert and Earnest Benson’s Blacksmith Shop on Temple St on Saturday, October 26, 1929. Everyone gathered at the Olympian Club House, the temporary home of Arundel Lodge 76. A line was formed. The grand officers and members marched to the site of the future building. Judge Harold E. Cook of Gardiner, Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge of Maine laid the 12x12x3 inch corner stone over a copper box which contained past records of Arundel Lodge from the date of its charter...

Atwater’s Edge in 1925

Inventor Arthur Atwater Kent introduced his first major invention, the Unispark Ignition System in 1906. Before that, automobiles had to be started by cranking an ignition mounted on the front of the hood. The driver would then jump into the car and hope it continued to run long enough to get the motor into gear. Kent’s invention enabled the ignition to be engaged comfortably from the driver’s seat and was an immediate success as automobile companies clamored to improve the mass appeal of driving. In 1910 the Kent family bought The Nesmith Cottage beside St. Ann’s Episcopal Church at Cape...

Prohibition in the Kennebunks

This morning I’m sharing photographs from the Kennebunkport Historical Society’s Salt Magazine Collection. The Salt Institute was located in Herbie Baum’s Boatyard in Kennebunk Lower Village in the 1970s when under the direction of Pamela Wood, the Kennebunk High School students interviewed Henry Weaver, the Southern Maine Federal Prohibition Agent. Wearver helped to bring down the Kennebunk Rumrunner Racket during National Prohibition, which led to the demise of the connected rackets along the coast of Maine. Henry told the students all about his days of chasing bootleggers and fighting curruption from a Law enforcement point of view. The students also...

First Edition of Kennebunkport in the 1920s

The Kennebunkport Historical Society is celebrating the decade of the 1920s this month. All my THROWBACK THURSDAY posts in July will include Kennebunkport pictures and events from the 1920s. 1920 The decade started out with a bang. On foggy January 1, 1920, two three-masted schooners, Charles H. Trickery and Mary E. Olys, got tangled up together on the rocks near Goat Island Light. Holes were punctured in both hulls. The Chas H Trickey was later refloated but the Mary E Olys was a total loss. Two weeks later the eighteenth amendment to the federal constitution went into effect, making it...

The Boston & Kennebunkport Seashore Company 1872 promotional photos of Cape Arundel

The Boston & Kennebunkport Seashore Company was the group of New England men who incorporated in 1872 to develop five miles of coastline from Cape Porpoise to Lord’s Point into a summer tourist colony. To entice prospective cottage builders, the Seashore Company commissioned The Moulton Brothers of Salem, Massachusetts to take a series of stereoscopics of the principals posed before all the scenic beauty #kennebunkport Cape Arundel had to offer. The first stereo card here, (#1) is a candid shot of the Company men pretending to stroll about on Colony Beach. Their jubilant wives had joined them in the second...

The Burleigh S. Thompson Cottages

Kennebunk-born Burleigh S. Thompson moved to Boston as a young man. He eventually became a wealthy dealer in tea, coffee, and cigars and married Harriet Gove of Cohasset, Massachusetts in 1854. Burleigh and Harriet were already living in the c.1800 Perkins House in Kennebunkport Village by 1880. They moved here from Cohasset Massachusetts to be close to their only child Hattie, who in 1879 had married the successful Kennebunkport Sea Captain, Daniel W. Dudley. Descendants of Ephraim Perkins finally sold Harriet Thompson the classic riverfront homestead overlooking Dock Square in 1888. The Thompsons tore it down and built a “modern...

The Lyric

The iconic red towered building at the downriver side of the bridge in Kennebunkport was built by antique dealer, Fred B. Tuck in 1901 as the Colonial Inn. The building didn’t have a tower then and it was painted green. It was a combination tearoom and antique shop with a fancy soda fountain. By 1908 the soda fountain and the antiques had been cleared out to make way for the first movie house in the Kennebunks. The Bijou Theatre was owned by the Acme Amusement Co. The familiar tower was added to the movie house within the first few years....