Delve into nature and architecture on MDI  

Willie Granston speaks about the Shingle Style of architecture that became popular on MDI after the Civil War.

MOUNT DESERT — On Wednesday, Aug. 11, at 5:30 p.m., the Northeast Harbor Library will host Willie Granston for a Zoom talk called Melody and Harmony: Nature and Architecture on Mount Desert Island. 

Following the Civil War, new transportation modes allowed growing numbers of Americans to leave urban areas for nature retreats in the mountains, forests or along the coast. Places like the villages of Mount Desert Island developed as summer destinations.  

Many purchased land and constructed seasonal residences, often in an architectural style that has become known as the Shingle Style. Despite the construction of new buildings, architects and clients sought to maintain the natural appearance of the landscapes.  

As construction needs gobbled up resources in forests and quarries, the New England landscape was being targeted, leading to people becoming anxious about the loss of the scenery that brought them to the area. In the Shingle Style designs, architects used natural materials and chose colors and designs that responded to the surroundings. They crafted buildings that, according to the period press, appeared as though they were extensions of the landscape.  

In this talk, Granston, an MDI native and a doctoral candidate in the History of Art & Architecture at Boston University, will delve into the relationship between late 19th century resort architecture and period environmental awareness, looking especially at the development of MDI as a summer resort.   

Drawing from his current dissertation work, this talk will consider how architects responded to the local landscape through design, construction materials and finishes, and will also consider the legacy of these design ideas in the following decades.  

To sign up for this Zoom program, either call 276-3333 or email [email protected] 

Architect Frederick Lincoln Savage’s 1908 sketch for Juniper Ledge in Northeast Harbor. Savage designed over 300 cottages on MDI and northeastern Maine.

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