This 1936 photo shows the buildings constructed as temporary housing for the clerks, engineers, draftsmen, technicians, and laborers building the Passamaquoddy Tidal Power Project, the world’s largest tidal dam. The site was originally the George Rice farm, on the Old Toll Bridge Road and Route 190.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Quoddy dam project began officially on July 4, 1935. It was estimated that 5,000 workers were needed for the project, and Eastport lacked housing. A model village, named Quoddy, was built three miles from the center of Eastport. It consisted of 128 single family, two-family, and four-family houses; three large dormitories with dining rooms for single workers; a fire station; hospital; heating plant; school; large mess hall; and a large administration building that included a theatre, library, and sub post office. Quoddy housed over 1,000 workers and their families. The building near the center of the photo, with the men on the roof, is the Exhibition Building, and at the left edge of the photo is part of the Administration Building.
The Quoddy dam project was officially shut down in July 1936. From 1938 to 1943 the National Youth Administration used Quoddy Village to train 800 city youth a year in vocational trades. It was a Navy Sea Bee base named Camp Lee-Stephenson during World War II.
Although the exhibition and administration buildings are gone, many of the “temporary” houses still exist in 2013. The working model of the planned Passamaquoddy Tidal Dam is in the Border Historical Society in Eastport.
Caption written by Wayne Wilcox