About Camden, Exhbit Conducted and Past Glory
In 1891, in the city of Rockport Goose River split from Camden. This division robbed Camden not only of three-quarters of the town’s land and half of its inhabitants, but also of the lucrative lime and ice-collecting industries.
In 1605, during his visit to Mid-coast Maine Captain George Weymouth of the Archangel ship first saw the Camden Hills. On June 12, 1605, He sailed up Pénobscot Bay and anchored “the Penobscot Hills,” not far from shore (Camden Hills). Captain John Smith then describes in 1614 the Camden Hills: “the high mountains of Penobscot, the sea beating its foot.” However, the first settling people arrived in 1769 only after the Twenty Associates completed a survey in 1768 of the Waldo Patent. The survey named the Camden and Rockport area of Megunticook planting from an Indian word that means ‘large seas.’ The survey included an ndian name. The town was named after Charles Pratt, first Earl of Camden, in 1769 James Richards, the first settler, founded his log cabin but it wasn’t until 1791 after the US Revolution. Pratt was a judge and nobleman who after the revolution sympathized with the colonists.
The town saw constant population growth and a stable economy for the first 100 years in Camden. The population was 4512 in the 1870 census and $1,497,631 was valued. Many businesses, including shipbuilding, anchor manufacturing and lime industry, helped the people. The latter was in what is now called Rockport but then Goose River.
Almost all Camden business district was devastated by fire in 1892. Camden’s men, however, reconstructed the center with brick rather than timber easily, leaving a legacy of permanence and grace to date.
With the end of the 19th century, Camden was a naval town with the h.m. Bean Yard and was the first George W. Wells to be constructed, the first four-master shooner and the first six-master. In the 20th century, many woolen mills were well established along the Megunticook River. The Knox Woolen Company was the first infinite paper production in the world.
At the turn of the century, Camden was taken into a new age when its natural charm started to draw some of the country’s richest families. These families constructed big summer huts to compete with Bar Harbor huts. The elegant library and the amphitheater of the Camden Opera House were designed not only by families including Curtis, Bok, Keep, Gribbel, Dillingham and Borland, but also by the people of the villagers of Camden. Cyrus Curtis’s Lyndonia YachtMagnificent private boats like the Cyrus filled the port. During the entire 20th century, Yachting continued to operate the exclusive HAJ boat racing fleet at the Yacht Club. Captain Frank Swift began the cruise shooner company in the 1940s and the fleet of windjammer continues to this day.
A.P. Lord Exhibit
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The Camden Area History Center is pleased to have a special exhibit in the Barn Annex on A.P. Lord , a Maine Coast sailmaker who resided in Camden from 1919 to 1957. Grant Gambel who continues the tradition as a sailmaker in Lord’s shop has generously loaned Lord’s tools and bench as well as pictures for the exhibit.
As Grant Gambel says: “For more than 20 years I’ve sat on a bench, crawled on a sail loft floor, sewed on a machine, put coal in a cookstove, sat at a dinner table, and soaked in a tub; all former possessions of an old sailmaker and his step daughter who lived and worked together here in this house and shop on Limerock Street in Camden Maine.
Never ones to throw anything away, Amos P. Lord and Jessie Reynolds left the countless small material things, bits and pieces of no great value, that swept together to form for me a palpable sense of another day.“
The following excerpt is from a Web site that Mr. Gambel has created about the life and trade of A.P. Lord:
Amos Perkins Lord was among the last of the sailmakers to the Schooners, yachts and small craft that were at work around the turn of the 19th century on the coast of Maine. A.P.Lords’ life as a sailmaker spanned the very last years of dependence on commercial sail power. At the time of his apprenticeship in the 1880’s, sail had by no means given over to steam. On the coast of Maine, the value from skilled workers in communities long accustomed to shipbuilding made the construction of larger and ever more powerful sailing vessels cost effective when compared tonnage to tonnage to steam. Many sailing vessels kept busy moving materials of all sorts, both long haul and short haul. As an example of this, the Rockport-Rockland Lime Company alone at the end of the 19th century owned 150 schooners, transporting casks of lime for mortar and plaster to Boston and beyond. At the end of Mr. Lord’s life however, less than a dozen working schooners remained active in Penobscot Bay, carrying vacationing passengers in Capt. Frank Swifts patched up fleet of old work horses.
This year Battle of Camden will organize Black History Season in Camden celebrates people in our communities who play the role of the Griots today. Like a modern day singer, rapper, or musician, a Griot was a West African poet praise singer, considered as the foundation of oral tradition of the country.
The Battle of Camden History Center is pleased to have a special exhibit in the Barn Annex on A.P. Lord , a Maine Coast sailmaker who resided in Camden from 1919 to 1957. Grant Gambel who continues the tradition as a sailmaker in Lord’s shop has generously loaned Lord’s tools and bench as well as pictures for the exhibit.