This c. 1915 photo of Monhegan Island shows the steamer May Archer at the dock below the Island House hotel. The large white building to the left is the original Monhegan House, which burned in the 1920s. Gasoline-powered lobster boats are anchored in the harbor, and in the foreground is a lobster smack, which will transport Monhegan lobstermen’s catch to the mainland.
By the early 1900s there was a well established summer artists’ colony on Monhegan and, like the artists, rusticators were coming in increasing numbers to enjoy the isolation and charms of the rugged island. In 1907 the Island Inn, originally the small Pink House, built a large addition. Seeking business for his new boat, May Archer, the enterprising Captain I. E. Archibald carried building materials from the mainland for the construction project and took mail, at no charge, from Thomaston to Monhegan. He built up a successful freight and passenger business , secured a mail contract, and ran excursions. During the winter May Archer ran from Rockland to Northeast Harbor.