Perry's Nut House, Belfast, ca. 1935

Contributed by Penobscot Marine Museum


Eleanor Roosevelt liked to stop at Perry's Tropical Nut House in Belfast and the College Club Inn in Searsport on her driving trips to the Roosevelt summer home on Campobello Island, New Brunswick.

While she enjoyed shopping for gifts, she was undoubtedly attracted to the curiosities that made the store famous: taxidermied 16-foot, 2,300-pound Florida alligator; gorilla, giraffe, eland, oryx, gnu and lion from darkest Africa; a Rocky Mountain goat; and displays of exotic nuts that rivaled the Smithsonian's collection.

Irving L. Perry, who owned an interest in pecan groves in Florida, opened his Nut House in 1926 with a carload of nuts shipped by rail from Florida. He located his new business in the East Belfast building in which he had previously operated a cigar factory.

Soon he was also selling Brazilian nuts from the Amazon, coconuts in their husks, and curios from his extensive travels.

Joshua Treat bought the business in 1941 and added a giant man-eating clam, curios from the South Pacific, carved elephants, and a horseless carriage to the attractions. The store sold English bone china, Indian baskets, Maine souvenirs, and unusual items that couldn't be purchased elsewhere.

Treat sold Perry's Nut House in 1974. It closed in 1997, and his menagerie was sold at auction. New owners have retrieved some of the animals, and a large carved bear now welcomes customers.

One of Perry's elephants sits atop the Colonial Theater.

View/Add Comments

About This Item

  • Title: Perry's Nut House, Belfast, ca. 1935
  • Creator: Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company
  • Creation Date: circa 1935
  • Subject Date: circa 1935
  • Location: Belfast, Waldo County, ME
  • Media: Glass Negative
  • Dimensions: 12.75 cm x 17.75 cm
  • Local Code: LB2007.1.100222
  • Collection: Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Co.
  • Object Type: Image

Cross Reference Searches

Standardized Subject Headings


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.

How to cite content on this site

Please post your comment below to share with others. If you'd like to privately share a comment or correction with MMN staff, please send us a message with this link.