Penobscot Marine’s 2012 History Conference

Oct 08, 2012
Courtesy of: Penobscot Marine Museum Belgrade Lakes has seen part of the summer tourist economy for many years.

Searsport — Local history will come alive Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 and during the 2012 History Conference hosted by the downtown Penobscot Marine Museum. This year's conference, “Summer Folk: The Tourists of Penobscot Bay,” will run the gamut of all things summer folk —- from earliest beginnings of the summer folk phenomenon to the impact of summer folk on many aspects of Maine as we know it today.

On Friday, participants will gather at 5:30 pm in the Main Street Gallery for an opening event including a screening of “In Our Wake: Maine's Maritime Heritage on Film.” Produced by Northeast Historic Film for its 25th anniversary, the film explores Maine's nautical past with highlights from home movies, travelogues, silent and talking movies from the Northeast collection.

On Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the conference will explore the history and impact of tourism in Maine with historians and experts. Earle Shettleworth, Jr., Maine State Historian and the director of Maine Historic Preservation Commission, will discuss the Samoset Hotel, Maine's premier coastal resort hotel in the early 20th century.

Alec Brainerd, founder of Artisan Boatworks in Rockport and the builder of classic wooden boats such as the North Haven Dinghy, Dark Harbor 12-1/2, Dark Harbor 17 and Dark Harbor 20, will speak about the boats that got summer folk out on the water.

Pommy Hatfield will tell the story of a planned community on Dirigo (also known as Butter) Island for genteel Bostonians at the turn of the last century. Hatfield's grandfather George Harriman and his brother John envisioned a summer community of clean, wholesome outdoor living in cottages and tents, where dogs, intoxicating liquors and commercial activity were prohibited. What happened to their dream?

Professor Nancy Alexander is the archivist at the Islesboro Historical Society. She will discuss the development of the Islesboro Land and Improvement Company and the interrelation between the summer folk and year-round islanders.

Eleanor Motley Richardson grew up summering on North Haven and captured the humor, drama and adventure of life on a small Maine island in the book “North Haven Summers.” Her talk brings those stories to life with excerpts from oral histories, images borrowed from family albums and her enthusiasm for and memories of the island that reunited extended families every summer. It is this enthusiasm that turned many of North Haven's summer folk into year-round residents.

The registration fee for both days is $75, $60 for museum members. Registration includes dinner Friday night; and breakfast, lunch and refreshments on Saturday. Single-day registrations are also available, and discounts are available for students and teachers. For more information or to register, call 548-2529 or visit historyconferencepmm.eventbrite.com.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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