View at Crescent Beach, Owls Head, ca. 1920
The lighthouse and sandy beaches at Owls Head have attracted summer visitors for generations. At Crescent Beach a summer colony began to take root in 1895 when local fish dealer and farmer Fred Smith built an open dancing pavilion.
He began serving fish chowders made with milk from the cows he stabled out back. Soon he added a roof to the pavilion, built a large dining room and kitchen, installed one of the first telephones in town, and constructed a long pier so the steamboat could land.
His business became so popular that he built the boardinghouse that is shown in this photo, flanked by cottages. By 1900 the Crescent Beach Inn also had a bowling alley, shooting tables, and billiards tables.
Smith was instrumental in extending the electric trolley line from Rockland and Thomaston to Crescent Beach, and he also built the road along the beach.
Rusticators as well as local families built the cottages in the early 1900s. Crescent Beach's heyday lasted until about 1930.
New owners revived the Inn after World War II, and it attracted guests from all across the country. The building is now gone, but the cottages have been refurbished, and Crescent Beach is again a popular summer destination.