Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coney Island of Maine

George M. Cohan tried out productions out at the island theaters before taking them to Broadway. Jean Stapleton's first professional appearance in the summer of 1941 was in a production at Greenwood Garden. Martin Landau made his professional stage debut in a 1951 production of “Detective Story” at Greenwood Garden and was a resident cast member for several seasons.DSCN8281

bent tree hydrant shoes Many island residents have small electric cars which are only for island use. Here are some that Grenville and I saw on the island – we  really liked the CA plates!cars collage

ferry dock Peaks Island is located in Casco Bay and is part of the city of Portland, Maine. It is roughly 2 miles long and 1 mile wide (at its widest) and about 3 miles from downtown Portland. Peaks is the most populous island in Casco Bay. In the late 19th century, the island was a popular summer tourist destination, known as the Coney Island of Maine and was home to hotels, cottages, theaters, and amusement parks. The island was later an important WW II outpost.
DSCN8240rocks-water (5) Hollywood film director John Ford, born in Portland as John Martin Feeney, was called “The Mayor of Peaks Island” because of his great fondness for the island. He vacationed there from boyhood through the early 1960s, worked as a deckhand on the Casco Bay Lines ferries and as an usher at the Gem Theater.
peaks collage2Besides the Gem, which featured famous performers including the Barrymore family, the island had two other summer theaters, The Pavilion, which opened in 1887 was said to be the first summer theater in the country. The Greenwood Garden Amusement Park sported the Greenwood Garden Playhouse.geese (1)
Over the years, most of the island’s hotels were lost to fires. The Gem Theater burned in 1934; 17 buildings burned to the ground in June 1936, including the new Union House Hotel.
peaks collage3During World War II, the island was home to a large military defense installation. The largest structure, Battery Steele housed two 16 inch guns and when first tested, shattered windows on the opposite side of the island.
old fort1022 (1) old fort1022 Peaks Island is the most populated island in Casco Bay, with a winter population of approximately 850. During summer months, the population peaks to almost 5,000. Most residents commute daily to jobs in Portland as do middle and senior high school students.
We took the Casco Bay ferry from Portland for our day trip to Peaks.
ferry collage Norwegian Spirit, a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship had just arrived travelling from Boston. (Lois these photos are for you.)
cruise ship collage And, Possum this post was for you too.


Montanagirl said...

Lots of beautiful scenery! Those little cars are charming. Fun post.

Out on the prairie said...

A real charming destiation, I will have to look up more about this area.

possum said...

Ahhhhhh, Home Sweet Home.....
Thanks so much for the Peaks posts... I am so glad you enjoyed "my" island. Anytime you want to go back, and need an extra passenger, just let me know. You drive, I will pay the expenses.

Ann Nichols said...

Ahhh...what great memories these photos brought back! And I love the history! Thanks!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi All, we are finally back home on the VA eastern shore. Travel is great, but coming home even better after being on the road for a few weeks. It's been fun sharing the trip - we still have a few more Maine adventures to post. The past couple of weeks, the wi-fi connections at the motels were up & down (mostly down) so some posts are pending in between life back home.

Mona, the little cars were very cute, but we didn't see any in operation during our visit.

Out on the Prairie, This was a charming visit and inexpensive too as the ferry ride was under $9 round trip for 2. It was not crowded either at this time of year.

You are so very welcome, Possum, and who knows we may take you up on that offer one day!

Hi Ann, glad you enjoyed the trip back. When did you live in Maine?

Elaine said...

Peaks has some beautiful scenery and very interesting history. Too bad they lost so many of those old hotels. I'll bet they were beauties.

Sounds like you had a really great trip, but it's always good to get home. I know what you mean about the wifi connections. Every place we stayed said they had wifi, but sometimes it just wouldn't work at all.

Scott said...

I'm going to have to bookmark these Maine posts, because as I posted in a widget on my blog tonight, my wife and I are headed there next year, we hope. I've been to Portland on business a couple times and saw a little bit of it and loved it. (Still have the Portland Sea Dogs baseball cap.) My wife has never been to New England. We're looking for suggestions and ideas particularly of a photographic nature. Your posts have got me even more excited. Unfortunately we'll probably have to do it all in just a couple weeks.

Anonymous said...

I would love to live on an island like that :-) I almost moved to one in the Gothenburg area once, but moved to my cottage instead :-)

Thanks for showing this place!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi, it's always great to get comments and we do enjoy reading them all.

Elaine, Peaks is a lovely island and most likely was more so years ago. Our good friend, Possum, has told us great stories about how wonderful it was when she spent childhood summers there years ago. And yes, it is wonderful to be home and not just for the reliable wi-fi connection!

Scott, you and your wife would really enjoy Maine. We followedv a route along the coast and that's one we would recommend, but travel in the off-season because a few small towns are really crowded in spring-summer months.

Christer, not sure we would want to live on an island, but then this one does have a certain appeal and the ocean was so beautiful to look at. And, your cottage is a lovely place with great scenery! And your welcome - thanks for the visit (again).

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