In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Mount Desert Island: Shaped by Nature

They Should Have Constructed Their Buildings On Wheels

Land and Natural Resource Use and Development Patterns of the Savage Family in Northeast Harbor Through Seven Generations

Text by Samuel Savage McGee, April 2013

Images from the collections of Mount Desert Island Historical Society & Northeast Harbor Library

Members of the Savage family have lived in and around the neighborhood of Asticou in Northeast Harbor, on Mount Desert Island Maine through seven generations (going on eight) and for over 200 years. Each generation has developed, used and changed the land, natural resources and buildings in the Asticou neighborhood to suit the specific needs of their times.

The land and buildings have undergone almost constant re-purposing through the years and are an outward expression and extension of the ambitions and hopes of people within this family through the generations. Some of these uses and expressions are profound and striking, others more mundane and prosaic.

Usage patterns in this neighborhood have ranged from purposing the land to serve basic human needs of food, clothing and shelter, to harvesting and developing the land for commerce and trade taking place both on land and at sea, and still further to developing and protecting areas of land and natural resources within the neighborhood for public benefit through the creation of botanical gardens, parks, museums, and trails.

It is somewhat unique in the context of the larger United States culture and history for many members of one family to stay anchored in one geographic location through so many generations. We will take advantage of this length of stay by one family in one place and examine the lifestyles of the Savage family in Asticou over the generations.