|Bar Harbor, Maine|
|— Town —|
Bar Harbor dock
|Incorporated||February 23, 1796|
|- Chair||Sandy McFarland|
|- Vice-Chair||Ruth Eveland|
|- Total||70.4 sq mi (182.4 km2)|
|- Land||42.2 sq mi (109.3 km2)|
|- Water||28.2 sq mi (73.1 km2)|
|- Density||114.2/sq mi (44.1/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|- Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID|
|Website||Town of Bar Harbor|
Bar Harbor is a town on Mount Desert Island in Hancock County, Maine, United States. As of the 2000 census, its population is 4,820. A port of entry for Bay Ferries from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, Bar Harbor is a famous summer colony in the Down East region of Maine. It is home to the College of the Atlantic, Jackson Laboratory and Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. Bar Harbor is home to the largest parts of Acadia National Park, including Cadillac Mountain the highest point within 25 miles (40 km) of the coastline of the Eastern United States, and, offshore, the Porcupine Islands.
The town of Bar Harbor was founded on the northeast shore of Mount Desert Island, which the Wabanaki Indians knew as Pemetic, meaning "range of mountains" or "mountains seen at a distance." The Wabanaki seasonally fished, hunted and gathered berries, clams, and other shellfish in the area. They spoke of Bar Harbor as Man-es-ayd'ik ("clam-gathering place") or Ah-bays'auk ("clambake place"), leaving great piles of shells as evidence of this abundance. In early September 1604, French explorer Samuel de Champlain ran aground on a rock ledge believed to be just off Otter Cliffs, and when he came ashore to repair his boat he met local natives. Champlain named the island Isles des Monts Deserts, meaning "island of barren mountains" — now called Mount Desert Island, the largest in Maine.
First settled in 1763 by Israel Higgins and John Thomas, the community was incorporated on February 23, 1796 as Eden, after Sir Richard Eden, an English statesman. Early industries included fishing, lumbering and shipbuilding. With the best soil on Mount Desert Island, it also developed agriculture. In the 1840s, its rugged maritime scenery attracted the Hudson River School and Luminism artists Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, William Hart and Fitz Henry Lane. Inspired by their paintings, journalists, sportsmen and "rusticators" followed. Agamont House, the first hotel in Eden, was established in 1855 by Tobias Roberts. Birch Point, the first summer estate, was built in 1868 by Alpheus Hardy.
By 1880, there were 30 hotels, with tourists arriving by train and ferry to the Gilded Age resort that would rival Newport, Rhode Island. The rich and famous tried to outdo each other with entertaining and estates, often hiring landscape gardener and landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, a resident at local Reef Point Estate, to design their gardens. A glimpse of their lifestyles was available from the Shore Path, a walkway skirting waterfront lawns. Yachting, garden parties at the Pot & Kettle Club, and carriage rides up Cadillac Mountain were popular diversions. Others enjoyed horse-racing at Robin Hood Park-Morrell Park. President William Howard Taft played golf in 1910 at the Kebo Valley Golf Club. On March 3, 1918, Eden was changed to Bar Harbor, after the sand and gravel bar, visible at low tide, which leads across to Bar Island and forms the rear of the harbor. The name would become synonymous with elite wealth. It was the birthplace of vice-president Nelson Rockefeller on July 8, 1908.
In mid-October 1947, however, Maine experienced a severe drought. Sparks at a cranberry bog near Town Hill ignited a wildfire that would intensify over 10 days, and not be declared out until mid-November. Nearly half the eastern side of Mount Desert Island burned, including 67 palatial summer houses on Millionaires' Row. Five historic grand hotels were destroyed, in addition to 170 permanent homes. Over 10,000 acres (40 km²) of Acadia National Park were destroyed. Fortunately, the town's business district was spared, including Mount Desert Street, where several former summer homes within a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places operate as inns.
Now, Bar Harbor is a destination for tourists from all over the world. Cruise ships are in the harbor from May through October, most often in September (95 ship visits in 2008). Bar Harbor also hosts many long-distance cyclists, as it is the eastern terminus of the Adventure Cycling Association's Northern Tier Bicycle Route (which ends in Anacortes, Washington), and the northern terminus of its Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route (which ends in Key West, Florida).
Main Street in c. 1908
Chatwold in c. 1908
Hardy's Point in c. 1912
Malvern Hotel in c. 1912
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 70.4 square miles (182.4 km²), of which, 42.2 square miles (109.3 km²) of it is land and 28.2 square miles (73.1 km²) of it (40.06%) is water. Bar Harbor is situated on Frenchman Bay.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,820 people, 2,142 households, and 1,163 families residing in or near the town. The population density was 114.2 people per square mile (44.1/km²). There were 2,805 housing units at an average density of 66.5/sq mi (25.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.88% White, 0.15% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.89% Asian, 0.08% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.62% of the population.
There were 2,142 households out of which 24.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.5% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.7% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.78.
In and near the town, the population was spread out with 19.8% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 87.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.7 males.
The median income for a household in or near the town was $37,481, and the median income for a family was $51,989. Males had a median income of $31,085 versus $25,417 for females. The per capita income for the area was $24,103. About 4.9% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.7% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.