Gazetteer of the State of Maine, 1882 page 409
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Gazetteer of the State of Maine With Numerous Illustrations, by Geo. J. Varney

BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY B. B. RUSSELL, 57 CORNHILL. 1882. Public domain image from


project, he had wandered to Saco to start afresh in a new place. Looking about
for a means of livelihood, he opened some bathing-rooms under the Thornton
House. After awhile this house was burned down, and poor Ned had to make a
new shift; and he next alighted with his bathing-tubs in the basement of Cataract
Block. Then to his bathing he added victualling. By the death of an artist brother
in a distant State, he became the possessor of a panorama of the River Rhine, with
which he travelled for awhile. His tastes—and poverty—at length led him to Old
Orchard Beach, where among the whispering pines which then stood near the site
of the present Sea Shore House, he erected a small building which he furnished,
ornamenting it with natural history specimens. This received the name of “ Old
Orchard Retreat,” where he dwelt alone, and entertained such patrons as came
with chowders and other simple fare. He also supplied batliing-suits to his patrons.
Here, too, he issued a small newspaper called the “ Goose Fare Guide and Old
Orchard Bellows.” It is acknowledged to be the first “ Guide ” to these shores,
and the “ Bellows ” which first blew abroad the praises of Old Orchard. But E.
C. Staples, proprietor of the Old Orchard House, was the first to open a house for
boarders, which he did in 1837, at the solicitation of a few individuals who had
been impressed with the beauty of the beach and the invigorating quality of the
climate. He then dvrelt in a plain farm-house, the home of his ancestors ;
but it has been remodeled, and is now the Staples’ Cottage. The first season’s
boarders were charmed with the place, and the next year there were more applica-
tions than the house could accommodate ; and he soon increased its capacity by
an addition. Among the early patrons of Mr. Staples were gentlemen and their
families from Montreal, who came the whole distance in their own private car-
riages. The Portsmouth and Portland Railroad was opened in 1842, and the
Grand Trunk from Montreal to Portland in 1852. These brought passengers to
Saco Station, within four miles of the beach ; and from that time the demand for
hotel accommodations increased with great rapidity Mr. Staples enlarged his
house from year to year until his “ Old Orchard House,” accommodating 300
guests, had been erected. This was popular and prosperous, until destroyed by
fire, July 21, 1875. The new “ Old Orchard House ” was erected in 1876, with ac-
commodations for 500 guests. Boarding-houses and hotels have since been increas-
ing and enlarging for several years, until now they number above 30, with accom-
modations for more than 4,000 guests.


Adjuncts of Old Orchard Beach are Bay View or Ferry Beach, at
the mouth of the Saco River, the Pool in Biddeford on the opposite
shore,* Pine Point, and Prout’s Neck.f All these places are supplied^
with hotels t—some of superior quality.

Oldtown, in Penobscot County, lies on the west side of
Penobscot River, 12 miles north of Bangor. The towns which bound
it are Alton and Argyle on the north, Hudson and Glenburn on the
west, Orono on the south and Milford on the east. The last is sepa-
rated from it by the river. The surface of the town is generally quite
even ; but a hill of the kind known as a “ horse back,” runs the entire
length north and south. Besides the Penobscot, the water-courses are
Pushaw and Birch streams. The first is the outlet of Pushaw Lake,
which lies on a portion of the west line of the town. Another stream
is the so-called Stillwater River, which is fed by Birch and Pushaw
streams, and discharges into the Penobscot by three mouths, two of
which are in Oldtown, and one in Orono. Between these and the
Penobscot are several islands, of which the largest extends from the
middle of the town into Orono on the south. Upon the eastern side
of this is situated Oldtown village, and on the west the little hamlet of
“Pushaw,” and at the southern verge of the town Upper Stillwater
village and post-office. The other principal islands are Orson and
Orono islands, and Oldtown Island. The latter is the property and
the principal residence of the remnant of the Penobscot tribe of Indians.

* See article on Biddeford. t See article on Scarborough. J See article on Saco.



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