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Posted on: August 18, 2017

History of the Town

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The Town encompasses the entire northern and northeastern section of Mount Desert Island.  Its land is comprised of 114 square miles; the 3rd largest island in the continental United States, which, ironically, is shaped very much like a lobster claw!  Originally settled in 1763, the Town was later incorporated as Eden.  The name was changed to Bar Harbor on March 14, 1918—a reference taken from its harbor with Bar Island directly to the west of the Town’s main village.  In 1844, Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of Painting, “discovered” the area, such that by the 1900’s Bar Harbor had become the summer retreat for many of Boston’s, New York City’s and Philadelphia’s wealthy, artistic and socially prominent citizens.  The Island’s Acadia Nation Park was formed during this period.  The Depression and the Great Fire of 1947 destroyed many of the summer mansions, causing the “Gilded Age” to end.  The Town slowly recovered has since grown into a year round community with farming, fishing, lobster fishing, tourism, retail as well as partnering with its famous neighbor, Acadia National Park, to maintain the essence of its past.

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