Past Programs

by | Mar 5, 2021




The Manor Inn and Swiss Chalet

History Hour – May 15, 2024

Sullivan Selectman Norman Bamford presents on Sullivan landmarks the Manor Inn and Swiss Chalet, from their construction in 1887 as part of the Sullivan Harbor Land Company’s vision to attract high society, to the recent demolition of one of the buildings. Long overgrown with woods, this grand property once held immaculate views of the harbor and Frenchman’s Bay, and restaurant patrons were served by girls dressed in Swiss alpine costume.


MYSTERY TUSK: Searching for Elephants in the Maine Woods with Gary Hoyle

History Hour – March 12, 2024

Gary Hoyle is an artist and past curator of the Maine Natural History Museum. He published his book Mystery Tusk: Searching for Elephants in the Maine Woods in the fall of 2022 about his journey to discover the origins of a tusk found in a yard in southern Maine. It was first thought to have possibly come from one of the early 19th century circuses that would tour the coast, which he then researched in depth. But the tusk was found to be much older, leading him to excavate the rest of the remains which became the first woolly mammoth found in Maine.


Sam Younger presents on Grassmere, a cottage in Sorrento that the present owners today call West Cove. While the house is more famously remembered in town lore as the one Frank Jones built for his mistress, another forgotten history of the cottage preceded that scandal. The first owners were a couple named Isaac & Lee Lawrence, and they were responsible for planning what appears to have been the very first — and what was a most intriguing — 1891 wedding held at the then-newly built Church of the Redeemer in Sorrento.

February 12th, 2024




Douaquet: French Acadian History of Upper Frenchman Bay

View the recording for History Hour online by Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society’s Tobey Crawford Connor, who will be presenting highlights from her recent research on Douaquet (alternatively known as Adowaket and Waukeag).
This little-known French Acadian settlement with Wabanaki origins existed along what is now Sullivan and Sorrento between 1650-1750. We’ll also learn how Flanders Bay got its name from a pirate attack dating back to this period. 
January 9th, 2024 at 7pm


Pre-Contact Life of Wabanaki Peoples in the Sullivan Area (Waukeag), Based on Archeological Evidence

An event coordinated and hosted by Frenchman Bay Library and SSHS on March 25th, 2023: Our area has a very rich history that predates European settlers by many thousands of years. Come learn what archeology tells us about how the ancestral Wabanaki lived here and why we should honor their past and present, because we live on their land. Presented by Julia Gray, Director of the Wilson Museum in Castine and former Director of Collections at Abbe Museum.


A Mine, a Mistress, and a Murder: Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society’s History Hour with Sam Younger

Our March History Hour via Zoom with Sam Younger, Sorrento historian, presenting “A Mine, a Mistress, and a Murder” about the dramatic story of the Boss of the Bay Mining Company that existed here in the late 19th century.



February 15, 2023 — Making Maine: Statehood and the War of 1812 with Dr. Joshua Smith

Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society History Hour on Feb. 15th, 2023 with guest Dr. Joshua Smith, Director of the American Merchant Marine Museum. He discusses his latest book, Making Maine: Statehood and the War of 1812, and in particular the role of Paul Dudley Sargent, the Revolutionary War hero who made Sullivan his home during these years.



January 18, 2023–Marlinspike Seamanship with Tim Whitten

Tim Whitten, an expert in the craft of marlinspike and 2021 Maine Arts Commission Belvedere Fellow discusses the history of knot work and demonstrates his own tools and works from his workshop at Marlinespike Chandlery in Stonington, Maine.

To see more of Tim’s work, visit



May 11, 2022–Dressing Garments: The Creation of Form

In this program, guest speaker Vivian Cunningham of the Maine College of Art and Design and the Maine Historical Society will share their experience working with textile collections. Vivian will show the behind-the-scenes creation of stable forms that bring the garments to life, alongside the challenges and successes that follow dressing historical clothing.

To learn more about Northern Threads, visit

March 16, 2022–Sorrento for Sale: The 1927 Land Auction

In 1927, large portions of land formerly owned by Frank Jones in Sorrento were put up for auction. A real estate investor from Harlem in NYC named John Nail made the winning bid on the property. Join Sam Younger as he provides the story about this important bit of Black History and Sorrento. For more of Sam Younger’s research about Sullivan and Sorrento history, visit

February 16, 2022–Wabanaki-European Relations in Downeast Maine, 1500-1790: Todd Little-Siebold explored the seventeenth and eighteenth century history of the region to foreground Wabanaki power and diplomatic success over time, how Wabanaki and French habitant, or settlers, lived side-by-side for one-hundred years, and how that history contrasted dramatically with the experiences of Wabanaki people after English settlement.  


Resources shared by attendees during the program:

Our Beloved Kin, Lisa Brooks
French & Indian Wars in Maine – Michael Dekker
The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright
The French at Pentagoet 1635 – 1674 – Alaric and Gretchen Faulker

Learn more about LD 1626
The State of Maine Legislature
The Wabanaki Alliance about LD1626:’

Additional Resources:
Wabanaki Reach
Passamaquoddy People


January 26, 2022–Stories of the Sea: Sullivan Ships and Shipmasters: Alan Gray shared a selection of stories of Sullivan and Sorrento’s maritime past.


November 17, 2021–Heirlooms Reunited: Bringing Lost Heirlooms to Light. This program led by Pam Beveridge examined several old manuscript items from Sullivan’s past, including a Gordon family Bible and an issue of the Sullivan Weekly Bulletin. * This program was not a formal presentation.* 

April 28, 2021–Sorrento History: The Summer Resort and Doane’s Point. The program by Sam Younger covered the history leading up to the founding of the resort of Sorrento in the 1880s and the history of Doane’s Point.

March 24, 2021–Statehood Achieved: The Sullivan Story. Jeanne Edwards spoke about the Town of Sullivan’s role in Maine’s journey towards and achievement of statehood in 1820.

February 24, 2021–A Tour Through Time: History of Sullivan & Sorrento in Old Photos. Gary Edwards guided the audience through a history of our towns through the lens of historic photos from our collection, followed by a lively discussion (not included in the recording).

Past Programs