1898 map of Gouldsboro

This summer, Gouldsboro Historical Society became the 13th member of The History Trust. The town of Gouldsboro lies east of Mt. Desert Island, across Frenchman Bay. Some people know us better as the Schoodic Peninsula. In 1895, the peninsula was split into two towns when the village of Winter Harbor separated. So, for anyone interested in the Schoodic Peninsula’s pre-1895 history, the place to start is Gouldsboro (often spelled Gouldsborough until the late 1880s) for town records, vital records, etc. Two names, two towns, one story.

Gouldsboro is anxious to start adding historical records to our digital collection and to collaborate with other community organizations to safeguard our region’s historical collections and make them accessible free of charge to the public. We’ve already started formatting entries for our photos, maps, journals, publications, images, etc.   

“Lost” Records “Found”

Many researchers believed that Gouldsboro’s official records were lost in a 1883 fire at the Old Town House. Yet, in the 1950s, many official town records—including Gouldsboro’s—were microfilmed and stored at the Maine State Library. So someone had a copy . . . Were there two copies and one survived the fire? Were the records simply kept at the Town Clerk’s home, which escaped the inferno? Whatever the answer, the microfilmed records were reproduced in published form in the 1990’s, and made available to towns, libraries, and other organizations interested in historical records. They were expensive, often illegible, and are now out of print.

Color 2021 digital scan of 1830’s birth records (left); previously published microfilm image, same page (right).

Since then, we’ve discovered that the “lost” records are safely stored in the Town Office (now in a fire-proof vault), and have been scanned by Historical Society volunteers for upload to the History Trust digital archive, which is a treasure trove for all who are interested in this region’s history.

Jennifer is a local historian and gravestone conservator. She is a member of the Gouldsboro Historical Society Board of Directors, manages its website, social media accounts, and online archives, and chairs its Cemetery Committee. She (mostly) lives in Corea, Maine.