Machiasport is the site of the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War – a land and sea action which resulted in the British schooner “Margaretta” being captured by the locals with the loss of only one man on the American side. Here are a few other historical attractions to whet your historical whistle:
- Machiasport Historical Society: Holding the history of the local township in its walls, the historical society is across the street from Siren’s Song (in the historic Gates House), and offers tours, a museum-like collection of artifacts and events throughout the year.
- The Thomas Ruggles House, preserved in its original state by the Ruggles House Society, is located in Columbia Falls. Constructed after a design by Aaron Sherman of Duxbury, Mass., the house was built for Judge Thomas Ruggles, a wealthy lumber dealer, store owner, postmaster, captain of the militia and justice of the Court of Sessions. It features a flying stairway, a masterpiece for which the house is especially famous. It’s open daily.
- Fort O’Brien, located just below Machiasport, was built to protect the approaches to the Machias River during the Revolutionary War.
- St. Croix Island, set about midway between the United States and Canada in the beautiful St. Croix River, was the scene of the first white settlement in the New World north of St. Augustine, Fla. It was here, in 1604, that Samuel Champlain and his fellow French explorer, Sieur de Monts, led a band of about 100 soldiers and traders and spent the winter. It was from this island that Champlain explored the coast of New England as far south as Cape Cod.
- Eastport is the birthplace of the Maine sardine business, started by Julius Wolfe in 1875 (they’re herring before they are canned when they’re called sardines). For many decades Washington County has had 15 canneries – Eastport with five of them. Much of the activity has moved to the westward, however. Eastport was settled in 1780, incorporated in 1798. It was seized by the British in 1814 but in 1818 was returned to the United States through the Treaty of Ghent.
- Burnham Tavern: The captain of the British “Margaretta” died in the Burnham Tavern, a well-preserved example of a colonial inn now open to visitors. The oldest building east of Bangor, it’s maintained by the local D.A.R.
- The Yurts: The Yurt Foundation homestead in Maine is an experiment in cultural blending and simple living: the three-story yurt is reachable by the sea, or by a half-hour hike along a woodland footpath. All they ask is people contact them first to request permission: 207-522-9050, 603-848-3000 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sipayik Museum on Pleasant Point Indian Reservation: The Sipayik Museum is for anyone wishing to know more about the Passamaquoddy tribe. There are artifacts, old baskets and a 17-foot birch bark canoe – all of them more than 100 years old! The museum is open on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.