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Mount Desert Island: Shaped by Nature

Northeast Harbor: From Rustic to Rusticators

Announcement for the Opening of St. Mary's By the Sea, 1882

Announcement for the Opening of St. Mary's By the Sea, 1882

Item 21072 info
Great Harbor Maritime Museum

As the population of the village increased through the 1880's, both summer and year ?round residents realized the need for a village church. Until the 1880's, diligent churchgoers would travel by boat to Southwest Harbor and then walk to church. In 1792, the first church was established at Southwest Harbor, and churches were later built at Manset, Center and Beech Hill. In 1881, after holding services in the living room of Squire Kimball's house, as well as his own, Bishop Doane initiated the concept of building a church at Northeast Harbor. On land donated by Stephen Smallidge and Margaret Doane, the slab chapel was constructed. It was called the slab chapel because it was constructed of large slabs of wood and left rustic. This church was originally thought of as non-denominational, however, when the Bishop declared it to be of the "one true church," (Episcopalian) some of the parishioners left to form their own church. In 1886, this group of people began to worship in the second school in Northeast Harbor, where Wadsworth Park is now. In 1889, on land donated by Samuel Gilpatrick, and with subscriptions of thirty-five local residents and sixty-five summer residents, the Union Church was constructed. The Baptists conducted services there after they formed a group in 1893 and this continued as the primary denomination of many local residents into the 1920's. Prior to St. Ignatious Catholic Church being constructed in 1895, the Catholics also held services at the Union Church. In 1899, Bishop Doane recognized the need for a larger Episcopal Church and began lobbying to build a new church. After much deliberation and multiple sets of plans, the new church was finished in 1902. At that point the Episcopalians also had a Parish House and Rectory built on land donated by Daniel Kimball.


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