The Working Waterfront

When Islesboro was ‘invaded’ by the automobile

Camden Herald archives reveal island transformation

Posted 2022-03-28
Last Modified 2022-03-28

The following was published under the “Neighborhood Notes” heading in the Friday, Aug. 2, 1912 edition of the Camden Herald, and is reprinted by permission.

The peaceful calm of Dark Harbor has been stirred by the arrival of an automobile and dissension has broken out which will end nobody knows how.

Although not prohibited by law, up to a few days ago the island was free from automobiles. There was an unwritten agreement among the summer contingent that they should bring no cars. The summer colonists have fine turnouts and saddle horses and driving has been one of the features of the daily routine.

Great was the sensation when a large touring car was trundled ashore from the little steamboat which plies between North Islesboro of the “native” section of the island and Belfast. It was the first time in history that Islesboro had ever been invaded by the motor car.

Had the car belonged to a stranger perhaps it might have been rolled into Penobscot Bay, but as it belonged to Capt. Fields C. Pendleton no harm befell it.

Had the car belonged to a stranger perhaps it might have been rolled into Penobscot Bay…

Capt. Pendleton declared he had a right to run an automobile on Islesboro if he wanted to. He did not do it out of spite, but he had to get around some way. So the old shipmaster cranked up his car and took a spin around the upper end of the island.

His automobile frightened every horse he met, for few of the Islesboro horses had ever seen an automobile before.

The summer colonists are divided on the subject of the motor car. Some say they will not stay; some say that they came to Dark Harbor to escape automobiles, and if they are permitted there, all charm of the place will be gone.

Others say that they have long wished to bring their cars, but have not done so out of deference to the sentiment. They declare they would have much pleasure in motoring along the smooth roads of the island, and if Capt. Pendleton is allowed to run his car in the island, they may have their motor vehicles.

The natives who derive a very large portion of their revenue from the summer contingent, hardly know where they stand. There is no law against the automobile there, and a special act of the Legislature would be necessary to exclude motor vehicles from the island.

What the summer folk think about automobiles, however, does not concern Capt. Pendleton. Just what will be the outcome is uncertain.

The Camden Herald’s archives from 1870 to 1997 are now available to be searched at the Camden Public Library’s website. The archives from 1998 to 2020 will follow. See: