A black-and-white still photo of the aftermath of The Great Fire of 1947 in Bar Harbor taken by local photographer Wes Brown. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Fire of 47 film help sought



BAR HARBOR — The Bar Harbor Historical Society is looking for people to share their reminiscences of the Great Fire of 1947 for an upcoming documentary.

The film is being directed by Southwest Harbor filmmaker Peter Logue and produced by historical society board member Kim Swan.

Kim Swan, member of the board of the Bar Harbor Historical Society, is producing a film about The Great Fire of 1947. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

“The Great Fire of 1947 is one of, if not the, major historical event in the history of Bar Harbor. In this year of the 70th anniversary, we wanted to make sure to preserve people’s firsthand accounts before they are gone for good,” said Swan. “No matter how small or seemingly insignificant, what anyone was doing, what they saw, what they experienced, is all part of an incredible story.”

The fire burned for more than a week in late October, eventually charring more than 17,000 acres of woodland and destroying 170 homes, including dozens of opulent mansions, as well as five large hotels. Several deaths were attributed to the fire due to traffic accidents and heart attacks.

For a time, more than 1,000 people were trapped on the Bar Harbor town pier awaiting evacuation. High winds whipped up large waves that precluded the use of small boats. Eventually, a bulldozer cleared still-burning debris off Route 3, allowing a caravan of refugees to flee.

The fire burned down to the outer edges of downtown Bar Harbor before shifting and burning itself out over Great Head in Acadia National Park.

Logue will be at the Bar Harbor Historical Society headquarters and museum at 33 Ledgelawn Ave. on Tuesday, May 9, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. to record people’s stories. No appointment is necessary.

The society also is making plans to spend an afternoon at Birch Bay Village in Hulls Cove so residents there can share their memories of the fire.

For more information, call 288-0000.

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