In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Mount Desert Island: Shaped by Nature

Rusticators come to MDI

The mid-1800s brought about change to Mt. Desert Island. Artists, including Frederick Church, came to the island to visit, and took away beautiful images of places on MDI. As people in far a way places began to see these images they decided to visit MDI for themselves. Boarding houses were built to accommodate this new influx of summer visitors – often referred to as “rusticators”.

In time these rusticators bought land of their own and built large homes around the island.
There were many well known individuals, including George Dorr and Charles Eliot, MD Who chose MDI for their vacation homes. This population of individuals built their own clubs, such as Kebo Golf Course and buildings, such as the Building of Arts, in Eden. They were instrumental with the development of Lafayette Park, now known as Acadia National Park.

The late 1800’s and early 1900’s saw the building of large hotels and many large summer “cottages”. This time period is sometimes referred to as the heyday of the island. Wealthy families including the Vanderbilts, Astors, Rockefellers and Fords spent their summers on MDI.
Locals found employment with this growing summer population.