Rockland is a picturesque city located in Knox County, Maine. The area is rich in history, and over the years, many significant events have taken place near Rockland. In this article, we will explore seven historical happenings that have helped shape the region into what it is today.
1. Maine’s Lobster Industry
Rockland is known for its thriving lobster industry, but it wasn’t always that way. In the late 1800s, lobsters were considered a poor man’s meal and were mostly caught as bycatch. However, around 1880, a marketing campaign started, calling lobsters a delicacy. This increased demand, and the industry began to boom, turning Rockland into a hub for lobster fishing.
2. Owls Head Transportation Museum
The Owls Head Transportation Museum is a fascinating place to visit, filled with vintage planes, cars, and other modes of transportation. The museum started in 1974 when aviation enthusiast Tom Watson began restoring a 1914 Alco Black Beast race car. The museum now houses artifacts and equipment from the early days of aviation, as well as automobiles and motorcycles.
3. Birthplace of Republican Party
Many people don’t realize that the Republican Party had its start in Maine. In 1854, a convention was held in Rockport, where the Republican Party was born. The convention was attended by anti-slavery Whigs and members of the Free Soil Party. The party would go on to play a significant role in American politics.
4. The Great Fires of 1947
In 1947, two fires raged through Maine, driven by strong winds and drought conditions. The fires destroyed over 200,000 acres of land and more than 1,000 homes, causing $29.8 million in damages. Rockland was one of the many towns affected by the fires, and the event is still remembered today as one of the worst disasters in Maine’s history.
5. The Camden Expedition
During the Civil War, an expedition was launched to capture Confederate fortifications in Camden. The plan was to take the city by land and sea, but it ultimately failed due to poor communication and planning. However, the expedition did have some successes, such as the destruction of the Confederate ironclad CSS Arkansas.
6. Breakwater Lighthouse
The Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse has stood watch over the waters of Penobscot Bay since 1902. The lighthouse’s construction was no small feat and took over three years to complete. The breakwater the lighthouse sits on is nearly a mile long, and the light can be seen for over twelve nautical miles.
7. The Maine Lobster Festival
The Maine Lobster Festival is a yearly event held in Rockland that celebrates the region’s most famous seafood. The festival started in 1947 and has grown to become a national event, drawing thousands of visitors each year. The festival includes events such as the Great Lobster Crate Race and a parade, along with plenty of delicious lobster dishes.
In conclusion, Rockland, Maine, is a town rich in history, and these events are just a small sample of the many fascinating things that have taken place here. From its role in the birth of the Republican Party to the Great Fires of 1947, there is no shortage of stories to be told. If you’re ever in the area, take some time to explore the town’s history and learn more about what makes it such a unique and vibrant place to visit.
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