Stories of Sullivan & Sorrento
The Wayward Spindrift
When a new boat is built and christened, it is generally a happy time for all involved. But in the case of the Spindrift, no one could have expected it to truly live up to its name! The boat was built in the Machias River in the winter of 1918 with Sullivan to be her home port under Captain Mitchell of Milbridge. Her inaugural trip in...
How Did the Bert Gray Road Get Its Name?
Have you ever wondered who how the Bert Gray Road got its name? Bert Gray's signature, 1915. The Bert Gray Road (Route 200) was previously known as the Franklin Road, or the Franklin Woods Road. This route was established many generations ago, and historically only a handful of families lived along it. This included a branch of the...
Down By the Old Mill Stream
Did you know that one of the most popular songs of the early 20th century was inspired and written right here in Sullivan? “Down by the Old Mill Stream” was originally penned by local barber Frank L. Carleton, who was persuaded to sell the work for $60 to a summer visitor by the name of Tell Taylor, who heard the song while having a...
The Singing Bridge: “Built to Break the Worms’ Teeth”
Why was the Singing Bridge built to 'break the worms' teeth?'" It makes sense if you know the story of the first bridge that spanned the Taunton River between Hancock and Sullivan. Built in the 1820s, the Sargent Bridge fell victim to teredos, also known as "shipworms." Microscopic teeth worked away at the wooden structure until an ice...
Building Sorrento: 1911 – 1971
It’s impossible to think of buildings in Sorrento without thinking about Ed and Clif Hale. Between 1911 and 1971, two generations of Hales built the majority of the summer homes seen in Sorrento today. Charles Edgar “Ed” Hale was born and raised in Brooksville and came to Sorrento in 1911. He began working for the Chafee family. Over...
Wabanaki: People of the Dawnland
Native American Heritage Month raises awareness of the histories and diverse cultures of Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. The Wabanaki people, including the Abenaki, Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Nations, have inhabited the land we now call Maine for over 12,000 years. In Sullivan and Sorrento, we...
Sullivan Ghosts and Other Stories
In the winter of 1799, residents of Sullivan, Maine witnessed a very strange thing. A disembodied voice emerged from the cellar of Abner Blaisdell’s house on the rocky shores of Taunton Bay and announced itself to be the spirit of Nelly Butler, a young woman who had died a few years prior. Over the following months, the ghost of Nelly...
East Sullivan Union Church Replica Repaired by Generous Residents
The Union Church in East Sullivan was built in 1825, burned and torn down, rebuilt in 1858, and burned to the ground in 1973. A replica of it was built in 1975 by the children of Eva Johnson and placed on the site of the old Union Church in 1982. Forty years of Maine winters and blistering summer heat took their toll on the “little...
Children Raised Funds to Honor Horse
There was a time when watering troughs alongside the roadside were common and necessary services, providing water to thirsty animals. One such trough, situated on what is now Route 1 in Sullivan, was built by quarrymen from local granite. In the early 1900s, a group of children in Sullivan who were learning about kindness to animals...
It Took a Village: A Short History of the Clint Ritchie Gymnasium
As Sumner Memorial High School prepared to open its doors in the fall of 1952, the towns of Sullivan, Sorrento, Winter Harbor, and Gouldsboro looked to the new area high school as a promise of better education and opportunities, more than any individual town could afford. However, as the school grew nearer and nearer to completion, it...
“This is a Robbery”: Notorious Art Thief Got His Start in Sullivan
Over fifty years ago, Myles Connor Jr., rock ‘n’ roll singer turned legendary outlaw and suspect in one of the largest art heists of all time, made his first big move in Sullivan, Maine. It was July of 1965, and Connor was visiting family in Sullivan where he had spent many summers growing up. While eating dinner at his granduncle’s...
Alice Turner Curtis, Sullivan-born Author
The Turner House in Sullivan Harbor.Alice Turner was born on September 8, 1860, the youngest child of John and Susan Speare Staples Turner of Sullivan, ME. John, a sail maker, was employed across from their home in Sullivan Harbor on what is sometimes called Little Sail Island. Alice had two sisters—Anna S. who was twelve years older...
The First Sawmill in Sullivan
One of the original proprietors of Sullivan was John Bean of York who came with family members before 1760 to settle here. As an original proprietor, he was granted 200 acres, land around Morancy Pond and land at Waukeag Neck (Sorrento). His children were Samuel, who married Elizabeth Johnson, James, who married Lucy Preble, John, who...
Reverend William E. Foy
Reverend William Ellis Foy(e) was one of the least known yet most significant figures in American religious history to live in Hancock County. William E. Foy was born a free Black in Belgrade, Maine to Joseph and Elizabeth Foy around 1819. Although Maine was a “free” state and there were few Blacks and enslaved people, Maine still had...
The Swiss Chalet and the Manor
In 1886, Clyde Hunt and some associates formed the Sullivan Harbor Land Company. They purchased 500 acres of land in Sullivan Harbor, hoping to sell property and make a good profit. In 1887-1888, they had built the Swiss Chalet Restaurant to attract summer people from Bar Harbor to Sullivan. Advertizing brochures contained information...
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