Wabanaki encampment, Bar Harbor, ca. 1887

Contributed by Maine Historic Preservation Commission


Tents behind Ells’ Store in the Bar Harbor Indian encampment when it was situated along Eddy Brook between the shore and Eden Street, from around 1887.

Wabanaki Indians (especially Passamaquoddies and Penobscots) came to Mount Desert Island seeking relief from the confines of reservation life, along with the economic opportunities presented by a popular resort. For them, the island was a familiar place long frequented by their ancestors for fishing, hunting, and gathering. No longer able to survive solely on the old lifeways, Wabanakis began to market their traditional arts, crafts, and canoeing skills to rusticators who visited their tented encampments. At its peak, in 1885, Bar Harbor’s summer Indian village at the foot of Holland Avenue was home to 250 Wabanakis.

The location of the Bar Harbor Indian encampment shifted over the years in response to real estate development and the Village Improvement Society’s concerns about the safety and sanitation of the makeshift village. The greatest number of images of the encampment were made when it was situated shoreside at the foot of Bridge Street, just east of the bar.

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About This Item

  • Title: Wabanaki encampment, Bar Harbor, ca. 1887
  • Creation Date: circa 1887
  • Subject Date: circa 1887
  • Location: Bar Harbor, Hancock County, ME
  • Media: Albumen print
  • Dimensions: 11.4 cm x 22.9 cm
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historic Preservation Commission
55 Capitol Street, 65 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0065
(207) 287-2132

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