Bar Harbor Walking Tour With Dick Cough

Join President of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association, Dick Cough, on a walking tour through Bar Harbor.

[Applause] [Applause] of course the Acadia National Park is the very famous national park but Bar Harbor has really really beautiful parts right in town in fact I remember being a teenager and being in the village green where we are now and a tourist asking me is this Acadia and of course it's teenagers we said why yes it is but it's just one of several parts that you will love exploring when you come here or if you live here you will we're really really fortunate today to have dick Hoff who is the president of the village Improvement Association and the vice-president of our Harbor Historical Society who probably knows the history of Bar Harbor and everything about Bois harbour as good as anybody in town he's gonna take us on a little tour hi everybody my name is dick cough I was born in Bar Harbor and raised here and I did tours through Acadia National Park for 40 years and we're going to do a walking tour of Bar Harbor and some of the highlights around town today I'm sure you've asked yourself in the past what makes Bar Harbor so popular well one of the reasons is this place we're standing on right here this is the village green and the village green was originally the Grand Central Hotel and it had over 350 rooms and the town bought the property when it became in disrepair and tore it down and then the village Improvement Association came in and leased it from the town and they started building different things on it the bandstand they had the fountain donated that's an Italian bronze fountain it's from the 1700s it's quite old Roberts bench over there the town clock which we'll see when we leave the town aesthetics are very important to a community that's one of the reasons why Bar Harbor is so popular and people continue to come back and the village Improvement Association which was founded in 1881 was very important in that because their duties were not only to take care of the village green the shore path AGGA Mont Park they built trails roads they cleaned the town they removed the trash they had the first roads committee they had a sanitation health water committees they had all these committees so they were very poor recive for their time and had a lot of amenities in this community that you wouldn't see in other towns that were small as Bar Harbor so those are all reasons why we have the infrastructure that we do here we're at the village green still and I'm standing next to the town clock this was something that the BIA raised half the money for that was done in 1896 and it wasn't always at this location it actually used to be across the street down by bees and this was eventually moved here I did want to mention earlier that this is the VI A's 135th anniversary and we'll be holding our one hundred and twenty-fifth Annual Meeting it's also the centennial Acadia National Park and it is also the 70th birthday of the Bar Harbor Historical Society at the village green which we just left we talked mostly about aesthetics we're now standing on Main Street and I wanted to talk about anchors now I don't mean anchors in the ocean I'm talking about community anchors like the two banks around us churches museums or the post office professional offices like for lawyers doctors real estate companies those are what make a village and they're very important now you'll notice on the streetscape here you've got a blank space between these two buildings in the old days there were no blank spaces there were just buildings and until 1913 no cars were allowed on or in Bar Harbor and after that time they decided to let cars here but a lot of the summer people liked it the way it was just for some carriage buggy and things like that but they eventually gave in and felt that they were holding up progress and so cars were allowed on the island but once that happened and things started getting busy you had to have parking so sometimes buildings were torn down like here and those who turned into parking spaces back in the early days there was no control over what built got built in the town there was no code enforcement officers design review boards of things like that but eventually towns began regulating what was built and how it looked this used to be the location of the agamotto hotel there was the first boarding house or hotel built in Bar Harbor was about 1844 and one of the first artists to check in here that really made Bar Harbor famous was Frederick Church and Thomas Cole they were two of them actually from the Hudson School of Art and they did a lot of painting here they would take their work back to New York they would be displayed other people would see the pictures and the beauty of the area and that's when the rusty caters although summer people started coming up here and again they would first stay in with local people at the boarding houses then at the hotels that were built and eventually a lot of them began building their own homes up here now the hotel was torn down and again the park or the town had the foresight to buy this land and established this park here and this is called Agra Mont park the word Agra Mont is French and if I remember correctly it means something like pebbles on the water behind us is a fountain not unlike the one in the village green that was built by a man named Eric solder Holtz he was a very famous sculptor and he started out doing photographs of went to Europe and he ended out working in concrete and he made huge planters for the wealthy summer people and he made that fountain out of a pink granite aggregate his studio was over in the East gules borough across the bay this is the starting point of the shore path just over my shoulder this walk used to extend for quite a few miles along the ocean today it's just barely over half a mile but it's a lovely walk along the shore in front of some of the vigorous States on the waterfront and we're still down next to the town pier and the Town Beach is down below us also one of the first duties that the village Improvement Association took on in a one after they formed was the maintenance and the building of the shore path over the last 135 years we probably spent over half a million dollars repairing the short path the short path is actually private property this is owned by the landowners who have property along the shore path and it's a privilege for us to be able to use the shore path so it's important that we always respect their rights as landowners because in reality they could shut down the shore path any time they wanted to it's just one more amenity that we have in Bar Harbor that other communities don't have and it draws people here people probably thousands some people walk to show up at every day we're still on the shore path and certainly the shore path would be considered an amenity for the town of Bar Harbor a different type of amenity would be services or accommodations and things like that or other sightseeing activities again those all draw people to Bar Harbor I wanted to mention a little story to you about the shore path there are a lot of postcards that have been around for as long as the path so you're talking over 100 years ago and at one point somebody took a photograph and they went back home of course while they're here they asked someone what this path was and in their Downeast accent they said oh that's the shop and so they labeled the postcard sha w path instead of shore path so sometimes the accent does confuse people behind me down on the water we're looking at balance rock that's what you'd call a glacial erratic a glacial erratic is just a stone of any size that was carried in by the glacier it's probably over a mile thick and and covered this entire area ten thousand years ago so that particular glacial erratic actually came from Lucerne Maine now they can actually study these rocks and study the type of walk that they have in Lucerne and know that this is indigenous to that area so that's kind of neat you'll also find some old postcards of of this walk with people with and things climbing and in their dresses so you're again talking in the 1880s this section of the path and grant park will be redone in the next year we've raised money through the Parks and Recreation Committee in the town of Bar Harbor to redo Grant Park so you can follow this path down as far as Waymon Lane and where the hospital is and then that would bring you back up into the village of Bar Harbor you