Eastport, Maine is the eastern most city in the United States. It’s an area rich in history and was governed by Great Britian from 1814-1818. Eastport is comprised of several islands: Moose Island (where the city of Eastport is located), Carlow, Matthews, Dog, Goose, Spectacle, and Treat Island.
Treat Island (rather, half of it) is currently for sale. $799,000 will get you your own island paradise….that you get to share with the US Army Corps of Engineers. Since 1936, the USACE has been operating an exposure station for concrete durability testing, but I digress.
Treat Island was settled after the Revolutionary War by one of George Washington’s staffers, Colonel John Allen. A settlement sprung up and there were some fifty houses, a school and Colonel Allen’s store. Benedict Arnold did business at Allen’s store. The remains of all these historical gems, plus the remains of a fort and earthworks battery, are still visible out there on Treat Island.
Here’s an idea that has taken shape in my mind: the US government already owns a share of Treat Island, why not ask them to purchase the rest of it?
A living history museum along the lines of Plymouth Plantation (located in MA) could be constructed. Rebuild the houses, the school, the store and the fort. Designate it a historical site. Hire locals as actors to reenact daily life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. How did these Mainers make their living? What were their lives like on Treat Island?
Build the community and bring on the tourists. There are scows (large, flat bottomed boats) that are used to carry visitors between Eastport, Campobello Island (Canada) and Deer Island (Canada). A ferry service has started to run passengers between Eastport and Lubec, so transporting tourists wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, be a problem.
With approximately thirty four acres, Treat Island could offer visitors a chance to experience life in the Downeast Maine of centuries past. There could be hiking trails to explore and since it’s an island, there are beaches to comb.
So what do you say, Uncle Sam? Invest in a piece of Maine history, invest in Eastport’s future. We’ll be waiting to hear from you.