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Steamboats on Moosehead

Way Back When | Photographs From Maine’s Past

Photo courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum, Eastern Illustrating Collection

This photo of steamboats waiting for passengers at the Kineo Hotel on Moosehead Lake is from the Penobscot Marine Museum’s Eastern Illustrating collection. Back in the early 1900s steamboats—at one point there were as many as 25 on the lake—would transport passengers around the lake, as well as to and from the hotel and the railroad junction in Greenville. A common sight was a steamer towing a string of canoes down the lake for fishing parties, which would then slowly paddle back, according to Moosehead Historical Society Executive Director Suzanne Auclair. She thinks this photo was taken before 1933, which is when a long pier was built next to the hotel, which could accommodate a large number of boats. Look closely in this image and you will see that in each of these vessels a captain lounges at the helm or in a doorway. Get out your magnifying glass and you can see a large tent along the shore in the background. That belonged to members of the Abanaki who worked in the region as guides and also sold souvenirs, including baskets, to locals and tourists, Auclair said.  

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