TOWN OF BAR HARBOR HISTORY

MUSEUM NEWS:
Check here for schedules and special events. Calendar page

Email-Us

   

 

Originally incorporated as the Town of Eden, the original document signed by Samuel Adams in 1796 and a warrant calling the first town meeting are on display, the town's name was changed to Bar Harbor in 1918.

Bar Harbor's fascinating history as a summer resort began long before Champlain's visit in 1604. The Abnakis were the original summer people. In the 1850's, painters such as Frederic E. Church, Thomas Cole, Fitz Hugh Lane, William Hart and Thomas Birch popularized the area thru their exhibits of the island's beautiful mountains and seascapes. The first Hotel on the island was built in Bar Harbor by Tobias Roberts, the Agamont House in 1855. Alpheus Hardy was the first summer resident to build a "cottage" called Birch Point in 1868. More and more hotels and cottages were built as people "rusticators" came to the island by train and the Mount Desert Ferry to dock at Bar Harbor.

The land boom continued until the 1880's when such notables as Joseph Pulitzer, William Proctor, Mary Cadwalader Jones, Frederick Vanderbilt, George Vanderbilt and Evelyn Walsh McLean came and built magnificent "cottages". When you visit the museum library you can see pictures of these and many more of the summer "cottages".

It was at this time that Boston native George B. Dorr worked tirelessly with Charles W. Elliot and later with John D. Rockefeller Jr. to bring about the National Park, which was organized in 1916 as Sieur de Monts monument. The name was changed in 1919 to Lafayette National Park and in 1929 to Acadia National Park. George B. Dorr was the first Superintendant of the Park. There is a permanent exhibit of Mr. Dorr that is worth checking out.

ADMISSION IS FREE