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Mount Desert Island: Shaped by Nature

Charles K. Savage (1903-1979): The View from Asticou

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Asticou Inn, Northeast Harbor, ca. 1925
Asticou Inn, Northeast Harbor, ca. 1925Item Contributed by
Mount Desert Island Historical Society
Asticou Inn, Northeast Harbor, ca. 1885
Asticou Inn, Northeast Harbor, ca. 1885Item Contributed by
Mount Desert Island Historical Society

Charles was thrown into managing the family hotel business with his mother, Mabelle Strout Savage (1877-1965), at the young age of 19 when he was summoned back to Asticou from his post-high school education in Massachusetts due to the premature death of his father, George A. Savage. Taking the reins of the Asticou Inn was not all surprise for young Charles because of his experiences working alongside his father and grandparents in the hospitality business since childhood. However, the intellectual challenge and opportunities of a college education were stolen and Charles returned to Mount Desert in 1922 as a business man with extensive family responsibilities. It was early in this pivotal time back on the island that Charles began making close friendships with many of Asticou’s summer visitors who were educated, intellectually curious and wealthy “rusticators” with a deep and abiding interest in the natural beauty of the island. These summer visitors learned much about the island through Charles’ eye and youthful energy; he self-educated through engaged participation in their interests, intellect, patrician lifestyles, and outdoor focus – a lifelong give and take that helped shape Charles and he in turn used to shape his Asticou.