Decks full of slapping fish; bids for abandoned light houses

Sep 06, 2019

Sept. 11, 1879

Forty-three vessels engaged in catching mackerel were off the Camp Ground one day last week — all slatting in their lines, and filling their decks full of slapping fish. So abundant were the mottled backs that they fairly crowded the coves and inlets, so that when a shark appeared among the fish they would crowd each other out of water. Mr. Rhoads, of Northport, is reported to have caught, in a weir, fifty barrels at one tide. The captain of one schooner, after using all his salt, ran a seine around a shoal of the fish and kept them alongside until more salt came.

How many of our readers know the origin of the name of Primrose Hill? Certainly primroses do not grow there, and we doubt if they ever did. Their absence, however, might justify the name, judging from the inappropriate naming of places now-a days. Hillside cottage is usually found in a swamp, and not an elm is to be found within fifty miles of Elm cottage. But there is, or rather was, a motive, and a romantic one, which caused one of the pleasantest portions of our city to be christened Primrose Hill. In the old Whittier house, now owned by the Alfred Johnson estate, lived “once upon a time” Colonel Daniel Lane, whose only daughter Harriet, was said to have been the handsomest young lady in Maine. In those days Pinafore had not yet come into existence, and the popular song was “The Lass of Primrose Hill.” It ran as follows —

On Primrose Hill there lived a lass,

A sweet and lovely maid.

Not Venus could with her compare

When we her charms surveyed.

An admirer of Miss Lane’s sang this song, or played it upon the flute, or both — every gentleman in those days played the flute — and this personal application of the song gave to the locality the name it now bears.

Sept. 6, 1934

The offer for sale of nine abandoned light houses along the coast of Maine by the United States received nation-wide attention, bids coming from as distant a state as Texas. The amounts offered from $1.00 to $2,250, the total amount offered being $7,039. The highest offer was for the property at Hendrick’s Head, West Southport, which brought $2,250, and the lowest bid was called forth by the Indian Island light at the mouth of Tenant’s Harbor, $205. One bidder offered $1.00 for each of the nine lots.

Grindel Point light, Islesboro, was one of the two properties receiving 12 bids, the highest one ($1,150) being that of A. M. Anderson of 22 Wall street, New York, N.Y.

The highest bid for the tower and building in Rockport harbor was for $1,025 and was by William M. Patterson of Islesboro. Mark Island light at the mouth of Winter Harbor had a bid of $552. The land and house at Isle au Haut, the government reserving the tower, brought a bid of $550.

Compiled from archival holdings by Sharon Pietryka, Reference & Special Collections Librarian at Belfast Free Library.

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