Old Farm Rd
so many steps. They lead pretty much down to the ocean front.
The Old farm was a Victorian Queen Ann style building built by Alexander F. Oakley for Charles Dorr, George's father in 1876-1877. It was part of George Dorr's inheritance.
low tide now but this is where Mr. Dorr's salt water pool was. He swam most days of his life, sometimes even having to chip away the ice to do so. George was blind in his later years but never let it get in his way. He would walk down to the water everyday with help from his caretaker. August 5th 1944 while down at the water he fell. He died at the place he loved the most. He was 89 years old.
I read that a few years before his death George wanted his estate to continue to be used so tried to think of possibilities of use to keep it functioning and insure it's historical value. He offered it as a summer retreat to president Franklin D. Roosevelt, but the president bowed out and rejected the offer. His hopes then was that the place be used as an educational site or a tourist attraction. Spared by the fire of 1947 it was forgotten for years. Seven years later in 1951 his estate was in disrepair a cost of approx. $30, 000 or more to fix it. The roof needed replacement as well as other structural repairs needed. In the mist of the end of the war and the most severe great depression monies were needed elsewhere. I read that the National Park had considered locating the park headquarters, as well as housing for park employees on this property. But it was deemed too costly to fix it up. Back in the 1950's I'm thinking if it was historical and broke you tore it down. Now a days if it's historical and broke you fix it at all costs. In 1951 John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated $5000 to tear it down. That makes me sad to think someone that worked so hard to make Acadia what it is today, that the Dorr's place could not have been preserved. George Dorr spent all his monies on acquiring land for the park so none was allotted to keep this place in good repair. He barely had enough money for his funeral if it wasn't for friends who saw ahead to save out a little bit, he would have had none. His whole life was devoted to the park. I think had he known what would happen to this place he would have monies set aside to have upkeep. I also read that the question is now what to do with what is left on the site. It is not advertised as a visitors attraction even though it is part of the National park and in reading, not a place where they want lots of tourists going because of the surrounding private properties in the area and fear of those who do vandalizing. It almost deterred me from checking it out in the beginning with the private road sign...then there wasn't a place to park in the small parking area. But where there is a will there is a way.
At just about the same time-frame in the 1950's, as the demolition of the Old Farm, the Schooner Head Trail was closed because of lack of use and maintenance. Then in 2009 the trails were beginning to be restored. Thanks to grant monies, Friends of Acadia, the Acadia Trail crew, raising private donations and the Olmsted Land Preservation...trails are being restored.
There may be hope for this spot as well because Acadia has contracted with the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, a unit of the National Park Service, to conduct the cultural landscape assessment of Old Farm. Hopefully it will be to save this site and only make minor improvements if any at all. I would like to see this place preserved so that we can set foot to this trail in the future and bring our grandkids here to visit so that they too will learn a part of the history of how our park came into being.