|There is no doubt about that the heydays of Lubec,ME are long gone, and there is no better time for that realization than if you walk Water Street on a chilly day in December. This street, once lined with big salt-shacks, smoke houses and fish canneries, is appearing almost empty. A few remnants are still reminding the visitor of the town’s past. Speaking of visitors, there are none today, that is if you don’t think of us coming across the bridge from Campobello, being visitors. But the town has kept its seaside appeal alive. The style of the commercial buildings long Water Street, speaks of the good old days, and Lubecers are genuinely proud of their pretty little town.|
Below: Frank’s Dockside Restaurant great place to eat, but closed today.
On Water Street
However, once being in town, I am swinging my camera here and there. The row of buildings, some containing souvenir stores, seem to be in a state of hibernation, awaiting the next warm summer with scores of visitors to fill the parlors and stores. However, the Lubec Brewing Company is open though and a few beer enthusiasts might be coming along to quench their thirst.
Lubec used to have a lot more residents, but that was while there was still fish to catch and to process. When the salt-shacks, smoke houses and canneries closed, people lost their work and left town in search for a better life in a bigger place. What they left behind was boarded-up buildings and a sense of despair for those who remained in residence, mostly the older population.
Prior to the decline, there were 20 smokehouses in Lubec producing 50 to 60 thousand boxes of fish annually, bringing employment and prosperity to the town. In 1797, Daniel Ramsdell cured the first herring by smoke, a process of preserving fish he had learned in Nova Scotia. Lubec would become the national leader in smoked herring production. Smokehouses and the many brush weirs that supplied herring lined the shore. Weir construction also brought a measure of prosperity to area farmers who cut the necessary stakes and brush needed to build and refurbish the herring traps. So great was the demand for the large herring preferred by the smokehouses that Lubec began sending vessels to the Magdelen Islands in the quest for fish. The 1855 Maine Register reported: “During the 1850s it was said that the smoked herring business employed every male resident over the age of 10 in the Washington County town of Lubec.”
It’s hard to believe but due to increases in retail activity, fishing and fish processing employment opportunities, shipping and farming, Lubec’s population grew to 3,000 by 1850. The town boasted three post offices, four churches, several fraternal organizations including Freemasons, and a ferry connecting Lubec and Eastport. People migrated to the town in search of work and, with money to spend, shopped at the growing number of stores on Water Street.
Ferry boat in 1936, Below: same place today
Following a period of decline during the Depression, World War II revitalized the industry with factories on both the east and west coasts working at capacity to supply the Army and Navy with three million, one-hundred can cases per year. Seven new factories were built in Lubec. With the end of the War demand for canned sardines decreased sharply and the overbuilt industry began to decline. By 1976 there were only two factories operating in Lubec. The last cannery was closed as late as in 2001.
Tourism can be credited to have kept the town alive. The establishment of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park and the construction of the FDR Memorial Bridge was incidental to bring visitors to the region. B+Bs, souvenir stores, and restaurants have opened since, providing much needed services for summer visitors.
As we reach Cohill’s Inn facing a cold wind off the water, we are overlooking the boat launch. The parking area is filled with trucks, belonging to the fishermen who are still out trying to get a good catch before Christmas. They are part of the current remaining population of about 300 fulltime residents, less than a tenth of what it was in 1910, when Lubec’s population reached its peak with 3364 residents.We conclude our cross-border visit with a stop at the local IGA to get a few weekend goodies.
The Tavern, another great place to have a meal
Monday, December 4, 2017
Friday, November 24, 2017
Monday, November 6, 2017
It’s coming from our many visitors. They have been overwhelmed with the beauty and history of Campobello Island. When are YOU coming to be overwhelmed? We are now open all year round. We will give you a tour you will never forget. Simply call (506 752 1901) or use the contact form from this site. Walk over to the Head harbour Lightstation and enjoy an amazing experience. For accommodations please contact the Peacock House in Lubec, ME.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Are you one of those working throughout all summer and must take your vacation when everybody else is back at work? Or do you simply enjoy the quieter time of the year when accommodations are just waiting for you, and wait lines have vanished?
Either way, Campobello Island and neighbouring Lubec are looking forward to your visit this late fall and winter. Campobello Sightseeing has teamed up with the Peacock House B+B in Lubec and together we will make your visit memorable. The Peacock House, a stately historic building in central Lubec overlooking the Bay of Fundy, is an ideal location from which to explore Campobello Island and the near-by West Quoddy Lighthouse. For their off-season guests the B+B is offering 3 delicious meals a day!
Your days can be filled!
Our activities include wonderful hikes along lonely beaches, visits to our lighthouses, talks about history with locals, photography trips and sometimes local events.
CAMPOBELLO WINTER SUNSETS
Tours are going to be tailored to your personal wishes. Just give us a call and we will arrange everything for you.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
|After many rather hot summer days, the weather changed today. Still, it was foggy in the morning, but when the wind switched to west, all fog and mugginess disappeared. While picking the first raspberries, a fresh breeze sprang up rustling the raspberry vines. Was this the very first feeling of a beginning fall season? Was this a warning that the warm and calm days would be over? Looking across the Passamaquoddy Bay the air was crystal clear. |
SEPTEMBER, I thought, but we only had August the 6.! This had been the last day of FOG FEST and many weekend visitors would already have left the island. It had been 5 days of increased traffic and excitement. The attendence had been way up from last year. Down at Friar’s Bay, Jocie’s Porch had been a major fog fest venue with cars lined up on both sides of the road. People had flocked to the Whale Watch Tours at Island Cruises and we had been busy with giving van-tours. And now it wouldn’t be long until the end of summer vacations. Over the last 2months we will see the seniors coming on to the island. The gardens at the Roosevelt Park will be blooming with the giant Dahlias again.
It’s all about Roosevelt’s “Beloved Island”.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Living on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada, Louis Pembroke is a scrawny and diffident twenty-three-year-old who believes that he is the reincarnation of Louis Howe, the diminutive, chain-smoking political advisor who became FDR’s secretary (chief of staff). Growing up, Louis Pembroke is psycologically and physically abused by his mother and, after her death, by an old aunt. At the Campobello Roosevelt International Park where he mows lawns, Louis has a chance encounter with eighty-five-year-old Richard Chresterton, an Englishman born in India who is rebuilding the Tyn-Y-Coed, a luxurious hotel that once existed during the glory days of Campobello’s resort era. Louis is given a job at the new establishment and develops a close connection with the owner. Accompanying Mr. Chresterton on a trip to India as his aide, Louis meets Aradhya in the slums of Dharavi. The complicated love they share and the trials they face lead to a process of renewal for Louis who must meet other challenges when he returns to Campobello.
Mr.Louis is a story of adversity, love, death and rebirth.
$13.95 available at Amazon or by contacting the author at
The book has ISBN 978-0-9959301-0-0