Appalachee Cottage Community

Compiled by members of the Appalachee Association

The Story of Appalachee Shores, a 100 year old cottage community

It was a more than a century ago that Boothbay Harbor became known as a summer resort. By that time railroad travel from Boston and steamers from Bath had made the area more accessible and many visitors, enchanted with the Region, began establishing summer retreats. By 1906, Bayville was an important colony with thirty-six cottages, a boardinghouse and a summer post-office. It was during the 1920′s that other shore developments in the area were started. Sprucewold had ten cabins available in 1922 and more were built each year thereafter. On Wall Point, Mr. and Mrs. G.R. Branch had built a summer home in 1913; six years later, they established the Linekin Bay Camp for girls.

In 1900 Professor and Mrs. Edwin O. Grover first came to Boothbay Harbor. “Later,” to quote Professor Grover, “we found …. the lovely little lake which we named Appalachee. It had been created as an ice pond before the days of refrigeration, and many relics of that period are still there.

“We bought the lake and the surrounding land and built the first small cottage of a Swiss chalet style ….. just before we sold the tract, we planted a number of colored pond lilies at one end of the lake. They have now become a popular attraction in the area.” While Professor Grover owned the lake and the land, including two thousand feet along Linekin Bay, he established a boys’ camp, adding two shingled cottages, – the present Whisler – Griffin one and Port & Starboard. This latter was the main camp building containing the kitchen, dining room and office; it also served as a recreation refuge in inclement weather. The boys lived in tents and the Grovers occupied their ‘chalet’, now the Miller – Morrison cottage. About 1916, Appalachee Shores became a family camp with the tents replaced by Kenyon canvas bungalows. (Prices were $12.50 to $15.00 per person, per week – everything included!!) That situation apparently continued until Oliver P. Swope of Orlando, Florida, bought the entire property in 1927. It was he who built many log cabins which were rented to families, usually for the season. Many of the tenants returned summer after summer creating an atmosphere not unlike the present one. These returning renters generally took the same cabin for successive seasons.

Most of the cabins, although greatly improved inside and out, appear to have changed relatively little since they were built. However, two are markedly different. The Camp Cottage, all one building, has been converted into two units, known as Port and Starboard*, but is still under one roof. The other is the Decker home which, until the early 1930′s was the tool shed. Mr. Swope replaced it with a one bedroom, living room, and kitchen and bath cottage. The first individual owners (the Vennerbecks) enlarged it and with their young family lived in it year round. When World War II curtailed motor travel, Mr. Swope sold the entire Appalachee Shores property in 1945 to Reginald Harris, who had a law practice in the Harbor. After two summers of unsuccessful efforts to follow the pattern set by the Swopes, he started to sell the lots and cabins to individual buyers. By 1948, the new owners had formed the Appalachee Village Association at a meeting at one of the Swope cabins which now belongs to Joanne Lunt. There were thirteen property owners present, five of whom remain today: Giles, Hackett, Hare, Kelley and Mewing. At this first meeting the original by-laws were drawn up and dues were set at $25 (but lowered to $20 for more than the next decade.) Association deeds to the lake and sundry parcels were recorded in 1949. The basic purposes of the Association are the same today as they were then. The initial improvements of the wall, the shrubs and the flagpole at the community end of the lake were donated by Mrs. Spanel who formerly lived in Eagles’ Nest (another Swope cabin) which is perched high on a cliff overlooking the lake and is now owned by the Calzolaris. Artie Mewing topped off the pole with the Stars and Stripes. Many of the owners contributed funds for the establishment of the sand beach and the clearance of some of the water lilies which had become so prolific as to threaten the lake.

Appalachee Trivia!

Appalachee is probably old Abnaki, meaning bare place, devoid of trees. The Abnakis were a confederacy of Algonquian tribes of North American Indians formerly located in Maine and southern New Brunswick.

Appalachee Lake was formerly called Mountain Lake. Dexter W. Hodgdon built a dam at the south end of the lake in order to enlarge it for more satisfactory harvesting of natural ice. It then became known as Mountain Meadow ice pond. On one occasion in 1879 ice was sold for $2.00 a ton F.O.B. the pond.

Ice Business. For fifty or more years, the cutting and shipping of ice from rivers, lakes and ponds was a thriving and lucrative business in Maine. A small cut was available from the lake and evidence of a sluiceway is still visible on the Lowe’s property. In the winter, blocks of ice were stored, generally in icehouses. But as Harold B. Clifford says “vessels could tie up at Region wharves during the winter months to take on ice directly from the ponds for the market in southern ports.”

Indian Cliff is the name given to the huge rock south of the Ludwig cottage.

Appalachee Shores Trails

King Philip’s Trail runs from Bayville through Appalachee to the Harbor. Also one by the same name in Sprucewold. King Philip was a Massachusetts Indian Chief who declared war against the English settlers in 1675. The fighting went on as far north as Pemaquid. After his death in 1676, the tribe was driven into the Maine area and joined the Abnakis.

The Audubon Trail runs from the dirt road through the woods north and west of the lake to Lobster Cove. The tract was a gift to the Audubon Society from Mrs. Spanel, a former Appalachee resident.