Baker Island was settled in 1806 and its population peaked at two dozen in the mid-19th century, by 1930 only one family remained. Now, mostly part of Acadia National Park, these 123 acres are precious to a disproportionate number of people. Join author Cornelia Cesari, whose family owns the Baker Island Schoolhouse, for the launch of “Images of America: Baker Island” the first book dedicated solely to the history of Baker Island at the Jesup Memorial Library on Wednesday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m.
In the 1800s, the US government made use of the island’s strategic location at the entrance to Frenchman’s Bay with a lighthouse and military facilities. Wealthy, artistic, and academic summer visitors to the region discovered its charm as a day trip destination. By the mid-1900s almost no one remained and most of the island became part of Acadia. Now, visitors flock to the area, scenic tour airplanes fly overhead, and narrated boat tours skirt the shoreline. Park rangers lead interpretive tours almost daily, leaving from Bar Harbor for half-day visits. Each summer, thousands moor their private boats and row ashore—honeymooning, celebrating, and even scattering ashes.
Cesari includes the never-before-published stories and photographs of locals, lightkeepers, rusticators, schoolteachers, and their descendants to bring Baker Island’s history to life. The book explores the families that shaped the island’s history including the Gilley family who were the first settlers on the island, as well as the use of Baker Island as a look out station for the Coast Guard during WWII.
Cesari is the president of the board of the Keepers of Baker Island, which is an organization whose mission is to preserve, protect, and promote stewardship of Baker Island’s natural and cultural resources, for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of visitors, now and in the future. She splits her time between Baker Island and Vermont.
This talk is co-sponsored by Bar Harbor Bank & Trust. There will be a reception before the talk. For more information contact the Jesup at 207-288-4245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.