Experience Washington County

Washington County is known for its rugged coastline and beautiful scenery, but it is also a place with a long history and a proud heritage. Visit the events and locations highlighted to the right or join and explore the resources of the Washington County Historical & Genealogical Society.

The Washington County Historical and Genealogical Society is a group dedicated to historical preservation and genealogical research in Washington County, Maine. By working together historical societies, genealogists, and researchers can pool their limited resources, collaborate on larger scale projects, and promote each other’s work.

Read this attached book: A Story of the Washington County Unorganized Territories, prepared by John Dudley for Washington County Council of Governments March 2017.

Members will receive a quarterly newsletter Weirs & Woods, which features free queries, information and the exchange of genealogical material, in addition to news from the affiliating Washington County historical societies.

Membership in the WCHGS is open to anyone interested in learning more about their family genealogy and/or the history of Washington County and neighboring Charlotte County, New Brunswick.

Officers include: President, Betsy Fitzgerald of Bucks Harbor; Vice President, Celeste Sherman of Machiasport; Secretary, Valdine Atwood of Machias, and Treasurer, Carole Sprague of Marshfield.

Dues for individual members are $10 per year, payable to WCHGS and sent to Carole Sprague, 301 Ridge Road, Marshfield, ME 04654.

Historical societies can affiliate themselves with WCHGS by donating to the Society. All members who wish to receive a copy of Weirs & Woods are encouraged to email Celeste Sherman ([email protected]) or visit this page for the most recent copy.

Regular meetings of WCHGS will be on a quarterly basis. ‘Extra meetings’ could be held during the year at the approval of the membership.

Betsy Fitzgerald (President): [email protected]

Celeste Sherman (Vice President): [email protected]

Valdine Atwood (Secretary): [email protected]

Carole Sprague (Treasurer): [email protected]

 

List of Washington County Historical Societies

Blueberry Festival

Blueberry Festival of Maine

With tens of thousands of visitors annually, the Blueberry Festival attracts artists, crafters, and visitors from all over the United States to Machias and the surrounding communities. The festival is held on the third weekend in August and has drawn national attention over the years. A schedule of events, vendor list, and vendor application are available at the Machias Blueberry Festival website.

When: 3rd Weekend in August
Contact: Center Street Congregational Church
Phone: 255-6665
email: [email protected]

 

Bay of Fundy International Marathon

Held during the weekend on the fourth Sunday in June every year, this event has attracted runners from more than 30 different countries and has been tagged by various premier running magazines as "a small town wonder", a "bucket list event for every Canadian runner", and similar. 

One of our unique features is that the event is organized jointly by the communities of Lubec and Campobello Island, Canada.  Runners race across the international bridge between the USA and Canada without stopping, running from West Quoddy Head - the most easterly point in the USA - to East Quoddy Head at the northern tip of Campobello Island, and back to finish on the waterfront in Lubec. 

More details are on our website at bayoffundymarathon.com

Bold Coast Byway

The Bold Coast Scenic Byway is Maine's newest scenic byway that passes through coastal fishing villages and picturesque views of Washington County's rocky coastline, blueberry barrens and expansive tidal flats. The route highlights the unique scenic, cultural and historic attributes of coastal Washington County.

 

Link to WVBB5 Chronicle video of Bold Coast.

 

For more information, please contact Heidi Nelson at 263-6787.

Down East Spring Birding Festival

Down East Spring Birding FestivalThe Down East Spring Birding Festival, held every Memorial Day Weekend, along Cobscook Bay, offers bird enthusiasts a unique opportunity to see a cross-section of area bird species during the spring migratory season. Birders can take guided tours, boat tours, or scout out the ideal birding habitat on their own.

When: Memorial Day Weekend
Contact: Cobscook Community Learning Center
Email: [email protected]  |   Tel: 733-2233

Eastport 4th of July Celebration

Eastport 4th of JulyThe Eastport Fourth of July Celebration runs in conjunction with "Old Home Week" and is organized by area volunteers. A 7 mile road race, blueberry pie eating contest, pet show, Fourth of July parade, and a cod fish relay race are some of the events that make this hometown Fourth of July celebration a treat for newcomers and longtime residents of the area. The evening is capped off with a spectacular fireworks display. 

When: July 4
Contact: Eastport Fourth of July Committee
Email: [email protected] 

Fort O'Brien

Now the site of a grade-school, the remnants of Fort O'Brien are still accessible today. The fort was destroyed in the American Revolution, and again in the War of 1812. The fort was restored and used during the Civil War.

Contact: Maine Bureau of Public Lands
Tel: 207-941-4014
Hours: call for hours, tours from Memorial Day thru Labor Day

Website

Grand Lake Stream Folk Art Festival

Sponsored by local Grand Lake Stream Merchants, this festival features artists, craft-makers, and musicians of all types from all across the North East and Atlantic Canada.

When: Last full weekend in July
Contact: Grand Lake Stream Folk Arts Committee
Tel: 796-8199

Website: http://www.grandlakestreamfolkartfestival.com/

Indian Days Celebration

Every August the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point holds Indian Days, a celebration of the Passamaqouddy way of life. Indian Days features traditional Native American dancing, canoe races, crafts, and a fireworks display.

When: early August
Contact: Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point
Tel: 853-2600

International Homecoming Festival

International Homecoming Festival began in 1974 and continues to bring home family and friends to celebrate the friendship between the two international communities of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada and Calais, Maine, USA. 

During the festival, these two communities become one, hosting and attending events held on both sides of the border. Many enjoy the street fair, children's games and activities, concerts, craft shows, and so much more, ending with the spectacular Duty Free Americas, Hardwicke's Fireworks Display! 

When: August
Contact: International Homecoming Festival Committee
Email: 
[email protected]
Tel: 207-214-0565 
Website: www.internationalhomecomingfestival.com

Machias Valley Farmers' Market

Machias Valley Farmers' MarketRoute 1 in Machias - on the dike across from Helen’s

Fridays & Saturdays & other days during peak of season 2015
9 AM - 1 PM
May through October

Brochure

Maine Salmon Festival

Always the first weekend after Labor Day, the Maine Salmon Festival highlights Eastport's rich history of salmon fishing. The festival features local artists and crafters, games, and special events including a motorcycle show. The festival is sponsored by the Eastport Area Chamber of Commerce and its corporate donors.

When: First Weekend after Labor Day
Contact: Eastport Area Chamber of Commerce
Email:  [email protected]  
Tel: 207-853-4644

Margaretta Days

In early June, the Machias area commemorates the Battle of the Margaretta, the first naval engagement of the Revolutionary War. Tours of Machias's historical sites, a parade, a colonial dinner, and historical re-enactments of the famous battle are just a few of the festivities. 

When: 2nd Saturday in June
Contact: Machias Historical Society
Email: [email protected]

Margaretta Days Festival

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge

The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is the easternmost point along the Atlantic Flyway -- the path many of Washington County's birds follow in spring and fall. The Refuge, maintained by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, covers nearly 24,500 acres of land and is broken into two divisions. One is located in Baring, while the other is located between Dennysville and Whiting.

Mooosehorn is more than just birds. Trails, fishing, hunting and wildlife observation/education are some of the many activities the public can enjoy at Moosehorn. 

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
103 Headquarters Road 1
Baring, Maine 04694

Tel: 454-7161

Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge

 

 

The Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge contains 45 Islands along the Down East Coast, including Petit Manan, Cross Island, Seal Island, Franklin Island and Pond Island and covers over 7,000 acres of prime waterfowl nesting area. The Refuge offers environmental education programs, a photography area, hunting and wildlife observation areas to the public.

Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge
PO Box 1375
Rockland, Maine 04841

Tel: 594-0600/546-2124

Roosevelt Campobello International Park

 

Located on Campobello Island across the bay from Lubec, the Roosevelt International Park is a cooperative effort between the Canadian and American Governments. The park hosts a visitor center and the summer cottage of President Franklin D Roosevelt, who enjoyed coming to the region during the 30s & 40s.


Contact: Roosevelt Campobello International Park
Email:  [email protected]
Tel: 506-752-2922

Roosevelt Campobello International Park
PO Box 129
Lubec, Maine 04652

Ruggles House

The Ruggles House, located in Columbia Falls, was built by wealthy landowner Thomas Ruggles nearly 180 years ago. The house, known for its flying staircase, has undergone a series of renovations. Tours of the property, fully restored in its original Federal style, are conducted by members of the Ruggles Society.

Contact: Ruggles House Society
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 483-4637 or 546-7903

Ruggles House Society
PO Box 116
146 Main Street
Columbia Falls, Maine 04623

Scenic & Interpretive Trails

The Ice Age Trail

The Ice Age had a profound effect on the Maine landscape.  This effect is most pronounced in the Downeast region, where a vast sheet of glacial ice sculpted Cadillac and surrounding mountains, carved out the Sommes Sound fjord, and left spectacular sand barrens.  The Ice Age Trail is comprised of the finest and most accessible of these features.

Downeast Fisheries Trail

From Penobscot Bay to Cobscook Bay, the Downeast Fisheries Trail connects historic and active fisheries sites that illustrate the region’s maritime heritage. Marine resources sustain the culture and economy of Downeast Maine. The Downeast Fisheries Trail builds on these local resources to strengthen community life and the experience of visitors.

For more information about the project, website, email [email protected] or call 207.288.2944 x5834.

For a printed map-brochure of the Trail, please call 207.581.1435.

Sculpture Symposium Tour

 

Enjoy public art and Maine’s scenic vistas while you and your family visit the magnificent sculptures on the Symposium Sculpture Tour. These large-scale sculptures were created by world-class artists at the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium and then permanently sighted in downeast Maine communities.

Contact: Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 207-546-6992

Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium
PO Box 122
Steuben, Maine 04680

St. Croix Island International Historical Site

Established in 1604 by French explorer Samuel de Champlain, the St. Croix Island International Historical Site is known as one of the earliest colonial settlements in the New World. Four hundred years after Champlain's visit, an interpretive center has been established by the American and Canadian governments.

Contact: St. Croix International Historical Site
Tel: 207-288-3338/454-3871  |  Website

St. Croix International Historical Site
C/O Acadia National Park
PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609

The Burnham Tavern

 Dating back to the American Revolution, the Burnham Tavern provided a meeting place for Machias area residents eager to break away from Great Britain. Now cared for by the Hannah Weston Chapter of the D.A.R, this national landmark is open for tours from June thru September.

Contact: Burnham Tavern Museum
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 207-255-6930  |  Website

Burnham Tavern Museum
2 Free Street
Machias, Maine 04654

The Washington County Courthouse Heritage Center Museum and Genealogy Research Room

Open 9:30 am – 3:00 pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday beginning Thursday, June 1, 2017. Phone call inquiries will be answered during open hours – 207-225-3127. Email inquiries to [email protected]


Following the opening of the Washington County Courthouse in May, 2016, two rooms located in the original section of the building were given over to the Courthouse Archives Committee. A large collection of Washington County genealogy research materials has been assembled. Among the materials are vital records, cemetery records, histories, and other materials devoted to Washington County towns, plantations and the Unorganized Territories. There is a large collection of hard-cover books on Maine towns and other states, particularly other New England states. In addition, there is a growing collection of books and manuscripts on Maine families. Rounding out the collections is an almost-complete set of Washington County historical societies’ newsletters, issues of Downeast Ancestry (complete with an index for easy reference), Second Boat, and the Essex County (Massachusetts) Genealogist.

The Museum grows with each passing day. Displayed are historical photos of some of the area towns, a four-glass-plate-negative compendium of Machias in 1921 taken from the less-populated side of the river, artifacts from a home in Addison (found in the wall), a Revolutionary War cannon ball found in Jonesport, and other items of historical interest. Centered in the room is a scale model of the Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, ME.