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As with many stories of discovery and establishment of civilization, the true first inhabitants of any particular American region are generally overlooked. The probable cause for this is a lack of written history establishing who married whom and when, and how they subsisted. The history of European civilization may be more well documented but the establishment of Native American cultures on Deer Isle is not to be forgotten.
The first people to live on Deer Isle were Native Americans. They are believed to have been here as early as 6,100 years ago. Their descendents are known to early French explorers as Etchemins; some continued to live on the island even after Anglo-Americas established their settlements.
The first European to venture into the region was Estevan Gomez. Gomez, a Portuguese sailor who at the time was working for the Spanish Crown sailed up Eggemoggin Reach between Deer Isle and the mainland in his ship La Anunciada. It was the French who were the most active in the region though, establishing a fort in Castine and intermarrying with the natives. To further illustrate French activity, a body found buried in full armor (believed to be French) was dug up on Campbell Island off Oak Point, Deer Isle.
Deer Isle was settled by English-speaking colonists from New England near the end of the French and Indian war around 1760 (among them were descendants of Scots Covenantor George Gray, who was a Battle of Dunbar (September 3rd, 1650) prisoner of war and Durham Cathedral survivor. Gray's descendents relocated to Sedgewick and Deer Isle, Me). Men from the island eventually became known for their maritime skills, which is reflected in the selection of Deer Isle crews for defenders in the America's Cup of 1895 and 1899. Their ancestors, ironically, didn't come looking for a life on the sea, they were searching for the opposite; a life on the land. The first settlers were interested in establishing farms and their first cabins were built on the northern part of the island following the southerly path of migration from the mainland. The part of the island that would be called Green's Landing and eventually Stonington was the southern most part of the island and therefore the last to be settled after 1800. Green's Landing didn't change much until the granite boom of the late 19th century.
Like many other newly discovered lands, it was only a matter of time before the soil became exhausted from over farming and forest destruction. With an economy based on a dwindling resource, the settlers of Deer Isle and Green's Landing took to the sea. Luckily, this switch coincided with the maritime boom all along the East coast and Deer Isle men became active in shipbuilding, seafaring, and fishing.
That which had been a sparsely populated fishing village underwent a boom in the late 19th century when granite quarrying became a major occupation. Many Europeans, mainly from Italy, were employed and imported from Italy as stone cutters. Some were housed on barracks on Crotch Island while others lived in hotels and large boarding houses built for that purpose. Many of the original buildings can still be seen today although many have been transformed into restaurants, galleries, libraries and shops. All hallmarks of an economy reorienting toward service. Family homes were also built in the same area.
The town of Stonington was incorporated by the Maine Legislature on February 18, 1897. The town was then called Green's Landing which was just a small remote fishing village on the larger island of Deer Isle (Inc. 1789.)
To the west of the main harbor lies what was once called the Steamboat Wharf but is now home to the Isle au Haut boat company. Prior to that it was a sardine factory. Before 1939 when a bridge connected Deer Isle to the mainland, the steamboat wharf was vitally important to the inflow and outflow flow of both goods and people into Deer Isle in general and Stonington in particular. The steamboats would arrive daily from ports such as Rockland which would be transporting goods and passengers from as far away as Boston. This time was the golden age of water based transportation in Stonington. At no other time in its history, or in its future, will the harbor experience marine traffic as it once did.
The harbor has, since her beginning, been filled with Friendship Sloops, operating under sail only. The sloops were used by early lobstermen to haul their traps. The majority of trips focused on the outer islands near Isle au Haut (York Island) to fish during the week, coming into the harbor on the weekends. This all changed with the invention and adoption of the gasoline engine along with new hull designs enabled fishermen formerly gone for many days to now make day trips to the fishing grounds out in Penobscot Bay.
As of 2006, two trends dominate life in Stonington. First, a fifteen year boom in the quantity and price of lobsters has enriched the local fishermen and increased the size of the lobster fleet. Second, a continuing influx of prosperous newcomers has driven up real estate values and led to new cultural and artistic attractions. The long term question is whether the town will be able to remain the political and social home for the local independent way of life, or whether it will succumb to the homogenization found in most upscale coastal communities.
Critiques | Translate
robertosalguero (288) 2007-08-11 18:21
Hello Tom. This is a very characteristic town of NE USA and Atlantic Canada. Beautiful houses by the ocean with amazing views any time of the day. The colours are very nice and show a very natural view of this place. I think the sharpness is not as good as some other pictures but is ok. Nice work Tom.
ls7902 (7348) 2007-08-11 18:47
Thanks for the note & local history. Very picturesque view of the fishing village. Beautiful & colorful big houses & pleasing overall colors. Regards. Latiff.
BettinaMarie (666) 2007-08-11 18:50
What a lovely capture of such beautiful place! Very clear image with perfect color. You notes are so full of history! I love it!
Bettina Marie =0)
ps.sorry I have been gone so long. Back to my old self since surgery on July 16th. I am trying to catch up on everyone's photos....holy cow we post a lot!!! =0)
Greg1949 (9011) 2007-08-11 18:50
om, another beautiful shot of Americana. The colors are great as usual but I especially love the land looking pov on this one. I also expect it looks prety much different at hight tide. Great nore nd a great capture.
emilbo (22616) 2007-08-11 18:52
Magnifique vue du port et de la ville en arrière-plan. La qualité d'image est excellente et les couleurs sont superbes. Très intéressante note aussi.
Zelanda (5692) 2007-08-11 18:55
Estupenda y larguísima nota con la historia de este lugar.
Una bella toma con excelente luz y colores.
jmcl (14535) 2007-08-11 21:27
I think I recognize that distant opera house from your earlier posts ... I love the typical New England scene .. I love the hazy tones of blue and how well the sea and sky are matched .. The thing that struck me is with all these lines .. roof lines .. shore lines .. how many different angles of "level" there are here .. and I think I like what you have done with that issue .. keeping the distant houses level.
wolf38 (31296) 2007-08-11 22:29
Hello Tom. your exemplary and well taken photo is suitable outstanding for trekearth. In addition this instructive and very informative text. Very beautifully. Best regards, Wolfgang.
dhurjati (2709) 2007-08-11 23:27
Very nice POV here.Those beautiful buildings by the side of the sea has added a nice perspective to this shot.Colours are strong and nicely saturated.I like how you composed the snap from sea to the shore,it is a good idea.
Greetings from India,
anducina (8407) 2007-08-12 2:12
Very nice scene, with those white, brown, grey and yellow houses among the green trees on the shore, the blue-green water and those boats. Excellent compo and framing.
snunney (107513) 2007-08-12 2:52
A good composition of this little port with a nice balance between land and water. Very good colours and fine clarity.
evanrizo (456) 2007-08-12 3:36
Hi Tom, you show us here a marvelous place, where is like paradise to live.
A really an idyllic place, with very nice light and very good composed.
jhm (161051) 2007-08-12 3:42
The houses on the slope are almost houses as well as in Belgium in Europe, great cottages for the rich people.
Many thanks for your excellent note about the history of the first foreigner visitors.
Good composition and very attractive for looking.
Have a nice sunday,
JorgeCK (2620) 2007-08-12 4:02
Thanks for the Note.Beautiful shot of the picturesque fishing village. Very good composition and POV. Colors are very nice.
asajernigan (21427) 2007-08-12 7:29
Beautiful photo and a very informative note! I have not been to this part of the country but your photos make me want to plan a trip! Your composition is great placing the boats in the foreground with the wharf and houses in the background. The lighting and colors are great with nice sharpness and detail. The colorful houses add many nice points of view to the shot as well as nice variety.
AROBN54 (11475) 2007-08-12 18:58
Oh, this is a good one, Tom. I can hear the gulls cries and the boats creaking, the waves. I love the soft light and colors in this one. It is like a beautiful seascape painting. Wonderful shot! Warm regards,
plimrn (21344) 2007-08-12 21:18
You've captured a strybook New England harbor here in spite of the difficult light. HLJ, Pat
bracasha75 (24591) 2007-08-13 11:57
Exellent view on Stonington Harbour and on place to...
There is a very rocky coast,right?
clic (18574) 2007-08-15 5:42
The Opera House and all these perched cosy dwellings are of course the symbol of prosperity. Under diffused light, they come out so beautifully and it's easy to see minute details in areas that would be blocked otherwise by strong lighting.
No space lost in your cropping; the fishing boats at foreground and mid plane are quite convincing of port atmosphere.