Friday, October 20, 2017


The Building of the Arts was built with the summer population in mind and had the backing of some of Bar harbor's wealthy citizens, including George B. Dorr, who is often called the Father of Acadia National Park, Mr. Vanderbilt and Mrs. Rober Abbe. along with over a dozen others.    One Mr. Guy Lowell of Boston Massachusetts was the architect charged with the task of designing the building.  The building was said to have cost "a good  many thousands of dollars."  The structure was completed in the years 11906 - 1907.

If it were not for old photos, it would be hard today to imagine just how beautiful the building was.  It's roof had red tiles that were designed just for the building.  It featured ten columns that were said to be the largest columns ever turned in Maine, with each column being 24 feet high and three feet in diameter.
The base of the building is of concrete and is on the plan of a Greek temple with steppe base very carefully carried out.  The auditorium was said to be small for that time,  70 feet by 33 feet, and had a total seating capacity of 300.  Large windows allowed the daylight to flood in while giving those seated inside great views of the outside.
When the Building of the Arts iopened its doors to the public for the first time on June 13, 1907, the show featured Emma Eames, who was at that time one of the world's leading lyric sopranos.  Over the next 35 years the Building of Arts held concerts and shows by Ernest Schelling, Paderewski, Walter Damrosch, dancer Ted Shawn, Josef Hofmann, and many others, including celebrated stars from Hollywood and Broadway.
The Surry Players often put on shows there, and one show included a young actor named Henry Fonda.  The building also hosted many serious lectures and art exhibits, and was home to the than well attended Bar harbor Sweet Pea competition.
 The photo above gives us  some what of a view one would of seen from the Building of the Arts site.  Back than I am pretty certain many of the now large tree's would not of been blocking much of the view as it now does. 
Perhaps one of the most famous people at that time to make use of the building of the Arts was the renowned dancer  Vaslav Nijinsky, who had been sent to Bar Harbor to spend the summer here at the Malvern.  He would often go to the Building of the arts to practice his dancing.  No record has ever been found of him actually performing here, though.
Once World War 2 came along, the building fell upon hard times, in part because of gas rationing, which saw the stream of summer visitors dry up.  For some time Rockefeller tried to keep the shows going, but by 1944 he decided to sell the building to Consuella de Sides, though on a second account it lieys Earl D. and Charles A. Holt as purchasing the building for a sum of $305.24.  Four years later they are said to have sold it to Consuella de Sides,  whose stated goal was to once again restore the building of the Arts back to the glory of its hey days.  That dream ended in October of 1947 when the Great fire raced through the area, leveling the building.

Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor was founded in 1888 and is the eighth oldest club in the United States. Among the celebrities who have graced its fairways are President William Taft, Hall-of-Fame golfer Billy Casper and the legendary Walter Hagen. Hagen’s score of 67 stood as the course record for 50 years, and he called the signature eighth hole “one of the toughest par 4’s I have ever played.”  And while on vacation here President Obama played golf here.
The nearby Kebo Golf Course in those days featured golf, horse shows and tennis.  The golf club itself attracted many a famous person, one being President Taft.  It was at the "Elbow Hole" where President Taft  carded a 27 in the shadow of the Building of the Arts.  The "Elbow Hole" today is the 17th hole.

 To the right of the cross walk is a large stone with the words Strathlden Pathwhich marks the original starting point of the Strathlden path.  Today that trail begins along the One Way section of the Park Loop Road, just past the Kebo Mountain Trail.  The section of the trail between the Cromwell Harbor Road and the Park Loop Road was abandoned many years ago, most likely because the Kebo Golf Course was expanded, or perhaps they just didn't like a path cutting through the course any longer.
Strathlden path. - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
Once you know where to look for the location of where the building once stood, finding it is fairly easy.  Turn off of the Eagle Lake Road - route 233, onto the Cromwell Harbor road near the Kebo Golf course.  Continue down Cromwell Harbor Road until you get to this cross walk, to the left you can see an old wooden fense and a subdivision sign touting house lots for sale.  Just to the right of the paved road leading into the subdivision is a small field where you can see piles of debris, which is what remains of the building of the arts.  as you get closer you can see the entire foundation with dirt piles in it.
Sadly, as we were taking photos today, several people were standing higher up the banking overlooking the site, with what appeared to be a set of blueprints they were looking at.  Some where in the near future they may well be a house built on this site, which means the remains of this once historic building will be carted off and the site leveled - I hope that's not the case, but as they say, you can't stop progress.


Sunday, September 17, 2017


 We just added several links to some really nice free old maps online, some you may of been to, others may be new - check em out.


So this evening we headed over to Kebo Golf Course to once again search for the lost remains of the Building of the Arts.   We believe we finally have located the site and below are three photos we took after sunset. 

So I recently had some problems with my blogs on Blogger, people contacting me that one blog disappeared, others saying all my blogs went down for a short time, and I been trying to get to the bottom of it.  I was told someone had been attempting to hack into them, and was blocked.  But today, in part, Blogger had this to say;
"Upon further review we have determined that your blog was mistakenly marked as a TOS violator by our automated system."  So it would appear my problems were caused by an automated system or computer program, which targeted me as breaking the rules of the site when I in fact was not breaking any rules.  Interesting.  At least they told me they were sorry about this.

revisited the Green Mountain Railroad Trail today, as soon as we reached the tiny pull over and looked across the park Loop Road we noticed right away that some one had cleared out some branches and brush as to fully expose the starting point of the  My son wondered if perhaps the Park Service might of done it, maybe  getting ready to open the trail.  I told him that would never happen for a few reason;  1st;  it was never an official trail, 2nd; all those railroad spikes sticking up out of the granite pose a health risk if you fall upon one.
The condition of the trail today was really the best it has ever been in, mainly due to the  dry spell.  Areas of the trail that have always been extremely slippery were dry and we were able to move right along.  I stopped and spent some time taking photos and video of the section of the trail with the built up railroad bed.  At my second favorite area of the trail I did video and photos once again of the only section of rail along the trail.  When the trail ended we simply walked straight ahead a short ways through the woods to the Cadillac Summit Road, a short ways from the peak of Cadillac Mountain.

Spent yesterday evening getting some GPS numbers for the following trails - Compass Harbor, Dorr Bike Path, and Jackson Lab-Bear Brook Picnic area Path.  I was surprised to see just how good of shape the Dorr Bike Path was in,   I wish we had left a little earlier in the day, would of loved to walk the dry brook up to Huguenot Head.  It is the route the old black and white trail took, we hiked down it but never up it, and now that we know for certain that there is a cave up there somewhere, it's enough to keep you awake nights just thinking about it.

I was walking down the Cromwell Harbor Road the other day when I noticed a large stone on the side of the Kebo Golf course that had been engraved.  In all the years I have walked that route, I had never noticed the stone before,  and it was engraved "Strathlden Path."  It is an interesting find because today this trail or path begins along the one way section of the Park Loop Road, just past the Kebo Mountain  Trail.

Years ago a number of trails use to have their trail heads located a lot closer to town
It is interesting to note that a section of abandoned trail was once located across the roadway from the  Strathlden Path and Kebo Mountain Trail.  Clearly it would appear the Strathlden Path began at one time off of the   Cromwell Harbor Road, which makes some sense if you have studied old maps.
The gorge Trail once began off of the Eagle lake Road, close to the Cleftstone Road.  So did the Cadillac Mountain North ridge Trail  also begin in this area.  These trails ran from Eagle Lake road through the woods over to the Mountain Ave. street, before coming to an intersection and going off in different directions.
If the Strathlden Path began where that stone is located, it would of run right past the old Building of the Arts which was once located on the golf course.  As far as the old section of the gorge Trail and Cadillac North ridge trail goes, there is a well worn old trail which begins off an old abandoned road - the road begins directly across the road from the Cleftstone Road.  And just like on the old maps, it runs over to Mountain Ave, with one leg of the old trail running up toward the Cadillac North Ridge Trail.
Stone Steps Across road from Kebo Mountain Trail, now part of a new trail.

Cleftstone Road also was where some of the old abandoned trails once began.  At the corner of Cleftstone and Eagle Lake Road the old Bracken Trail once began.  further along the Cleftstone Road the Great Hill summit Trail began.  And at the corner of Cleftstone and West Street Ext. yet another trail up Great Hill Began.
Engraved Rock on Right

It was over twenty years ago that I first located a set of old stone steps along the one way section of the Park Loop Road.  The steps are located directly across the road from the start of the Kebo Mountain Trail.  The good news is that a few years ago the Park Service used those steps as part of a new trail they built which runs past the steps, connecting the Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail to the gorge Trail.  Sadly, they chose to destroy the old abandoned trail that ran from those steps straight down the hill side, where it crossed a brook and came to the edge of the Kebo Golf course.
That section of trail they destroyed was either one section of the Strathlden Path or a lost section of the Kebo Mountain Trail.  I say destroyed because if you stand at the bottom of those steps today you would never believe that a trail ever ran straight down through the woods there, yet it did.  They covered it over with dirt and did some plantings over it and now it really is lost to future generations.
As you can see from the photos I have added, there is a cross walk along the Cromwell Harbor road that is right near the engraved rock.  The map has the GPS numbers for the rock.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


This old abandoned water reservoir was once a key part of the of the Bar Harbor Water company.  Today its steep inclined walls hold tree's and brush,  and sets back on a slope that many pass by each year without never knowing its there.
To reach it, drive up West Street Ext. - across from West Street in Bar Harbor.  Follow it into the park, the first right after entering the park is the Duck Brook road.  Park there, since the road is now blocked to cars.  Walk down Duck Brook Road a short ways and you come to a stone arched bridge.  After passing under the bridge,  you will see a well worn path running up the side of the bridge to the road above - that is not the path you want.  Instead, between that path and the road, climb up the hill side, you will soon come to a well worn path that takes up to the water reservoir just ahead.
In the nearby woods close to the site are a couple of remains of buildings that were also at the site.



Above is a view of the stone arched bridge from the hill side.

Duck Brook road Parking
latitude       44 23' 19"N
longitude     68 13' 36"W
stone arched bridge
latitude       44 23' 27"N
longitude     68 13' 45"W
Old Reservoir
latitude       44 23' 28"N
longitude     68 13' 48"W

Sunday, September 3, 2017


I found this nearly 30 years ago by accident, and while it is not abandoned or lost, many people still don't know about it.  It is located just outside of Seal Harbor along Peabody drive.  It is located along a carriage road that runs along one side of Little Long Pond.  It is worth noting that bikes are not allowed on the carriage Roads in this area, so you either rent a horse or walk in, but the Boathouse isn't a really long hike and as you approach it, you will begin to think you are approaching a very nice private house.  It is, of course, a boathouse, where the Rockerfeller's stored their boats.
If your approaching from Seal Harbor, just keep to the main road and it will leave town and pass along the Seal Harbor Public beach.  Continue to drive until you reach another a second area that is close to the water, there will be a small parking area and a large white gate and a smaller white gate, with a sign warning you that you are entering private property, that your car can not block the entrance, and that bikes are not allowed on the Carriage roads there.  At the start there is a narrow trail to the left, I believe that comes to a dead end warning you not to go any further, so you want to pass through the smaller gate and follow the Carriage Road straight ahead.  When you come to an area with a path leading down toward the pond on the left, take it, it will lead you to the gate house.  It looked so fancy the first time I went there i almost didn't approach it, believing it was indeed a private home on the water.

The boathouse has a deck on three sides and you can look in through the windows to see the inside of it.  Now you may own a boat or two, but I am pretty certain you don't own a boathouse as fancy as this one to store your boat in.  Also, there are some really nice views of the pond as well.


Huguenot Head in Acadia National Park

Some people believe by hiking the Beachcroft Trail they are actually hiking over the summit of Huguenot Head as they follow the trail to the summit of Champlain Mountain.  In fact, if you look closely at your map, the Beachcroft Trail does come close to the summit of Huguenot Head, but than turns and skirts below the summit before continuing on to Champlain Mountain.  I had always thought this sudden turn in the trail was a bit strange, and one day after getting into studying old maps, I soon realized that  not one but two trails use to lead up to the actual summit of Huguenot Head.  As it turns out, those trails were abandoned by the Park Service.

One of these trails was labeled as the Black and White Trail,  which begins in an area behind the beaver pond, and followed an old dry brook up between the summits of Huguenot Head to the right, and Champlain Mountain to the left of the pond.  I have hiked this once, many years ago, this section of the Black and White arrives at a well worn stretch of dirt path between the two summits, with the Black and White trail going left up to the summit of Champlain Mountain.  This section of the Black and White trail is not part of the Beachcroft Trail, this is abandoned today, but you can find rock piles on Champlain Mountain which take you down a steep section to the worn dirt path, I have also hiked this section before and was pretty well marked with rock piles.
So where the Black and White path arrives between the two peaks, by following the worn dirt path right, it takes you up to the summit of Champlain Mountain.
If you look at the old map you will not see today's Beachcroft Trail on it, that came about at a later date.  On other old maps that do show the Beachcroft trail, they reveal a hidden secret, at one point there use to be a short section of trail the did take people up to the summit of Huguenot Head, that short section of trail was also abandoned - in other words, there is no official trail to the summit of Huguenot Head today.....why?
I have heard for years that there was a cave up there the park service didn't want people going to.  One site that covers dozens upon dozens of caves in Maine lists a cave on Huguenot head, they have named it the Huguenot Gulch Cave, but give no details about it.  This confirms what I have heard over the years and explains why trails to the actual summit of Huguenot Head were abandoned.
The old map shows another abandoned trail which runs down to route 3, not far from the Dorr mountain Ladder Trail.  I was able to locate this trail as well and hiked most of it from route 3 upwards, though the trail is very hard to locate and for the most part passes over bare granite and is only marked by rock piles.  That section of abandoned trail begins in the woods by a small pull over along route 3...again, the trail leading up the mountain side is not easy to find.
Yet another old trail leads up to Huguenot Head, but this trail does not show up on any maps.  It begins off the old Dorr bike Trail, in the woods directly across from Bear Brook Picnic Area, across from the picnic area to the far left as you enter the area.  You follow a worn path on the other side of the road, which leads to the Beachcroft Trail.  You don't go too far before coming to another, less worn trail going left, and this trail heads up the backside of Huguenot Head, years ago called Picket mountain.
The easiest way to locate the Black and White Trail from this end today is from the top of Champlain Summit, locate the rock piles, and follow them downward to the dirt path between the two summits.  Halfway along that dirt section, as your passing through a section of woods, you will see a worn path leading downward toward the Beaver Pond.  We were able to locate some rock piles, but had to pretty much use the dry brook bed as out guide down to the rear of the pond.  From there we followed the old Dorr bike path out to the Park Loop Road.


And this from the book, The Mountains Of Maine;
 In the book, THE MOUNTAINS OF MAINE it says Huguenot Head is 720 feet high and was first named Round Hill.  The name was later changed to Peaked Hill, and later was named again to Picket Hill.  So how did it get its current name?  According to the book, George B. Dorr gave it the name Huguenot hill. 
According to the book, Mrs C. Morton Smith of Philadelphia, a summer resident here, financed the building of a steep trail up Huguenot Hill that used 1,482 stone steps.  The trail she paid for was named after her summer cottage, Beachcroft.

Friday, September 1, 2017


Located in Acadia National Park near the base of Champlain Mountain, this Bear Cave appears on very old maps as the Bear's den.  It dates back to the 1800's and had a path leading from Eden (renamed Bar Harbor) all the way to the den.  In those days bears were common on the island, at some point after Acadia National Park was formed, the park service began a policy where bears were tranquilized  and removed from the island.  In more recent years that policy was ended and bears are slowly making a come back in the park, though bear sightings are still very rare.  In all the years I have lived here I have only seen one bear, and that was on the quiet side of the island.

After the park was formed, and the Park Loop Road was constructed, it was believed the Bear Cave, or Den, was lost forever.  We went looking for it a number of times but could not find it, mainly because the construction of the Park Loop road had destroyed a large section of the old path.
One day my oldest son, Wesley, said he was going out looking for it.  He returned later that night with good news, he had located it and gave me instructions to the site.  As it turned out, the old Bear cave was hiding in plai9n sight all those years.

To locate the Bears Den, drive along the One Way section of the Park Loop Road until you come to a large pond on your right, there will be a pull over up ahead at a curve in the road just beyond the pond.  Park and cross the road and walk along the side of the roadway until the wall of ledge comes down even with the road and look into the woods.  Straight ahead you will see a dark area, that is the Bear Cave.  The cave goes into the mountain s8ide at an angle and a well worn path leads to the entrance.
On our last visit to the den we came across this little fellow guarding the cave.....


I first came upon this lost trail many years ago and had no idea of what it was.  Research revealed it was at one time the George B. Dorr Bicycle Path, a path he was often spotted riding his bike along.  Some reports state that this trail is not the George B. Dorr bike path, and go on to say that his official path is now under water, swallowed up by the rising waters of the beaver pond.  I will give an argument as to why the official path is still very much there, and I suspect the park service pushes the idea of it having all been swallowed up by the beaver pond as a way to keep people out of that area.

I suppose the first place to begin with is with the area itself.  Dorr was highly interested in land that Indian Pass crossed over, and the area around the pond was once part of Indian Pass.  I also don't know if it is true or not, but I have heard that a small Indian village was located to the back side of the beaver pond.

Dorr constructed his bike path with both love and care, it was one of his prized areas in the park.  And it was not just a prized area of the park for him, this was the area where Dorr's mother spent many an afternoon.  That is because this area was not just a bike path, it was also the first location of the Wild Gardens of Acadia, which was located to the far right rear of the pond.  It is said that those gardens became so famous from near and far due to the work she put into them.

Let's say for sake of argument that the current hidden path around the pond was not the official Dorr bike path, we are talking about only a section of the bike path, not the entire bike path which went well beyond the beaver pond.  Anjd since the woods between the pond and Sieur de Monts Spring are not under water, neither is a large section of the Dorr bike path.
So we went to the rear of the pond, to the far right corner, searching for any sign that a path or old road was there, and sure enough we did find one coming out of the water and running up through the woods, just as it should if the pond swallowed up sections of the bike path.

 We followed the old path and soon came out across the road from the Bear Brook Picnic Area, the end furthest from the entrance.  But the old  path continued back into the woods, and we followed it, knowing that Dorr's bike path went all the way to the Sieur de Monts spring area.  It came out by route 3, almost directly across from the entrance to Sieur de Monts Spring entrance, as it should of.
But another section shot off i9n the direct of the Beechcroft Trail.  I have read that Dorr added connector trails to local trails in order to steer more people to his beloved bike path.
We also located a lost series of stone steps leading from the Dorr bike path to the official Bear Brook Trail, on some maps called the Champlain Mountain North Ridge Trail.  The steps are easy to miss from the bike path, and nearly impossible to locate if your on the official trail up Champlain Mountain.

At some point after Dorr's death, the Park Service abandoned his prized bike path, along with the connector paths, and dug up and relocated his beloved Wild Gardens to where they are today.  I will ask anyone, who had the better vision of placing the wild Gardens in "The right place?"  I will say it was George B. Dorr who had it right, with the beaver Pond as a setting and Champlain Mountain rising up above it  set a perfect backdrop.
Champlain Mountain - George B. Dorr Bike Path - Acadia National Park

So the George B. Dorr bike path may of been rebuilt along two sides of the pond, but clearly a large section of the original path is still very much there.  Two of the connecting paths are also there.
We also found evidence of an old trail leading from the Dorr bike path, the section across the roadway from the Bear Brook Picnic Area.  This old trail runs up one side of Huguenot Head.
The day we located the old trail, we attempted to follow it and got close to the top  when thunder storms began sweeping in.