Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Many years ago I had remembered seeing what looked like it might of been an old trail just before Aunt Betty's Pond and had always meant to return to the area and check it out.  Yesterday I finally did do just that,  and I was surprised that the old trail led to the Eagle lake road and clearly was once an entrance point to the carriage roads.  I say this for two reasons, first, there is the remains of an old iron gate like the park service used to shut down sections of the park in winter time.  Second, the road on the Eagle lake Road end is blocked by several large granite blocks.
We followed the trail from the carriage road end, and it soon came to a brook, and a section of the trail was under water on the far side, but we decided to press forward to where the trail was no longer under water.  The further we went the better the trail became until it widened out into an old road. 
Once at the Eagle lake road we could see the long section of guard rail leading uphill toward the  Acadia National park headquarters, so the guard rail ends not too far from this abandoned road.  Thye entrance to the old road also sets down an embankment so you may not be able to see it while driving past in a car.  but its not that far of a walk from park headquarters.
There is no place to park by this old road, but if there was, this would be a real short cut to Aunt Betty's pond. 


Once past the brook we came to this cool arch.

Here the path widens into an old road.

Here the old road ends at the Eagle lake Road - notice the section of old gate post on the left.

Aunt Betty's Pond carriage Road - Acadia National Park


I would call this more of a path than a trail.  You enter Park Headquarters off the Eagle lake Road to the far right, go to the stop sign, and look for a paved path on the right beyond the stop sign.  This threw me off because I was looking for a dirt path, but the first section of the path is paved.  The paved path takes you quickly to a small field with a generator, along with several small storage units or sheds.  Here the path turns to dirt and crosses one edge of the small field to a series of steps that lead down to a make shift bridge that connects to the Aunt Betty's Pond Carriage road.
So if your parking your car at Park headquarters, this short cut can really save you time walking to Aunt Betty's Pond.


On the Carriage road end this make shift bridge kind of gives away the fact that there just might be a path there.

In the photo above you can see some of the stone steps leading to the small field.

In this photo you can see the storage areas near on end of the field.

This photo shows the paved section of the path between the field and the Park Headquarters parking lot.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


At the intersection, a right hand turn quickly came out well behind Park Headquarters at a kink of car graveyard of sorts, other cars further back included an older ambulance.  At first we had no idea where we were at, there were cars, trucks and machinery all around the place.  But once we got around the corner we knew it was well behind Park Headquarters.

How would you like to change a wheel on this thing.....not sure this would come in handy in a high speed chase.
As I have said many times, often when you go on a search, no matter how well you research it, you often end up finding something you were not counting on, as was  the case today.  Went back to the Brewer Ice Company area for more photos, located parts of an old rusted truck.  Decided to go explore the area around the stone bridge, when close to the intersection there we spotted what appeared to be a path leading up into the woods.  We followed it and it soon came out by the Eagle lake road, with an old paved road running to the left - it begged to be followed.
It is really a short section of paved road that quickly comes to a storage area used by the park Service, mostly piles of granite blocks and a storage trailer.  But just before we arrived there, we made note of a very well worn trail which entered the woods, so we returned back to that worn path.  This path was not your average abandoned trail, this was a well worn and well maintained trail, brush trimmed back, fallen limbs and trees removed from the trail, well kept up - we knew we had a good find.
Secret Park Ranger trail - Eagle lake - Acadia National Park

We arrived at an intersection and my son said we should go right, but I over ruled him and we went left.  Even though we were passing through deep woods, the trail was amazingly kept up and soon we came to the Aunt Bettys Pond Carriage Road.  We looked at the path we had just stepped off of and it was hard to tell there was even a path there.  And directly on the other side of the carriage road the path continued down through the woods until we came to the Eagle lake carriage Road, we looked back and again could hardly tell a path was there.  Directly on the other side of the eagle lake carriage Road the path continued down to the edge of Eagle lake - but why?
We retraced out way back to that intersection where my son wanted to go right, and followed it.  A short ways through the woods we crossed a small wooden bridge, and a short ways beyond that we came out behind the Park Headquarters, with one sing post that read, "Park Employee Eagle Lake Path."
It was than that I started thinking about how this well maintained path simply ended at the edge of the lake - why?  I remember looking across the lake, there was a clear view of the Boat landing, as well as much of the shoreline on the other side of the lake.  Could this be a look out point where rangers could secretly scan the edge of the shoreline with binoculars, keeping an eye out for anyone violating the NO SWIMMING law that applies to Eagle Lake?  Clearly this well groomed and well worn trail runs from Park Headquarters to the edge of the lake for a reason.
One thing is for certain, this is an unmarked trail and not easy to find, with only one trail sign by the park Headquarters, way out in the rear and around a corner where a large number of park trucks, plows, and other equipment is kept.  We even saw an old ambulance back there.

by Eagle Lake bridge
Latitude  44 22' 38" N
Longitude  68 15' 12" W
Trail by Old Road
Latitude    44 22' 35" N
Longitude  68 15' 22" W
Latitude    44 22' 31" N
Longitude  68 15' 21" W

Trail by Eagle Lake Bridge (unmarked)
Abandoned Road
Abandoned Road - Park Storage Area Ahead

Trail from headquarters to lake

Here the trail crosses the Aunt Betty's Pond Carriage Road and continues down to the Eagle lake Carriage Road.  Even though the trail is well worn, it is still hard to see from either of the Carriage Roads.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


To begin with, the day begun with a trip to Eagle lake in search for the exact location where the steamboat use to dock at, close to the area where the dam is today.  We did find a lot of bricks scattered about the edge of the lake not too far from the dam, along with pieces of metal in the water, and a couple sections of granite blocks with a thick iron bar coming out of them, but that was it.  From the dam area there is a worn path along the edge of the lake which takes you to where the bricks are.
But anyone who has conducted one of these searches knows all too well, you often end up finding something you had no intention of looking for, as was the case today.  As we walked along the carriage road heading for the Eagle lake boat landing, I stopped to take a quick photo of a stone bench which over looks the lake.  My son said he saw what appeared to be part of an old foundation, to the left of the bench but further back toward the woods.  In the photo below you can see what caught his attention to the left of the stone bench


.Buildings that were once located near the head of the lake included the curran House, The Eagle Lake House and the Brewer Ice company.  There was also once plans to build a third Gate House there to go with the Jordan Pond Gate House and the Brown Mountain Gate House.  That plan however fell through, mainly because there would of been stables with horses not far from the town's Drinking water supply.  I have often wondered if there might be a sketch of what that thrid Gate House would of looked like.
close up view of the foundation, large sections of wall can be seen further in the trees
So once we got close to that small section of foundation we could see large sections of wall piled up further in the trees.  The photo below appears to be of a large flat slab of granite that appears to have been a step in front of a doorway.

So in the photo above, you can see this foundation is not too far from the short section of road leading to the boat landing.  At the base of a small hill further behind the foundation we found three large rusting metal containers that looked like they might of once held gasoline or something else.

The photo above was taken from behind the stone bench with sections of the foundation not far from the bench.
There is also a lost abandoned trail not too far away, which was named the Curran Trail back in the day.  It got its name because the trail began not far from the  the larger Curran House.  Sites on line claim the trail can no longer be found, but we were able to locates sections of it which ran very close to the water along the right hand side of the lake.  We did have to make our way around large sections of the trail because the trail had become so over grown in areas it was impossible to follow it, but once we got around the over growth areas, we were able to once again find and follow sections of the worn path.


The Mount Desert Island Historical Society says that the Brewer Ice Company began harvesting ice from Witch Hole Pond in the 1800's and later moved to Eagle Lake.  The building at eagle Lake housed about 4000 tons of ice, with some 6,000 pounds of ice being taken from the lake each day.  Frank L. Brewer and his father Daniel Brewer had first begun harvesting ice on Witch Hole Pond, but after a few years moved their operation to Eagle Lake.  On eagle Lake ice was harvested over a two to three acre area.  It is said that each section of ice harvested weighted some 235 pounds per block.
During the harvesting of ice from the lake about 45 workers are employed.  The remains of the concrete foundations of the Eagle Lake ice houses (shown below) are at UTM: 19T 0559790, 4914024; Lat./Long.: N 44°22′37.3″ x W 68°14′58.1″.
What really surprised me was when I saw those photos of the buildings remains, they matched the photos I had taken.  For some time I have been interested in locating an old ice house in Bar harbor, haven't found the location yet, but this find at eagle Lake was pretty good.
I have always had a fondness for ice houses because growing up my parents owned close to 175 acres of land deep in the country.  We hand built two log cabins on the land, the first log cabin being about half a mile back in the woods.  We had to cut out a road to a small field where the cabin was built.  The cabin at first was one room with a wood stove and an old fashion frig that kept foods cold by placing blocks of ice in it.  A second room was later added and some of my best childhood memories are from the endless hours of exploring those woods and fields.
When my parents divided the land in half and sold the half with the two room log cabin on it, we went to work building another log cabin, much larger than the first.  It had two upstairs sleeping areas with a large dining room and eating area downstairs with a kitchen area.  Water was hauled by bucket from way back in the woods from a spring.  My father cut the logs and trimmed them and us kids dragged them through the woods to build the new cabin.  And when completed the same wood stove and frig from the first cabin where hauled to the new cabin, where we continued to place large blocks of ice in the frig to keep our food cold.  So this find turning out to be an old ice house  makes it that much better of a find.
It is interesting that on a side street in Bar Harbor, named Brewer Avenue, is where the Brewer Ice House is located today.  I believe they rent out rooms today, but at one time ice was sold there, and I have a feeling it may of once been connected to the Brewer Ice Company.  I have read where they had an office on Cottage Street.
Rusted Parts in woods not far from foundation

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Today Abbies Retreat is the name of a sun poach but that wasn't always the case.  Back in the late 1800's and early 1900's Abbies Retreat appears on old maps, and from what I can tell was the name of an area where house lots were for sale.  The land was owned by a Charles T. How who  was  a Boston real estate developer and lawyer.   At one time he was also one of Bar Harbors largest land holders.
GPS for Woodbury Park is 44 23' 21" N latitude and 68 13' 18" W longitude
In the area of Abbies Retreat is a small triangle of land where the towns smallest park is located, named Woodbury Park, which seems only to exist so we never forget the name Charles How, since the park is in his memory, as a large statue tells us.  However the statue itself is a bit of a mystery, the park is in his memory yet the statue is of a women and three young children with no explanation on the statue.

The statue reads "To Charles T. How - the donor of Woodbury Park - 1915."  The only other writing on the statue is the name of then Scullptor, Partridge - 1915.  This was a summer resident named William Ordway Partridge.  And along one side of the park is a short section of road named How Road.  Some how the statue did something most of the areas mansions could not do, which was to survive the fire of 47.
I am not sure if this is the smallest park in the state, but it has to be pretty close to it.  As far as Howe Park Road - the entire road can be seen in the photo below and that has to be one of the shortest roads, at least one of the shortest roads I have ever come across.

(if you turn off of West street Ext. and onto Bloomfield road, drive until you reach the stop sign, the old entrance into the park is right there on the left.  Right now there is a giant dumpster type metal container right in the middle of the old road.  A short ways in the path becomes a road.)

Just around the corner from Woodbury Park is a narrow dirt road, which is one end of the Woodbury Road, so not sure exactly where the name Woodbury Park and Woodbury Road came from, but I am pretty sure there must be a story behind it.
The reason for bringing up Woodbury Park is because one of the main ways into Acadia National Park today is up West Street Extention, but that wasn't always the case.  Back in the late 1800's and early 1900's West Street Extention did not even exist, in fact today's West street ran from the town pier up until Holland Ave where it stopped.    So West Street did not connect to Eden Street back than.  Another interesting piece, back than Eden Street was named Duck Brook road.

So the park service had to have another entrance point from town, and it was up Highbrook Road, running past one side of Woodbury Park, where it continued to an intersection which is still there today.  At the intersection, to the right is a few trailers, across the roadway to the right are more trailers, but straight ahead is the start of an old road, and that road was once the main way into the park back in the day.
Above is a photo of the intersection of Chaplain Road and Bloomfield Road, the GPS for that intersection is 44 23' 22" N Latitude and 68 13' 29" W longitude.  That large metal crate straight ahead has set there for a few years, and the abandoned entrance into the park begins right behind the crate.  Starts as a narrow path following the edge of the woods before widening out as a road.  The photo was taken standing on the Chaplain Road looking across the Bloomfield road. 
If your starting out on the Duck Brook Road end, its 44 23' 24" N latitude and 68 13' 39" W longitude.

As we walked the old road, some places it was dirt, other places it was paved, and near the start of the road it is more like a well worn path which soon leads to a wider road.  We followed the road until it came out onto the Duck Brook Road, just as the map shows.  It can seem confusing looking at the map because a number of roads or streets are either missing or not there.  The start of the Duck Brook  Road for instance is not there because there is no West Street Extension.

Here road turns back to worn path just before connecting to Duck Brook Road.
To locate this abandoned entrance into acadia National Park, follow West Street Ext. and park at the start of the Duck Brook Road - this end of the Duck Brook road is blocked off and closed to traffic.  Walk down the road and follow the granite blocks on the right until they end, a worn path begins right there, and a very short ways as it moves to the right turns into a wider road.  In fact, as your following the granite blocks, if you look down into the woods on the right side of the road, you should clearly see the abandoned road.  Locals still use this as a short cut into the park.

"Schistostega Cave." of Bald Porcupine Island

  The following story concerns a deep cave on Bald Porcupine Island, which I had not heard about until now.

Report Rare Moss In Deep Cave On Bald Porcupine Island
The Bar Harbor Times;  July 24, 1962

Attention was brought this week to a little known geological attraction on Bald Porcupine Island when a group of scientists, headed by Dr. Philip R. White of Jackson Laboratory staff, explored "Schistostega Cave,"  or goblin's gold.
Personnel of the Expedition consisted of twelve scientists and students from the Jackson Laboratory, the Mt. Desert Island Biological Laboratory.
Dr. White's report of the unusual and interesting expedition follows;
"On the South face of Bald Porcupine Island, just at the edge of the 180 foot cliff and about a third of the way up the face there is a small but deep cave, known to a few of the more venturesome small boys of Bar Harbor but unknown to most of their elders.    In this cave is found an extremely rare and startlingly beautiful "Luminous" moss.  The moss forms patches on the rocks which in the semi-darkness of the deep cleft glow with a brilliant green light from thousands of tiny lenses like so many cat's eyes, or the most modern o0f roadside reflector signs.  Anyone who has seen it will never forget the experience.
The group went out in Leonard Youngs boat and after failing to effect a landing in the surf below the cave circled the island and went ashore in the calmer harbor waters just north of the breakwater.  With 150 feet of 3/4 inch rope furnished by the Park Service they worked their way about a mile through the woods to the top of the cliff above the cave.  The rope was tied to a tree  and than lowered over the precipice so that it hung across the mouth of the cave.  Jim Armstrong, one of the summer students, slid down the rope hand over hand but we doubt he would try it again.  The rest climbed down the less precipitous hillside nearer the breakwater, worked their way around the shore to the shingle below and than climbed up the rope the forty feet or so to the cave.
The cave itself, which appears to be a fault in the rock partly cleared out by a glacial stream, goes back at least 100 feet into the hill.  The boys who went furthest in with flash lights, still could not see the end of the cleft. About 80 feet from the mouth of the cave a cross had been scratched on the rock and there was evidence of someone having dug below it (hidden treasure, Indian burial or just small boys?)  Dr. Robert Spiers of Jackson Laboratory acted as official photographer and took pictures both inside and  outside the cave.  The scientists returned with specimens of the moss, photographs, some sun burn and sore muscles, but a great deal of satisfaction.
The cave is an interesting part of Bar Harbors many sided attractions which deserves to be protected.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


The Maine Memory Network says "In 1900 Colonel Edward Morrell of Philadelphia made the park grounds on his land available to the newly founded Horse Show and Fair Association in Bar Harbor."
In the early 1900's horse races were also held there, with the race trace being at the location of where Jaclson Labs is located today.  Robin Hood Park also had a  campground, located on the grounds of today's Bear Brook Picnic Area in Acadia National Park.  On a tip, we visited the picnic area and walked into the woods at the far right off the picnic area.  In a short time we located a number of standing fence posts that were once connected with that race track, as well as a number of posts either leaning or laying on the ground.

We followed the fence posts all the way to the rear of the buildings on Jackson Labs property.  It was pretty cool knowing we had located a historic site in the middle of nowhere and that after all those years a number of the fence posts were still standing today.
BEAR BROOK PICNIC AREA - Once home to a campground connected to Robin Hood Park

At the United States History website I found the following, "Colonel and Mrs. Louise Drexel Morrell built St. Edwards Convent in 1916 and gave it to The Holy Redeemer Church. Col. Edward Morrell and Louise's likenesses can be seen in stained glass windows in the chapel on the second floor. Louise Morrell was a sister to St. Katherine Drexel, who was canonized in 2000. The convent is now the home of the Bar Harbor Historical Society Museum."
From the book, Bar Harbor in the roaring Twenties, it says the town helped create the Bar Harbor horse shows as a way to attract people to the area.  It goes on to say "Summer Resident and horse lover
REMAINS OF ROBIN HOOD PARK FENCE - in woods behind Jackson Lab

Philip Livingston stepped in as President and used his blue blood connections to ensure that high society would patronize the event."  With his leadership the the Bar Harbor horse shows went on to become one of the premier events along the East Coast.
The book also states that Robin Hood Park was also where the Morrell estate was located.  It is interesting to note that many of the winners of the Bar Harbor horse shows went on to the National Horse Show which was held in Madison Square Garden, so you can see that Robin Hood Park was a pretty big deal back than.
In the book, "Indians in Eden: Wabanakis and Rusticators on Maine's Mt. Desert" it says Edward Morrill made his land at Robinhood Park available to the Bar Harbor horse shows that were taking place at the horse track at Kebo Golf Course.

the book states that during the 1890's, Kebo Valley grounds were developed to include tennis courts, croquet lawns, a ball field and a golf course, as well as a race track where horses from the Pulitzer family competed for the coveted "Cottager's Cup."  It states that members from the Sears and Van Nest families, among others, attended these events.  It also goes on to say that for a dozen years the Robin Hood Park area was home to the Bar Harbor Horse shows.  These horse shows continued for many years, with a young son of John D. Rockefeller - David Rockefeller riding his pony Sunset in the 1925 "Fancy Dress" Competition.  It goes on to state that ten year old David won the event.