Mount Desert Island History

On September 5, 1604, French explorer Samuel de Champlain ran aground just off a coastal island off what is now the State of Maine and wrote in his journal, "The mountain summits are all bare and rocky… I name it "Isles de Mont-desert". Mount Desert Island is the third largest island on the United States' eastern seabord. Champlain's description of the island aside, there now is a thick covering of both deciduous and coniferous trees, many freshwater streams, ponds and lakes and the only fjord, Somes Sound, on the east coast of North America.

The island was known to attract rusticators in the late 1800's and early 1900's. These were well to do people who escaped to the country from the city during the summer months in search of a quieter, simpler way of life. Wealthy families built their summer 'cottages' here on the island and it remains a popular resort area today. Thanks to the Rockefeller family, which donated much of its land to found Acadia National Park, the spectacular scenery was preserved and is available for everyone's enjoyment.

The island boasts two historic districts on West Street in Bar Harbor and in Somesville.

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