Maine Historic Preservation photo
Date listed: 9/28/2017
Criterion A: Commerce Local Significance
The Dark Harbor Shop on the island town of Islesboro, Waldo County, Maine meets National Register eligibility Criterion A, for its associations with commerce related to the development of the Dark Harbor summer colony on Islesboro. This summer colony is representative of the leisure time development that occurred along the coast of Maine in the last half of the nineteenth century, as middle and upper class urban residents sought to escape the summer heat and disease of crowded eastern cities for what they considered a simpler and more healthful way of life. Built circa 1904, the Dark Harbor Shop is representative of the local businesses that developed to support the vacation lifestyles of those who visited from “away.” Originally built as a hardware store and carpenter’s shop to support the initial cottage building of the summer visitors, the building has functioned as a seasonal soda fountain since 1920. The building use shifted commercial focus after the initial cottage building phase to meet the seasonal visitor’s changing needs. Over the nearly one hundred years it has fulfilled this function, it has served as a touchstone to the summer community, serving ice cream and sweets to generations of summer residents. It is the only commercial building in what is known as the Dark Harbor Village that retains its commercial use and has not undergone significant alterations. The building is locally significant with a period of significance from circa 1904 to 1967 the period of commercial use from the date of construction to fifty years from the present.