First Congregational Church, Searsport: Interior

Interior of the First Congregational Church in Searsport, Maine, after major interior design changes at the end of the 19th century, including stained-glass windows, curved oak pews, and a tinned ceiling. These changes reflect the prosperity of Searsport at the end of the age of sail, when many deep sea sailing captains called Searsport home.

First Congregational Church, Searsport: Exterior

First Congregational Church, Searsport, Maine, built in 1834. It is Greek Revival in style. The Congregational Society in Searsport gathered on October 4, 1815 with sixteen members including a minister. The Society erected the first of its two buildings, the Harbor Church, in 1819 at Searsport Harbor, about one mile east of the present village. As the center of the community life moved into the village, the Society abandoned its church and built on Townhouse Hill, the present site, in 1833. A bell cast at the Revere Foundry in Massachusetts was installed in the church's steeple.

Granite Eagles, Vinalhaven

These eagles were carved for the Buffalo, New York, Post Office. From 1896 to 1898, carvers and stone cutters at the Sands Quarry on Vinalhaven, operated by the Bodwell Granite Co., cut stone for this building. These eagles were famous enough to have their carvers recorded: Robert Whyte, Charles Athearn, Robert Clarke, and Elbridge Rolfe. According to Whyte it took 150 work days to carve an eagle. 

Another photograph of these eagles and more photographs of the Vinalhaven Quarries are in Images of America, Vinalhaven Island, Vinalhaven Historical Society, 1997.

Inside Parlor

Inside parlor of a Searsport house, possibly that of the photographer, Frederick R. Sweetser. It shows some of the decorative styles of the late 19th century and the types of items brought back home from far-away ports.

Interior View, Searsport home

Interior view of a Searsport home, showing furnishings collected in the Far East.

Saw Mill, Belfast East Side

There must have been hundreds of waterpowered saw mills in Maine. It does not take much water to run one. Here Belfast photographer, undertaker, and chronicler of his town, Charles R. Coombs, caught this small mill on the Goose River in Belfast, just off Swan Lake Avenue. It was then run by Dan Robertson.

Harvesting Hay

Hay was a very important export from Belfast. In 1887, Belfast shipped out 11,000 tons of hay, much of it coming from interior sections of Waldo County. Hay was just about as important then as oil is today, as it provided the "fuel" for horses in big cities like Boston and New York before there were automobiles and trucks.

Here a two horse team pulls a hay wagon on which two men stack the hay tossed up by two others with pitchforks, somewhere in Waldo County.

Down Easter Dirigo

Launched in February, 1894, the four-masted ship Dirigo was the first steel square-rigged ship built in Maine, and the first steel ship built in the United States. Designed by a British designer, it was built at the Sewall Shipyard in Bath, using imported steel plates and shipbuilding labor. She was a typical British design of the 1890s. Eight more steel vessels were to follow. Dirigo is the Maine State motto, meaning "I lead" in Latin.

Searsport House Inn, Searsport

Searsport House was the town's biggest hotel. Originally, it was a two-story building. Then, that house was raised, and a new first floor built underneath to make it three-stories. Later, it received many architectural changes that brought it up-to-date in the late Victorian era.


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