A stone is lowered into place to form a new monument to commemorate those who fought and cleaned up after the 1947 fire that burned much of the eastern side of Mount Desert Island. PHOTO COURTESY OF DICK COUGH

New park features Fire of ’47 memorial

BAR HARBOR — Work on the reconstruction of Route 3 is complete, but the action continues at the corner of Eden Street at West Street as a new park comes together.

A monument dedicated “to all the men and women who worked on the fire lines and behind the scenes” during the Great Fire of ’47 was installed last week. The monument is the latest addition to the new Eden Street park called DeGregoire Green, a project of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association (VIA).

The park itself is coming along, though it will not be completed by July Fourth as the group had hoped, according to VIA President Dick Cough. “It’s still a work in progress,” he said.

The park will also feature a fountain and two “Museum in the Street” signs explaining the history of the site.

The new park is on the site of the DeGregoire Hotel that burned in the Fire of ’47. De Gregoire Hotel was one of five large hotels, along with 237 homes that were destroyed in the fire that started Oct. 17, 1947 and burned for nearly a month. The 17,000 acres that burned were mostly in Acadia National Park.

The park is being built on private land with the cooperation of landowners Joe Cough and Lance Mahaney, who will maintain ownership of the land while making it open to the public.

In addition to the fountain and fire memorial, the park will also feature a paved path connecting to the new multi-use path along Route 3 built by Maine Department of Transportation contractors.

It will also have stone benches, lights and more bushes and other plants.

The park project is being funded by the VIA and private donations, with $10,000 contributed by the Town of Bar Harbor’s sidewalk fund.

The VIA was established in 1881 by Mary Dorr, the mother of Acadia National Park founder George B. Dorr, according to the group’s website. The association is responsible for well-known Bar Harbor landmarks such as the Shore Path (1880), Glen Mary Park (1894) and the Village Green (1904).

Cough said in October that he’s excited about the new park partly because of its location alongside Route 3 at the entrance to downtown.

“This park will now be the first and last memory people will have of Bar Harbor,” he said.

Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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