Saturday, May 7, 2016

ABANDONED HOUSE OF EAGLE LAKE

It was on another site that I stumbled upon a story of an abandoned house that was located somewhere near Eagle Lake, the exact location was not given but a combination of photos merged into one was posted along with the story.  I copied the photo and took a few days to study it, and soon realized the abandoned house was actually right up close to the edge of eagle Lake.  But where along the shore?
I did what I usually do in these cases and reached for my collection of old maps,  because I knew they would hold a clue or two, it was just a matter of studying the maps and ruling out certain areas.  Within short order I noticed a old road had run along one side of eagle Lake many long years ago, before there was an Acadia national Park.  The road ran through the woods and ended at the waters edge.  Could that be the road that led to the lost house?  I was betting it was, and packed up my cameras and headed out to track down the house, or what remained of it.


The other site had said the house had begun to be built, but for whatever reason construction was stopped, but the huge stone foundation with its wide arches was left in place.  The site went on to say the Bar harbor Water company might of ordered a halt to the construction of the house because the house was being built too close to the towns drinking water supply.
First thing first, me and my son Dillon first tried to locate the old road, no luck, over the years it had become so over grown we could  not find any signs of it.  At a later date, we did find some traces of that road.  But on this day, with no signs of the old road, we could only walk along the Eagle Lake carriage road to a point at about where we thought the house might be, than walked through the woods to the edge of the lake.



 From there was followed the lake, as it turned out, our guess was pretty good and we soon saw the walls of the foundation come into view up on a small knoll.
It was a majestic sight to behold, setting there close to the water with its large stone arches looking out across the water.  No matter how many of these you do, you can't help but get a rush every time you locate an abandoned trail or a hidden gem, as this surely was.
Of course, once we located it and documented it, the next problem was finding a way to use natural markers to help guide others to the location.  That was not an easy task at first because i was use to doing this for abandoned trails, not lost foundations. 
For me, the obvious choice for a marker was a dry drain ditch right before the unmarked path to where the house was at one time being constructed.  But there are many such drain ditches.  Than as I stood by the drain ditch and stared down the carriage road, I suddenly realized the answer was right in front of me.  Not far from the drain ditch was a retaining wall built of stones.  Sure, there was square blocks of granite in many places along the carriage road, but on this side of the lake, this was the only place where there was such a retaining wall.  With that information I went to work mapping out the area.



Eagle Lake - Acadia National Park
The next question to was who was building the house and why was construction suddenly stopped.  I researched this and found a number of "it might of been," but might of been was not a good answer, so I continued to dig away for the answer.  The research paid off one evening as I was reading The Trails Of history.  In it, the book states that a unnamed family who summered here had purchased some land on the edge of the lake and had begun to built a house.  It states that it was George B. Dorr who approached the family and asked that they stop construction of their house. 
UPDATE;
I now know the name of the person who was building that house along the side of Eagle Lake,  according to a website Maine, Parks and Natural Attractions, it was Philip Livingston who owned land along the side of the lake and was building a house.  It states that George B. Dorr joined the Bar Harbor Water company and began buying up land around the lake until the entire lake was protected from development.
A question I have always had is this, was George Dorr officially connected to the water company, or merely aiding them in buying up the land around the lake?  This newest piece does not really answer that, it simply states he joined them  and helped them buy up the land.  So thanks to Mr. dorr, this house was started, but never finished.



 .The family agreed to stop construct of the house, but left what had been constructed in place along the edge of the lake.  This is not to say the Bar Harbor water company was not in some way behind Dorr approaching the family, and I believe I read someplace that Mr. Dorr had connections to the water company.  But one has to also believe there was far more behind Dorr approaching the family with his plea, because Mr. Dorr had visions for the land and we all know what those visions were.
Dorr, fresh off his success of talking the family out of not building their home along the lake, quickly moved to have legislation put in place to forever protect such waters as Eagle lake, Bubble pond and Jordon pond.

This was not the only construction that had taken place on the shore of Eagle lake, a few buildings had been constructed in the area where the current boar landing is located, and the Green Mountain Railroad company had constructed a dock and pier not too far away.  The pier for the railroad company was located on a narrow section of land that sticks out onto the lake not far from a wooden bridge.  there was a number of large wooden buildings near the pier, one housed waiting passengers waiting for the train, another housed the two cog trains used to carry passengers up and down the mountain side.  I only mention this here because it gives you an idea of what was going on along the shore of Eagle lake at the time the house was being built, though I have not been able to determine how close to the construction of those other building's was to the start of the construction of the house.
One approach to this stone foundation with its wide arches is to begin at the Bubble Pond park lot.  Cross the road and head down the carriage road across from the parking lot, that carriage  road runs around the entire length of eagle Lake.  Follow the carriage road to the right when you come to an intersection, before long you will come to a wooden bridge.  Just as a side note, the railroad tracks and the railway station where once located just past that wooden bridge.  A thin piece of land sticks out onto the lake in that area and that was the location of the pier and the buildings used by the Green Mountain Railroad Company - you can read more in my blog on the railroad.  The body of water the bridge crosses has a nice little water fall a short ways  in to the right, and the train tracks crossed the brook right there in front of that water fall.
So once you cross the bridge, you don't have too much further to go before you come to the retaining wall pictured in the photo.  Continue to walk until you come to the far end of the retaining wall.  Now walk a short ways looking for a small drainage ditch on the left hand side of the road.  The unmarked path to the foundation is right there maybe three feet past the drainage ditch.  Depending when you visit the site, there may be some tree branches tossed across the path,  just walk around them and continue to follow the well worn path.


GREEN MOUNTAIN
RAILROAD TRAIL
(Lower Section)

Wooden Bridge by Lake
latitude     44 21' 32"N
longitude   68 14' 42"W
Shallow Gully begins
latitude     44 21' 33"N
longitude  68 14' 39"W
half way point
latitude     44 21' 33"N
longitude   68 14' 35"W
Pull Over
latitude     44 21' 33"N
longitude   68 14' 29"W

7 Comments:

At May 7, 2016 at 6:54 AM , Blogger Jennifer Maher Galas said...

You posted my GPS coordinates for the Great Cave, so I thought you might like to see what I have for the abandoned house as well. (If you'd rather not make it so easy to find, feel free to delete this comment.)

Coordinates for the intersection of the carriage road and the trail to the house are N 44.363092°, W 68.244716°.

For some reason I didn't get coordinates at the house itself, but from our tracklog I can estimate the location of the house to be N 44.363130°, W 68.246336°. Once you find the trail and start following it, you really can't miss the house!

 
At May 7, 2016 at 10:13 AM , Blogger J.R. Libby said...

Thanks for that information, I will add it to my next update. I was at the site the other day, Followed a nearby stream than went and retraced the lower section of the Green Mountain Railroad path.

 
At June 23, 2016 at 7:25 PM , Blogger Matthew Marchon said...

Glad you found the poem in the wall. I just brought my parents back there earlier today, he's a recently retired police officer and said the paper looks authentic. I couldn't find any info on that name either. I'm still questioning its validity but either way its still pretty cool.

 
At June 25, 2016 at 1:16 PM , Blogger J.R. Libby said...

I help out on a few online genealogy sites and I ran that name for the U.S., and Canada and it came back with zero hits, I even ran just the last name, same thing. The website GPSAcadia was the site I first learned of the foundation, I used what he wrote along with the photo he published to help track down the location. I haven't checked so I don't know if he still has the information on that site posted or not.
http://gpsacadia.com/

 
At November 2, 2017 at 5:38 PM , Blogger atlmainiac said...

What is the name, please?

 
At November 2, 2017 at 5:40 PM , Blogger atlmainiac said...

What is the poem to which you refer. please? And what is the name, please?

 
At November 6, 2017 at 10:07 AM , Blogger J.R. Libby said...

as follows, "Here beneath the arches old, lie the remains of Mary Rinemold. Who built this shrine to mourn, a lover lost on the night of a harvest moon. To this day the locals believe he turned into a loon and you can hear him sing if you sleep beneath these arches." Go to Matts site, Leave the World Below - I believe its under 2016 blog posts - this was one of Matts finds - somehow in all my trips there I never spotted the note.

 

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