In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Lubec, Maine

A Border Town Shaped by the Sea


Timeline - Selected Events in Lubec’s History
Text by Jennifer Multhopp


• Passamaquoddy encampments in North Lubec – shell middens found on South Bay and Mill Creek. Portaged canoes over Carrying Place bog to reach ocean travel routes. Harvested smelts and sweet grass.

Ox Cart at N.W. Marston's Store, South Lubec, ca. 1880
Ox Cart at N.W. Marston's Store, South Lubec, ca. 1880

Item Contributed by
Lubec Memorial Library


1754 – 1763
• Maine Indians forced north into eastern Maine during French and Indian War
• British deport Acadians to Maine and other New England communities
• Machias residents capture British ship Margaretta in the first naval battle of War of Independence
• John Allan appointed Superintendent of Eastern Indians by George Washington
• War of Independence ends with signing of Treaty of Paris
• Louis Delesdernier appointed first collector for customs District of Passamaquoddy, office at Flagg’s Point (Lubec)
• John Allan settles on Treat’s Island (Allan’s Island)
• John Cooper, acting as agent for North Lubec (Seward’s Neck) settlers, petitioned Massachusetts General Court declaring allegiance to Massachusetts and requesting that settlers be confirmed in their land holdings
• President Washington organized Revenue Cutter Service commissioning Hopley Yeaton as its first officer – America’s first commissioned naval officer
• Cooper’s petition accepted by Massachusetts.
• Committee appointed by General Court to lay out township into lots of 100 acres each – Solomon Cushing initiated the survey
• Hopley Yeaton given command of the new Revenue Service frigate, Scammel. Purchases land in North Lubec
• Cushing survey of North Lubec completed – lots assigned to settlers on payment of $5
• Daniel Ramsdell cures first herring by smoke in Lubec, a process learned in Nova Scotia
• Eastport (Moose Island) incorporated – includes Lubec and North Lubec – 583 inhabitants

Sailing Sardine Carriers Docking, Lubec, ca. 1900
Sailing Sardine Carriers Docking, Lubec, ca. 1900

Item Contributed by
Lubec Memorial Library

1800 – 1850

1804 – 1830
• Twenty vessels launched from Lubec shipyards
• First schooner, Hope, built at Seward’s Neck by Capt. George W. Allan
• Col. John Allan dies – buried on Treat’s Island
• Hopley Yeaton petitioned President Jefferson to establish a light at West Quoddy Head
• President Jefferson initiates trade embargo. Illicit trade increases in Passamaquoddy region
• First lighthouse at West Quoddy Head. Thomas Dexter was the first keeper
• Committee chosen by people of Seward’s Neck to petition the legislature in Boston to be set off from Moose Island and to be a town by itself
• Jonathan Weston, Jabez Mowry, Sherman Leland, Samuel Beals, Joseph Clark Jr. and Benjamin Reynolds appointed to draft the bill of incorporation
• “Lubeck”, as it was spelled in the Act of Incorporation dated June 21, 1811, was the 188th town in Maine and included Dudley, Frederic, Mark and Roger’s Island
• Incorporation approved by governor of Mass.
• Warrant for first town meeting issued July 7, 1811

• War of 1812 leads to extensive smuggling operations between British and American territories along Passamaquoddy Bay
• Eastport captured and occupied by the British
• Jabez Mowry and other Eastport merchants relocate to Lubec
• Post office established in Lubec. Road connecting Lubec and East Machias under construction
• First village schoolhouse built and included meeting hall on second floor. A school in North Lubec was already in existence
• Boundary dispute settled, Eastport evacuated by the British
• Boundary between Canada and U.S.; Campobello and Lubec established
• Maine separates from Mass. And enters the union as 23rd state on March 15.
• Road to East Machias completed
• Stage coaches for passengers run by William Chaloner who also kept a hotel in Lubec
• First Christian Church built in Lubec
• Brush weirs for the capture of herring came into wide use in Passamaquoddy
• Census results – 1,430 population
• Twenty smokehouses operating in Lubec – produced 50 to 60 thousand boxes of fish annually. Became national leader in smoked herring production into 1880s
• Solomon Cushing conducts survey of town of Lubec
• Freemasons opened lodge
• Lubec began sending vessels to Magdelen Islands to meet smokehouse demand for herring
• Plaster mills erected at North Lubec Canal. Jeremiah Fowler employed 125 men. Operated by tidal power; later by steam
• Census – population 3,000
• Three post offices – Lubec, W. Lubec, N. Lubec
• Increased commercial activity – smoked herring, fishing, farming

Myers Lifeboat, Lubec, ca. 1905
Myers Lifeboat, Lubec, ca. 1905

Item Contributed by
Lubec Memorial Library

1850 – 1900

• Lead mines established on South Bay in North Lubec and in West Lubec
• 200 Lubec men, 18 to 40, entered the Union Army, one for every 12 inhabitants
• On December 14 Albion K.P. Avery became the first Lubec soldier killed in action (Battle of Fredericksburg)
1864 – 1874
• Period of great commercial prosperity
• Peak of smoked herring industry
• Thirty smokehouses from N. Lubec to Bailey’s Mistake
• The Saxby Gale, November 4, caused much destruction – 90 to 100 mph winds
1873 – 1874
• Due to increasing ship traffic Quoddy Head Lifesaving Station constructed at Carrying Place Cove – 1.5 miles west of West Quoddy Head
• Last sailing ship built in Lubec – Charles Sears
• Number of active weirs down to 31
• 74 smokehouses remain in Lubec – many idle or little used

Lubec View from Campobello Island, Lubec, ca. 1920
Lubec View from Campobello Island, Lubec, ca. 1920

Item Contributed by
Lubec Memorial Library

• Moses P. Lawrence, Henry Dodge and Julius Wolff established a sardine factory in North Lubec, built on the site of former plaster mill at “Devil’s Half Acre”, called The Lubec Packing Company
1881 – 1898
• 23 sardine factories established in Lubec
• E.W. Brown & Co. constructed first sardine factory on Water Street
• The Passamaquoddy Ferry Co. founded for the purpose of running a steam ferry between Eastport and Lubec
The Lubec Herald begins publication
• Torrent Fire Co. founded by F.M. Tucker, the first chief
• Virtual explosion of sardine canning on Passamaquoddy Bay – new technology and expanding markets
• SS Cumberland made its first voyage from Boston to Lubec, inaugurating steam ship service to the town. Arrived to great fanfare.

1897 - 1898
• Telegraph service established
• Resort hotel Ne-Mat-Ta-No built in North Lubec by Portland YMCA
• “Klondike” – Electrolytic Marine Salts Co. established in Lubec
• First Lubec High School class graduates (1897)


• Census results – 3,005
• Lubec Water & Electric District established – water mains laid throughout village and outlying areas
• Lubec’s Civil War Monument dedicated
• American Can Co. builds plant in Lubec for manufacture of two-piece drawn cans
• Census results – 3,363
• Lubec Centennial Celebration held on July 4 -- Visit the Centennial Exhibit
• Eagle Theater opens – movies, vaudeville, summer stock, Houdini!
• Passamaquoddy Tidal Project proposed – two dams built in Eastport, one partially constructed in Lubec. Project abandoned in 1936
• From peak production sardine industry begins steady decline
• Gymnasium built adjacent to Lubec Grammar School
The Lubec Herald ceases publication

4th of July Parade, Lubec, ca. 1898
4th of July Parade, Lubec, ca. 1898

Item Contributed by
Lubec Memorial Library

• The Lobster Trap Gift Shop opens – first gift shop catering to tourists
• Roosevelt International Bridge opens linking Lubec and Campobello Island
• West Quoddy Head State Park established
• Lubec High School Marching Band represents Maine in the Cherry Blossom Parade, Washington, D.C.
• Regional Medical Center founded
• American Can closes in Lubec
• Movie theater burns
• Lubec Crafts Council incorporated

• McCurdy Smokehouse is the only remaining business of its kind in U.S.
• Sardine plants in Maine dwindled from 48 to 15
• Completion of school additions to create a single complex – Lubec Consolidated School
• Construction of Lubec Municipal Building on site of the old Hilltop School
• Growth of salmon aquaculture, sea urchin, scallop, lobster fisheries
• New England Aquarium establishes Bay of Fundy Right Whale Research Field Station in Lubec

Water Street, Lubec, ca. 1935
Water Street, Lubec, ca. 1935

Item Contributed by
Lubec Memorial Library

• R.J. Peacock Canning Co. suspends sardine production
• West Quoddy Life Saving Station added to National Register of Historic Buildings
• McCurdy’s Smokehouse closes
• Lubec Marina constructed, after a series of damaging storms it was dismantled
• 50 lobster/crab, 89 commercial shellfish, 54 scallop, 38 commercial fishing, 42 urchin licenses issued in Lubec
• Successful completion of Community Playground project
• New Lubec Memorial Library building completed
• Connors Brothers plant (former Booth Fisheries Factory B) closes – last sardine plant in Lubec