The historic Blue Duck building in Islesford is now available for lease. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANP

Park looks to lease Blue Duck

ACADIA NAT’L PARK — The National Park Service is looking to lease the historic Blue Duck Ships Store building on Islesford (Little Cranberry Island) to someone who will use it in a way that is “compatible with respect to preservation, protection and visitor enjoyment of the park area.”

“We see this as an opportunity to reopen a building that has been closed for many years and … to preserve an important historical building on Islesford,” said Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider.

The building will be open Friday, Aug. 25, from 9-11 a.m. for prospective lessees who would like to visit before submitting a proposal. The NPS will consider proposals that “ensure the historic and architectural values of the property are preserved.” Oct. 13 is the deadline for sending proposals to the NPS regional office in Philadelphia.

Islesford resident Edwin Hadlock built the wooden structure now known as the Blue Duck around 1850. He and his two sons used it as a ships’ store.

After about 25 years, it was converted to a general store called the Islesford Market.

Summer resident William Otis Sawtelle, a Haverford College physics professor, bought the building around 1918 and named it the “Blue Duck” after finding a large collection of duck decoys stored there. He painted the decoys blue and displayed them around the property.

Sawtelle founded the Islesford Historical Society and used the Blue Duck to exhibit historical items and memorabilia given to the society. In 1927, the society built the Islesford Historical Museum on property adjacent to the Blue Duck to house and exhibit its growing collection.

Both the museum and the Blue Duck became part of Acadia in 1948. In 1979, they were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Park Service’s application for inclusion in the National Register stated that the Blue Duck is “significant because it is a surviving artifact of the nineteenth-century fishing village on the island.”

Together, the Blue Duck and museum were said to commemorate “an earlier period in the history of the Acadia region before the decline of sailing ships and the coming of the affluent summer colony transformed the economy of the area.”



Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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