Squirrel Island, Southport, ca. 1910

Contributed by Penobscot Marine Museum


Squirrel Island’s origins as a summer colony began in 1870 when a group from Lewiston/Auburn tenting at Boothbay enjoyed a chowder picnic on the island. In that enthusiastic group was Jacob B. Ham, who bought the island that July of 1870 for $2200.

Chartering of the Squirrel Island Association the next year, followed by the construction of twelve cottages, were the first steps in developing the island as a summer colony, A wharf, post office, hotel, chapel, library and recreation hall, then called a casino, followed. By the 1890s large architect-designed houses began to supplant the early small cottages.

The chapel, on the left, was built in 1880 and its steeple replaced in 1915. In the colony’s early years there were weekly summer Sunday services and evening prayer meetings twice a week. The casino, the forth building from the left. was built in 1890. There was no gambling, but summer residents enjoyed whist, euchre and bridge parties, covered dish suppers, dances, operettas, movies, and other activities. A. H. Davenport, a Boston furniture and decorating magnate, gave the Davenport Library, on the far right, to the island in 1905.

In 2020 Squirrel Island has about 100 summer homes. Homeowners have a 999-year lease on their lots and get one vote each at the Association annual meeting.

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About This Item

  • Title: Squirrel Island, Southport, ca. 1910
  • Creator: Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co.
  • Creation Date: circa 1910
  • Subject Date: circa 1910
  • Location: Squirrel Island, Southport, Lincoln County, ME
  • Media: Glass Plate Negative
  • Dimensions: 12.7 cm x 17.8 cm
  • Local Code: LB2007.1.110785
  • Collection: Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co.
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Penobscot Marine Museum
PO Box 498, 5 Church Street, Searsport, ME 04974
(207) 548-2529

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. No Permission is required to use the low-resolution watermarked image for educational use, or as allowed by the applicable copyright. For all other uses, permission is required.

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